Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Toronto Maple Leafs: After 60 games

Well this most painful season is winding down for the Maple Leafs. The last 10 games have been as unpredictable as any stretch during the season. They played some awful games but they had some strong games too. In fact, two out of the 3 wins over the past 10 games led to opposition coaches being firings. So the Leafs earned 10 points over the period and had a record of 3-3-4.

At the pace the Leafs are going they will finish with 77 points which is 6 points fewer than last season. Personnel changes as a result of trades next week probably won't change that by much. The Leafs seem to play the same no matter who is in the lineup. The loss of Mats Sundin has surprisingly had no impact on their offense. They are scoring on average 0.2o more goals this season. Although scoring is up across the league (by 0.26 goals per game or 0.13 per team). The Leafs have given up 0.4 more goals per game this season. This clearly underscores where the Leafs have to improve next season - goaltending and defense.

During the past 10 games Justin Pogge got a few starts and convinced everyone that he is just not ready to play in the NHL. However playing in front of such a weak defensive team would be tough for any goalie. Jason Blake continues his torid pace and Nik Antropov woke up from a terrible slump. Blake has had 10 points (5 goals and 5 assists) in the last 10 games while Antropov has scored 7 goals.

Next week is the trading deadline and Brian Burke will try to make some moves. However, he has few assets that would interest other GMs. The biggest bang for the buck would be to move Tomas Kaberle which is why he is the veteran you would least likely want to move.