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Why the Leafs are NOT Worse Off Defensively

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Old
07-08-2013, 12:18 PM
  #51
mr grieves
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Originally Posted by Lightsol View Post
I recall seeing this a number of times last year. Around 90% of the time, the player was wearing #84. We shouldn't be seeing this so much this year.
Happened just as often with Kessel.

It wasn't a personnel problem but a line-up problem: guys who can enter the zone with speed weren't often put together. So, one man rushes that end with low percentage shot or dump down behind the net (and line change while opposition regroups) abounded.

Hopefully with better passes on the backend the Leafs will be able to coordinate zone entries better.

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07-08-2013, 12:22 PM
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Not worried about the defense, more worried about the offense.

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07-08-2013, 12:23 PM
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sign Ryan Whitney

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07-08-2013, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Chosen_One View Post
Some notes:

Clarkson is atrocious defensively. MacArthur is not. We hired him to park himself in front of the net and be mean.

Bolland is not more productive than Grabovski, but he's a lot cheaper. In Chicago, he received extensive support from Havlet, Ladd, Sharp, Kane in a shut down role. He is going to be receiving a lot of support from JVR and Colborne who were more relied upon in game 7.

Gunnarsson is not a top pairing guy. He is barely top 4. To be a shut down type, a more physical component is required. Maybe Granberg can be the one, but it's not Gunnars.

Gardiner is essentially a power play specialist, who needs to be insulated by Franson. I would consider Cody, top 4 in both fronts. He needs to improve on his mobility unless he's going to start commanding the puck like Pronger. Big guys that can move puck are special.
Agreed with everything here except the Gardiner arguement. Gardiner is a top-4 and it's time people start seeing it. Was easily our best defender in the playoffs along with Franson.

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07-08-2013, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by huge* View Post
We're worse off
How can we be worse off when nothing has changed (except the Komisarek buyout, and he was in the minors anyway).

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07-08-2013, 01:42 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Kulemon View Post
Your analysis gave me a headache. Clarkson is atrocious defensively? Lol ya ok there. MacArthur was useless everytime he stepped foot on the ice. Would go on 17 game goalless droughts all the time too. Gunnarsson is easily a top 4 guy. Also calling Gardiner a power play specialist is a joke. Our best D by far in the playoffs, point per game, was playing big minutes, was good defensively. Honestly? Power play specialist? oh my god.
You obviously need to head to the Devils board. Yes, Clarkson is outright atrocious defensively. Seriously, I am certain that you've never seen that guy play.

PS: We always overrate our shiny new toys. Once they under perform, we hang them. Clarkson is playing on our "offensive" lines.


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07-08-2013, 01:49 PM
  #57
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Agreed with everything here except the Gardiner arguement. Gardiner is a top-4 and it's time people start seeing it. Was easily our best defender in the playoffs along with Franson.
Gardiner looked mid-pairing, because he was obviously being sheltered. He wasn't even expected to shut down the Bergeron line and really struggled when we were in our own zone. It got pretty obvious then that his defence was not top 4. Offensively-speaking, he is top 4, but Franson was clearly the one keeping him steady. Regardless, I would consider Cody's defensive game entry-level top 4 so let's hope to see some improvements in the upcoming season.

Phaneuf spent the majority of his time against the Krejci line and had to play a power game vs Lucic. He was utilized in a shut down role and had the best performance amongst defenceman. This doesn't require advanced stats, just re-watching the playoffs can tell you that.

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07-08-2013, 01:57 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by The_Chosen_One View Post
You obviously need to head to the Devils board. Yes, Clarkson is outright atrocious defensively. Seriously, I am certain that you've never seen that guy play.

PS: We always overrate our shiny new toys. Once they under perform, we hang them. Clarkson is playing on our "offensive" lines.
Carlyle will change that

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07-08-2013, 03:21 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by huge* View Post
We're worse off
Proof of concept would be appreciated!

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07-08-2013, 03:31 PM
  #60
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Agree with what you are saying. Nonis has to make a decision on whether the prospect pool can fix the holes in defense soon, or do we need to bring in a top 4 stop gap for a couple years.

In a few years, Rielly, Percy, Granberg, Blacker, Finn will be ready.

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07-08-2013, 03:47 PM
  #61
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Defense overview:

1.) Phaneuf- Physical, two way d man who can log minutes and is skilled offensivley and can chip in with a lot of points. Good overall defenseman.

2.) Cody Franson- Great outlet passer, huge guy, dangerous on the blue line because of big shot, uses his long reach well and is starting to use his body well..Asserted himself as a good two way d man last season.

3.) Jake Gardiner- Smooth skating puck rusher who can join the rush and create a lot of offense with his creativity and skill... Has the size to be an NHL defender and is a terrific outlet passer.

4.) Morgan Rielly- although some will say, oh hes not ready. Hes a terrific skill, great skater, can generate a lot of offense, yet he is a very smart player who can be solid defensivley and is a great passer who will make the easy play.

5.) Carl Gunnarsson- Amazingly smart positional player, uses his body and stick to defend players very well.. Great defensive defenseman who is not overly physical but gets the job done. Good shot blocker and poised outelt passer.

6.) Mark Fraser- Toughness on the backend, smart outlet passer, a little slow but great positonally, great 6th d man, good prescence.

Then you throw in Holzer/Percy/Brennan/Finn/Blacker and we have a solid defensive core...

A shutdown line of Mcclement-Bolland-Kulemin would be terrific for defensive play, and our goaltending will only improve along with Carlyles systematic defensive improvements.

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07-08-2013, 04:18 PM
  #62
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I'm confused as to how we could be worse off when the only thing that's really changed is no more Komisarek, who wasn't playing anyway. Am I missing something?

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07-08-2013, 04:29 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by The_Chosen_One View Post
You obviously need to head to the Devils board. Yes, Clarkson is outright atrocious defensively. Seriously, I am certain that you've never seen that guy play.

PS: We always overrate our shiny new toys. Once they under perform, we hang them. Clarkson is playing on our "offensive" lines.
Clarkson was not brought in to be a defensive forward - he was brought in because our offensive forwards - in general - lack the physicality to win the board battles in the offensive end, to regain the puck on the forecheck, and sustain pressure in the offensive zone. That's where Clarkson will provide benefit next year.

The point is - one of our biggest issues last year was zone time. We didn't spend enough at the "right" end of the rink - spending too much in our own. Our D is good, but not great, so extended time in our zone equals being outshot and a higher GAA.

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07-08-2013, 06:37 PM
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Chosen_One View Post
Some notes:

Clarkson is atrocious defensively. MacArthur is not. We hired him to park himself in front of the net and be mean.

Bolland is not more productive than Grabovski, but he's a lot cheaper. In Chicago, he received extensive support from Havlet, Ladd, Sharp, Kane in a shut down role. He is going to be receiving a lot of support from JVR and Colborne who were more relied upon in game 7.

Gunnarsson is not a top pairing guy. He is barely top 4. To be a shut down type, a more physical component is required. Maybe Granberg can be the one, but it's not Gunnars.

Gardiner is essentially a power play specialist, who needs to be insulated by Franson. I would consider Cody, top 4 in both fronts. He needs to improve on his mobility unless he's going to start commanding the puck like Pronger. Big guys that can move puck are special.
Oh my god This is just outright pessimism that has literally no merit

"Clarkson is atrocious defensively and Mac is not"

You're serious? Macarthur was not only bad at defense, but he was soft as butter who went on massive un-productive streaks while somehow still being in the top 6... And Clarkson is NOT attrocious defensively, where the hell did this rumor come from? Just because you read that some Devils fans on HFboards said that Clarkson was bad defensively it DOESN"T MEAN JACK ****... and unlike Mac, Clarkson still contributes LOTS when he isn't scoring in the form of Board play, physicality, leadership, hitting, net presence... The New Jersey system teaches DEFENSE FIRST, there's no way Clarkson stays with the Devils for THAT LONG without being ATLEAST manageable defensively..

"Gards is a power-play specialist"

Did you watch ANY of the games against the Bruins? He was our BEST PLAYER in that series... It was almost unreal, he was moving the puck like a boss and putting up points, and his problems in his own end were even disappearing, we caught ourselves a showcase of an amazing D-man we potentially have.. "Insulated by Franson" ummm NO there's this little thing called chemistry where talented players make each other even better, lots of championship teams have it..

Your negativity was the norm 4 years ago, but were passed that now..

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07-08-2013, 07:24 PM
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafswillrulesometim View Post
Oh my god This is just outright pessimism that has literally no merit

"Clarkson is atrocious defensively and Mac is not"

You're serious? Macarthur was not only bad at defense, but he was soft as butter who went on massive un-productive streaks while somehow still being in the top 6... And Clarkson is NOT attrocious defensively, where the hell did this rumor come from? Just because you read that some Devils fans on HFboards said that Clarkson was bad defensively it DOESN"T MEAN JACK ****... and unlike Mac, Clarkson still contributes LOTS when he isn't scoring in the form of Board play, physicality, leadership, hitting, net presence... The New Jersey system teaches DEFENSE FIRST, there's no way Clarkson stays with the Devils for THAT LONG without being ATLEAST manageable defensively..

"Gards is a power-play specialist"

Did you watch ANY of the games against the Bruins? He was our BEST PLAYER in that series... It was almost unreal, he was moving the puck like a boss and putting up points, and his problems in his own end were even disappearing, we caught ourselves a showcase of an amazing D-man we potentially have.. "Insulated by Franson" ummm NO there's this little thing called chemistry where talented players make each other even better, lots of championship teams have it..

Your negativity was the norm 4 years ago, but were passed that now..
Excellent post. This guy claims he's watched Clarkson play but obviously hasn't watched MacArthur play. While I don't claim to have watched every Devil's game I can pretty well deduce that Clarkson is not ATROCIOUS or that report would have come out in some of the assessments of UFA's by the news media pundits. I never read anywhere that Clarkson was that bad defensively. One thing I can say unequivocally having watched every Leaf game is that MacArthur was average to below average defensively in the majority of games.

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07-08-2013, 09:15 PM
  #66
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Originally Posted by CabanaBoy5 View Post
Excellent post. This guy claims he's watched Clarkson play but obviously hasn't watched MacArthur play. While I don't claim to have watched every Devil's game I can pretty well deduce that Clarkson is not ATROCIOUS or that report would have come out in some of the assessments of UFA's by the news media pundits. I never read anywhere that Clarkson was that bad defensively. One thing I can say unequivocally having watched every Leaf game is that MacArthur was average to below average defensively in the majority of games.
Clarkson's playing style is usually not compatible with steady defensive play. Otherwise, he'd be a 20 goal scoring Corey Perry. He's a mean, in-your-face top six forward. If he isn't doing work in the offensive zone, he's pretty damn lackluster, and yes, that's VERY noticeable.

Regardless, he's going to be increasing our possession number as someone like John Tavares despite being meh defensively. He will really make Kadri or Kessel stronger by crashing the net and will be able to park himself in front of the goalie without being boxed out. I support his acquisition for that reason.

As for MacArthur, he was always known as a two-way guy. He spent a good amount of time on our two-way shut down line. For that reason, he was signed by the Senators to play on their two-way line. What limits him is his offensive game which is inconsistent, but even drafted Buffalo, he was known as a pretty good defensive guy with offensive upside.

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07-08-2013, 09:21 PM
  #67
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Originally Posted by Drew75 View Post
Clarkson was not brought in to be a defensive forward - he was brought in because our offensive forwards - in general - lack the physicality to win the board battles in the offensive end, to regain the puck on the forecheck, and sustain pressure in the offensive zone. That's where Clarkson will provide benefit next year.

The point is - one of our biggest issues last year was zone time. We didn't spend enough at the "right" end of the rink - spending too much in our own. Our D is good, but not great, so extended time in our zone equals being outshot and a higher GAA.
No ***** Sherlock. I never said Clarkson was brought in as a defensive specialist. Instead I said he was brought in as a top six forward.

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07-08-2013, 09:24 PM
  #68
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Bolland Clarkson should help along the boards. Important!

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07-08-2013, 09:34 PM
  #69
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Originally Posted by Leafswillrulesometim View Post
Oh my god This is just outright pessimism that has literally no merit

"Clarkson is atrocious defensively and Mac is not"

You're serious? Macarthur was not only bad at defense, but he was soft as butter who went on massive un-productive streaks while somehow still being in the top 6... And Clarkson is NOT attrocious defensively, where the hell did this rumor come from? Just because you read that some Devils fans on HFboards said that Clarkson was bad defensively it DOESN"T MEAN JACK ****... and unlike Mac, Clarkson still contributes LOTS when he isn't scoring in the form of Board play, physicality, leadership, hitting, net presence... The New Jersey system teaches DEFENSE FIRST, there's no way Clarkson stays with the Devils for THAT LONG without being ATLEAST manageable defensively..

"Gards is a power-play specialist"

Did you watch ANY of the games against the Bruins? He was our BEST PLAYER in that series... It was almost unreal, he was moving the puck like a boss and putting up points, and his problems in his own end were even disappearing, we caught ourselves a showcase of an amazing D-man we potentially have.. "Insulated by Franson" ummm NO there's this little thing called chemistry where talented players make each other even better, lots of championship teams have it..

Your negativity was the norm 4 years ago, but were passed that now..
You may have been watching the Boston series, but were clearly getting too excited by Gardiner's skating. This is hockey, not figure skating.

Gardiner was not our best defenceman. He was spending most of his time against the unproductive Kelly, Peverley lines. The guy was offensively utilized the most amongst defenceman even though we often played in our zone. In other words, he was not relied upon in a shut down role. Franson, in contrast, did spend some time (~33% of TOI) against the Krecji line and was largely starting in the defensive zone as well.

That was clearly visible.

When he was with the depth scoring line, he was given very favorable offensive zone shifts against the Bergeron line. He did not look very steady against Bergeron's shut down line never mind Krecji's monster line. Instead he was being insulated by Franson, and as I said, I see an elite offensive defenceman in him. There is nothing wrong with that seeing that Letang - who is an elite offensive defenceman - is one.

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07-08-2013, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by p.l.f. View Post
Bolland Clarkson should help along the boards. Important!
Correct. I could see Bolland utilized in the lines of Chicago, where he has skilled guys like Havlet, Hossa, Kane on his lines from time to time.

We're going to be impressed IMO.

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07-08-2013, 10:01 PM
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JVR - Bozak - Kessel...no change but Kessel's line has gotten better each year
Lupul - Kadri - Clarkson...better offense hopefully outweighs any negative defense
Kulemin - Bolland - D'Amigo/McClement...much better defensively (Grabo + Mac were -5 in game 7...on for two or three goals in last 15 minutes of game + OT).
Orr - McClement - McLaren...no change
Phaneuf - hopefully better with reduced minutes and an actual checking line
Gunnarsson - hopefully better because injured most of the year
Gardiner - hopefully better because recovered from concussion
Franson - hopefully better because finally getting confidence back
Liles - unknown if he will be better or worse
Fraser - unknown if he will be better or worse
Kostka - better because he won't be here
O'Byrne - better because he won't be here
Bernier - better than Scrivens and will hopefully push Reimer to be better
Overall Team Defense - hopefully better because Carlyle will have a full pre-season to help work on his game plan

I suspect that the Leafs will be a better team both defensively and offensively this year.


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07-08-2013, 11:30 PM
  #72
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It looks good, but I can see Colborne being given a stint on the shut down line. He didn't look out of place. Similarly, I can see JVR and Kulemin swapped around so that we get good production out of that line and improve Nik's offensive numbers.

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07-09-2013, 11:45 AM
  #73
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Originally Posted by CabanaBoy5 View Post
Excellent post. This guy claims he's watched Clarkson play but obviously hasn't watched MacArthur play. While I don't claim to have watched every Devil's game I can pretty well deduce that Clarkson is not ATROCIOUS or that report would have come out in some of the assessments of UFA's by the news media pundits. I never read anywhere that Clarkson was that bad defensively. One thing I can say unequivocally having watched every Leaf game is that MacArthur was average to below average defensively in the majority of games.
I love how Leaf fans hate the media, until they need the media. You shouldn't be surprised to learn that the media outlets get their news from GMs and agents. They don't report on the game itself very often.

Whether MacArthur was 'below average' defensively, compared to Clarkson, can be tested. All numbers are for 5 on 5. Here we go:

Let's start with shots given up. In his time with the Leafs, MacArthur was on the ice for 1,282 of the 5,223 shots the Leafs gave up (25%). Over the same 2010-13 period, Clarkson was on the ice for only 1,062 shots against, but the Devils, in general, gave up fewer shots (4,254), so it too comes out to 25%. In terms of preventing shots, the two were, in their different contextes, even. But, if Clarkson's line (and team generally) gave up fewer shots overall, I'd guess he was doing what he's advertised to do: cycling the puck in the opposition's zone, chewing up time, limited shots against. That's the defense he promises to provide.

But what happens to the shots they did give up? Well, for MacArthur, 123 of them turned out to be goals against. 27% of all the ES goals the Leafs gave up from 2010 to 2013 were given up when MacArthur was on the ice. Clarkson, on the other hand, was on for 112 ES goals against, which is 29% of all goals scored against New Jersey over that period. So, Clarkson seems a bit worse for his team than MacArthur was for ours, but a bit better (or his line was) than MacA's overall. Fewer shots and fewer goals. I'd say we're at slight advantage Clarkson, since he might be a bit worse defensively among other Devils forwards but still somewhat better than Leafs forwards, including MacArthur. And, again, at the level of shots against and goals against, I'd say the stats match the eye test: Clarkson's good at keeping it deep in the other team's zone.

But what happens when there are shots? The Devils and the Leafs, quite obviously, have had rather different levels of goaltending over the last few years. I wondered how the goalie's save percentages when Clarkson and MacArthur were on the ice differed from when they were off. In other words, were they (and their linemates) giving up higher quality scoring chances which beat their respective goalie more than the average shot? Here's that: for shots give up by MacArthur and his line-mates, the goalie had a .904 save percentage, and, when they were off the ice the Leafs had a (surprisingly impressive) .917 ES SV%. Mac knocked .013 off the ES save percentage. The Devils, on the other hand, had an .894 ES SV% when Clarkson was on the ice, which is .020 knocked off the .914 save percentage the Devils had when Clarkson was off the ice.

So, it seems to me that, even if Clarkson and his line were somewhat better about not giving up shots, when they did give up shots, those shots were of a higher quality than when MacA and his line mates gave up shots. We can draw that conclusion because the goalie had more trouble with them (unless the goalie was just distracted by Clarkson's tenacity and grit). And that passes the eye test too: watched a bit of Clarkson video, and it looks like when he's deep & grinding he doesn't always get back, when he has those partial breakaway goals he's up at the blueline.

I'd be really surprised if he's as good a backchecker as MacArthur for the Leafs. Let's hope Kadri and Lupul get better in this respect, because otherwise that forward line looks like it'll get a lot of goals but also give up a lot.

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07-09-2013, 12:10 PM
  #74
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I love how Leaf fans hate the media, until they need the media. You shouldn't be surprised to learn that the media outlets get their news from GMs and agents. They don't report on the game itself very often.

Whether MacArthur was 'below average' defensively, compared to Clarkson, can be tested. All numbers are for 5 on 5. Here we go:

Let's start with shots given up. In his time with the Leafs, MacArthur was on the ice for 1,282 of the 5,223 shots the Leafs gave up (25%). Over the same 2010-13 period, Clarkson was on the ice for only 1,062 shots against, but the Devils, in general, gave up fewer shots (4,254), so it too comes out to 25%. In terms of preventing shots, the two were, in their different contextes, even. But, if Clarkson's line (and team generally) gave up fewer shots overall, I'd guess he was doing what he's advertised to do: cycling the puck in the opposition's zone, chewing up time, limited shots against. That's the defense he promises to provide.

But what happens to the shots they did give up? Well, for MacArthur, 123 of them turned out to be goals against. 27% of all the ES goals the Leafs gave up from 2010 to 2013 were given up when MacArthur was on the ice. Clarkson, on the other hand, was on for 112 ES goals against, which is 29% of all goals scored against New Jersey over that period. So, Clarkson seems a bit worse for his team than MacArthur was for ours, but a bit better (or his line was) than MacA's overall. Fewer shots and fewer goals. I'd say we're at slight advantage Clarkson, since he might be a bit worse defensively among other Devils forwards but still somewhat better than Leafs forwards, including MacArthur. And, again, at the level of shots against and goals against, I'd say the stats match the eye test: Clarkson's good at keeping it deep in the other team's zone.

But what happens when there are shots? The Devils and the Leafs, quite obviously, have had rather different levels of goaltending over the last few years. I wondered how the goalie's save percentages when Clarkson and MacArthur were on the ice differed from when they were off. In other words, were they (and their linemates) giving up higher quality scoring chances which beat their respective goalie more than the average shot? Here's that: for shots give up by MacArthur and his line-mates, the goalie had a .904 save percentage, and, when they were off the ice the Leafs had a (surprisingly impressive) .917 ES SV%. Mac knocked .013 off the ES save percentage. The Devils, on the other hand, had an .894 ES SV% when Clarkson was on the ice, which is .020 knocked off the .914 save percentage the Devils had when Clarkson was off the ice.

So, it seems to me that, even if Clarkson and his line were somewhat better about not giving up shots, when they did give up shots, those shots were of a higher quality than when MacA and his line mates gave up shots. We can draw that conclusion because the goalie had more trouble with them (unless the goalie was just distracted by Clarkson's tenacity and grit). And that passes the eye test too: watched a bit of Clarkson video, and it looks like when he's deep & grinding he doesn't always get back, when he has those partial breakaway goals he's up at the blueline.

I'd be really surprised if he's as good a backchecker as MacArthur for the Leafs. Let's hope Kadri and Lupul get better in this respect, because otherwise that forward line looks like it'll get a lot of goals but also give up a lot.
Sounds about right to me; I always thought MacArthur was good defensively!

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