Friday, September 30, 2011

Prospect Stats Are Back!

With the CHL regular season in full swing, BCP is bringing back Leafs' Prospect Stats.  We'll try to update the page weekly so you can make it your one stop shop for basic info on our prospects' statistics.

So far, Brad Ross has come out swinging with 5 points in 3 games (to go along with 7 PIMs).  Could be an Alex Burrows or Steve Downie type -- productive and annoying.

Tyler Biggs has his first exhibition game with MU on October 2nd.

The Marlies' regular season kicks off October 8th.

Here's a link to the page ( Prospect Stats ) or you can find it on the tabs above.

Also, check us out on twitter at   ' bcphockeyblog '

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Rocco Grimaldi, Sexism, and Self-Respect

I'd like to start this post by saying that this blog has been used exclusively for hockey-related material.  Generally, I try to steer clear of ethics and morality in my writing.  I have my own moral grounding, which I'm comfortable with, and will discuss almost any issue with anyone who cares to seek out my opinion but I'm generally disinclined to present my opinions unless I'm asked.

Having said this, a young hockey player presented some pretty strong opinions yesterday and it has caused quite a stir among people I know and people I read.  I don't mean for any of this to be offensive to anyone but here's my personal take on the matter.

Yesterday, Yahoo! Sports' hockey blog, Puck Daddy, published a series of Tweets by the recently drafted Rocco Grimaldi.  Grimaldi is a devout Christian -- so devout that one of his pre-draft interviews included the question, "Do you think your beliefs will affect your ability to maintain a positive relationship with your teammates?"

Toronto Maple Leafs: 2011 - 2012 Predictions

With one week until the start of the regular season, things are starting to take shape for the Maple Leafs.  Kadri's recent injury seems to have resolved (for now, at least) the Frattin v Kadri debate.

Pierre Lebrun is reporting that Brian Burke is working the phones in an attempt to address the excess of depth on the team's defense.  This probably means that they've seen enough of Gardiner and like him enough to try and give the kid some quality NHL ice-time.  Who's on the block and what the return might be will certainly be the topic of considerable speculation in the coming weeks.

With relatively few questions surrounding the current roster, I wanted to take this opportunity to put together some predictions for the coming season.  I'll keep myself honest at the mid-way point so you all can see how smart I am... Or how badly I've failed.

Without further ado:

1)  Phil Kessel will have his best goals per game ratio of his career

I wanted to say that Kessel would score 40 goals but with his minor groin injury (there's no such thing as a groin injury that isn't nagging it seems) I'm not comfortable saying he'll play 80 games. 

Kessel has scored 30 and 32 goals in his two seasons with the Leafs while his shooting percentage has hovered around the 10% mark.  In his last year in Boston, playing with a good centerman in Marc Savard, he scored 36 and had a shooting percentage of 15.5%.  With Connolly as his center, I suspect he'll be able to roughly split that difference and with a 13% shooting percentage and similar shot numbers, he'd be on pace for almost exactly 40.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Tragic Flaw in Brian Burke's Plan

In November of 2008, Brian Burke became President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and he came with a plan of how he wanted his team structured.  To be a Toronto Maple Leaf under Brian Burke meant that you would "be a contributing offensive player in our top-six forwards" or a "hard hat guy" in the bottom-six.

The problem with this model lay primarily in the team he inherited.  At the time, the top-six wasn't nearly skilled enough for the team to rely exclusively on role players in bottom-six and Burke knew it.  He set about acquiring high-end talent and the following season, he brought in Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins. 

With Kessel on the team and Grabovski and Kulemin blossoming into top-six talent, the Leafs looked to be making major steps towards being a competitive team but there's no chance that Burke believed his work was finished after having acquired the Bruins' young sniper.

While many feel that the Kessel trade was a mis-step by Burke, I feel that his true error was one of economics.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gardiner Impresses, Still Likely the Odd Man Out

A few years ago, Mike Babcock called Ville Leino the best player that he's ever sent back to the minors.  I'm starting to think that before long, Ron Wilson might be able to say the same of Jake Gardiner.

At 21 years old, the slick skating defender has been electric in the pre-season thus far.

Gardiner was acquired from Anaheim late last season along with Joffrey Lupul in exchange for Francois Beauchemin.  At the time, many pundits felt that Gardiner's Wisconsin teammate Justin Schultz had surpassed Gardiner on Anaheim's depth chart.  This, coupled with the emergence of Cam Fowler, made Gardiner expendable.