angryjay93

Toronto Maple Leafs

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Toronto Maple Leafs



Team Overview: An often overlooked team, Toronto doesn’t catch the eye of most people due to their lack of an elite speedster, bone crushing d-man, or stone wall goaltender. What they do have though, is a top 10 forward with a serious mean streak, some slick wingers, a couple of booming slap shots, and a very competent goaltender that when all put together, creates a nice little squad.

Forwards: The forward unit here has a handful of very useful options at the disposal of the user. None is more important than Doug Gilmour of course, he will be the centerpiece of any line created and should be a major force offensively and defensively. The last four options are Nikolai Borshevsky, Glenn Anderson, John Cullen, and Wendell Clark. None of these players are necessarily better than any of the others, which makes user preferences all the more important when constructing a line.

Triple Threat:

Borshevsky-Gilmour-Clark

Nikolai Borshevsky: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/2 aware, Shoots: L

While not spectacular, Borshevsky is a solid support guy on the left. Possessing a respectable 3/4 shot, he is better used on the left where he can use his 4/4 skating and 4 passing to distribute the puck to Gilmour lying in wait in the slot or to deke an unsuspecting goalie. Borshevsky is no slouch on defense either, at 6 weight, he can effectively throw his weight around on the fore check to create turnovers and hopefully create an easy scoring chance.

Doug Gilmour: 4 weight, 5/4 skating, 4/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 5/5 aware, Shoots: L

“Killer” is one of my most favorite players in the entire game because he can do it all. 5/4 skating, 5/5 aware, 4/4 shot, 4 pass, stick handle, and weight. No one is quite as balanced as Gilmour, he can play wing just as effectively as the middle and he will be a force all over the ice. His user friendly 5/4 skating means he will be fast enough to run down anyone, but no so fast that he is difficult to control in tight spaces. On offense, Gilmour is equally adept at one timers as he is slashing through another teams defense. The only negative Gilmour has is his penchant for taking penalties, lots of penalties, using him with discretion is advised.

Wendel Clark: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 5/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

While I’m typically not a fan of plodding (3/3 skating), heavy (8 weight), and inaccurate power shooters (5/3 shot), there isn’t a much better place for a Wendel Clark to be inserted into a lineup. Clark, a left handed shot, is best suited on the right wing so he can unleash his cannon like slapper to rip twine and smash glass alike. While he may a bit on the hefty side, Clark can effectively dish the puck with his 4 passing to help keep the offensive breakout alive. Clark’s main weakness though is his defense, he isn’t going to lay many people out or run them down to apply the poke check, this problem is further compounded by the fact that Ellett is the ideal right defenseman, which leaves two heavy offensive minded players on the right.

Every player on this line is a threat to score, which makes focusing the defense on Gilmour a bit risky for the opposing player. The issue here though is if Gilmour can help a defensively porous right side, if he can, then this line is in really good shape.

Slow but Steady:

Cullen-Gilmour-Borshevsky

John Cullen: 7 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

Something about Cullen makes this line really click. A lot of users can get really carried away with Gilmour and just try to play smash mouth hockey every time up the ice. Giving the puck to Cullen, can throw a massive change up into that game plan and keep the defense guessing a whole lot more. Cullen posses 4/3 skating, he is very nimble in close quarters, he can pull off a multitude of dekes, including being surprisingly adept at the backhand floater and he can finish those dekes off with his respectable 3/4 shot.

Also, another thing to love about Cullen is that he can slow the pace of the game down to a crawl, which is perfect to Toronto’s typically frantic offensive pace. With his 4 passing, Cullen is very adept at feeding Gilmour or Borshevsky premium passes for easy scoring chances. While Cullen may be a bit of a middle weight (7 rating), he is resilient to far more players than Clark because of the amount of 6 weight players in the game. Cullen can handle a check from Joe Sakic, Clark cant.

Other Options:

Glenn Anderson: 7 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

Glenn Anderson is another perfectly acceptable player on this line in place of Cullen, at 4/4 speed Anderson is the better skater, but with that trade comes a less accurate 3/3 shot. The reason though that I prefer Cullen over Anderson though is Cullen is a bigger change of pace, with all the forwards going the same speed, it can be a bit easier for a defense to hone in and time their body and poke checks.

Mike Krushelski: 9 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/4 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

Being Gilmour's default sub, Krushelski could see a lot of playing time if Killer looses his cool out there. It would probably be best though to put a sub in since Mike is a plodding heavyweight who wont take advantage of too many short handed situations.


Forward Rating: (7.5/10)

Defense: While not in possession of a de facto stud on the back line, the Leafs do have a respectable enough trio of defenseman in Dave Ellett, Todd Gill, and Jamie Macoun to allow user’s to play a solid defensive game.

Gill-Ellett

Dave Ellett: 9 weight, 4/4 skating, 5/1 shot, 4 sth & pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: L

This is the more preferred pairing league wide, and with good reason. Ellett, although heavy with his 9 weight, is a solid d-man. 4/4 skating, 4 passing and a blistering 5/1 shot allow this left handed defenseman ample chance to unleash his howitzer whether it be off the rush or an offensive zone face-off. While not among the elite, Ellett is a very good option to have and is a must for any Toronto defensive pairing.

Todd Gill: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

What he lacks in skills, Gill more than makes up for hit in hitting ability. While being woeful with the puck in all categories (2 across the board), his 6 weight, 3/3 skating and 4 checking allow Gill to not only be a hitting presence with user control, his computer AI also will put him into rampage mode as he is liable to lay anyone out in the defensive zone.

Macoun-Ellett

Jamie Macoun: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/1 shot, 3 sth, 4 pass, 2/4 aware, Shoots: L

Macoun is a solid sub, he is a far more gifted player than Gill, with his 4/1 shooting and 4 passing. But at 8 weight, he is more of the same mold of an Ellett, just slower 3/3 skating. If you don’t mind a bit more heft in order to get premium puck moving ability from the backend, then Macoun is a very solid option.

Other Option:

Dmitri Mironov: 7 weight, 3/2 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

A default sub, Mironov is a pretty steady defenseman. Just don't try and get into too many foot races with him and he should be able to hold his own in spurts.


Defense Rating: (7/10)

Goalie Zone:

Felix Potvin: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 4 puck control, 4/4/4/4 save, Glove: L

Potvin is always in the debate among top 5 goalies in the league, his 6 weight allows him to be nimble, but also be fairly resiliant to the ram tactic. With 4 and 5 ratings across the board, Potvin will typically play a fairly consistent brand of hockey that may steal a game on his own from time to time.

Daren Puppa: 9 weight, 3/4 skating, 2 puck control, 2/2/3/3, Catches: R

While Puppa may not see much time in classic with the Leafs, he is a 1A-1B option in the GDL. Puppa is a bit tricky to get a good game out of though. With such lackluster save ratings its really important to get his body in front of the puck, his clumsy skating and wretched rebound control do not aid him in this battle.


Goalie Rating: (8/10)

Bottom Line: I’m really very surprised that Toronto doesn’t get selected in more leagues, they are solid in all areas. Perhaps they just aren’t sexy enough because they don’t possess the ultimate speedster, pure sniper, or bone crushing d-man. Don’t let that fool you though the next time you play with them.

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In future leagues or tournaments I'll consider having the Leafs.

Gilmour is a real 2-way forward. It's no wonder why some can mistake him for Charles Manson. He even looks the part with a bit of Rocky Balboa on the side.

The wingers, it's a mixed affair for me. Clark can hit, no question, but he's a bit hefty so he's a bit inconsistent with it. He's got good stats, but his offensive awareness is rather low. You'll put him in better use if you control him yourself. Borshevski is good and I have never considered using Cullen before. Perhaps I'll experiment with him. Anderson is the odd man out here, but he has his uses.

I think I'll stop using Dimitri Mironov when I next use the Leafs. He's a bit decent, but he can't cut a stick of butter with a dull knife compared to Gill, Ellet and Macoun. Felix the Cat won't let you down when it counts, so he's a pretty good goalie.

I wonder if the weight bug also affects the goalies.

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Weight Bug Fix Analysis

Toronto is a good team that improves in some ways and weakens in others with the weight bug fix. Gilmour's nerfing is a big blow on offense, but their defense becomes top-notch. With line changes on, they may be the deepest, toughest team in the game.

Forwards

Toronto has SIX solid players to consider playing on the first line.

Gilmour is still the team's best player, but his 4 weight really reduces his effectiveness -- his combination of skill and grit made him an elite player before, but now he only has skill. Almost any player can knock him over; however, he has a checking effectiveness of 6.4* due to his 4 checking rating, so he can take down guys like Bure and Roenick.

There are plenty of wingers to choose from.

If you want a banger with a shot, go for Andreychuk (11/4 chk, 4/4 shot) or Clark (8/4, 5/3), though they're both slow 3/3 skaters (and remember that higher weight means lower acceleration).

For a speedy winger, go with Borshevsky (4/4 spd, 3/4 shot, 4 stick, 4 pass) or Anderson (3 shot accuracy, but 7 weight). Cullen is a slightly less speedy option.

Defense

Ellet's 9/4 checking and 5/1 shot make him a beast, but he is known to join the rush too much (especially when on the PK!).

Macoun (8/4) and Rouse (10/4) are also effective checkers. You'll probably want to go with Macoun, though, with his 4/1 shot and 4 passing (Rouse is 2/0 and 2)

*Checking effectiveness is calculated as (6*wgt + 10*chk - 13)/8

Edited by smozoma

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What about Gill, smoz?

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What about Gill, smoz?

With the other 3, there's no point using him. 6/4 weight/chk (7.9 effectiveness) isn't great. 2s in everything with the puck.

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Weight Bug Fix Analysis

Defense

Ellet's 9/4 checking and 5/1 shot make him a beast, but he is known to join the rush too much (especially when on the PK!).

Macoun (8/4) and Rouse (10/4) are also effective checkers. You'll probably want to go with Macoun, though, with his 4/1 shot and 4 passing (Rouse is 2/0 and 2)

Mr. Rouse gets the AJ stamp of approval, he is a very serviceable defenseman and has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time.

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Your Triple Threat line is exactly what I would typically use as well. Defense, I would always take out Gill for Macoun, and occasionally Rouse. Great stuff AJ. You're picking all of my favorite teams first.

Smozoma, thanks for providing the Weight but analysis for each writeup. I like hearing how each team has been affected by it.

-Evan

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Great write up and perspective AJ. I never really thought about aligning my Dmen with my F's, if my LW is weak defensively cover it up with my best defensive dman on LD.

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I never really thought about aligning my Dmen with my F's, if my LW is weak defensively cover it up with my best defensive dman on LD.

I never thought about it either.

Thats the kind of thinking that wins championships.

Great write up.

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CB Notes

Forwards

Doug Gilmour: While Killer may still be a killer on the defensive side of the puck, his offensive versatility has been greatly diminished by the C-B check. At 4 weight and only 5/4 skating, Gilmour may have some issues carving through defenses like he used to and it could end up being best putting him out on a wing to put his play making abilities more to use. The only issue with putting Gilmour on a wing is that competent center must be iced, this isn't exactly easy with the rest of the Leafs forwards on the roster.

Nikolay Borschevsky, Glenn Anderson, & John Cullen: While this trio of players may now better suited to take down the super lightweights in the league, their lack of elite skating makes them more accessible to the bigger defenders. If Wendel Clark or Dave Andreychuk are inserted into the lineup, it may be tricky to ice the Leafs only right handed winger John Cullen as the lack of team speed can be problematic.

Wendel Clark: Things now become a little interesting for Clark as he is now a viable center option despite his mediocre speed. The 5 shot power allows the Leafs to expand their one timer game and Clark has more than enough juice in his shot to take advantage of the 5 hole shot if left all alone in the middle of the ice. Clark was always a bit of a laborious option on the wing, using him as the sniper could really open things up for him.

Dave Andreychuk: 11 weight, 3/3 skating 4/4 shot, 3/3 sth and Pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: Right

While it may seem Dave is perfectly set up to take advantage of the new technology at hand, he is still going to have a rough go in most situations. A lack of skating and play making skills limit him to Center duties but a lack of deke ability and a non-elite shot will limit the offensive output available. Even in the Blitz league, where heavyweights have a distinct advantage with their physicality, Andreychuk was only able to register one good season along with a couple of average ones. If his flaws can be worked around, he will give the Leafs added lineup flexibility and allow Gilmour to roam around on the wings in order to find Andreychuk posting up in the slot for some goals.

New Line Combo: Borschevsky-Clark/Andreychuk-Gilmour

If an opponent is capable of beating up Gilmour in the middle then this line may become a perfect counter. This line possesses two talented puck carriers on the wing who are both more than capable goal scorers. With Gilmour on the right, he can use his slapper and float shot to look for rebounds and keep the defense honest. With the defense focusing on Gilmour, he should be able to use his skills to find one of Clark or Andreychuk in the middle for a dangerous one timer or a mini breakaway on the goalie. This line also has a great mixture of weight bug and C-B check options which will make the opponent adjust their own game plan.

Defense

Dave Ellett: It is safe to say that Ellett's stock has risen as he is a mobile defender who should be more than able to start imposing his will on the lighter forwards in the league. It will still be tough to unload his powerful blast of a shot on offense but he will likely be giving up fewer chances on the defensive side of the puck.

Todd Gill: Unfortunately for Gill, things aren't so rosy. Gill was always an under skilled blue liner that was propped up by his light weight status. Now that the bigger forwards in the league can flatten Gill, his lack of skill will be further put under the microscope. This will likely transform Gill from a key cog in the lineup into a match up consideration.

Jamie Macoun: Likely the biggest benefactor on the Leafs is Mr. Macoun. At 8 weight, Macoun can now hit back against the multitude of skilled 6 weight or lighter forwards in the league and use his passing acumen to start the counter attack. With Ellett now more than capable of holding his own, having Macoun go on some offensive adventures wont be so problematic.

Bob Rouse: 10 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/0 shot, 2/2 sth and pass, 2/4 aware, Shoots: R

The Leafs are a little short on right handed D-men and Rouse is easily the best among the limited options. The offensive skills are obviously not there but Rouse is just mobile enough to get his body checking game going and he typically has fantastic positioning in his own zone. Rouse is easily #4 on the defensive depth chart but he may warrant a spot start in matchups against skilled 7 weight wingers such as Luc Robitaille and Steve Larmer. Neither Macoun or Gill can weight bug or C-B check these players, Rouse can add a physical edge and lay them out with a C-B.

New D-pair: Ellett-Rouse

The main thing to note with this D-pair is that it will really excel with Gilmour at RW and Borschevsky at LW. This set up allows a weight bug checker and a C-B checker on each side of the ice. No matter who the opponent ices on their wings, they will be physically accessible to at least one if not both players.

Bottom Line

Previously Toronto had to rely a little too much on Gilmour to be the catalyst behind everything. Now the Leafs can spread out the responsibilities a bit and diversify their game plan. While they still lack speed and a top tier goal scorer they just became a much tougher team to matchup against.

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I think Gilmour benefits. Before players were forced to B-check him, now they will try and C/B check. For someone with 5/4 skating like Gilmour, it is 50x easier to get around a C or C/B check than it is for a B-check.

Also, when everyone is so focused on C/B checking they end up overusing the technique and just using the C/B at everything. I see this garbage all the time.

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I think Gilmour benefits. Before players were forced to B-check him, now they will try and C/B check. For someone with 5/4 skating like Gilmour, it is 50x easier to get around a C or C/B check than it is for a B-check.

Also, when everyone is so focused on C/B checking they end up overusing the technique and just using the C/B at everything. I see this garbage all the time.

I would agree with portions with this assessment if talking about an overzealous opponent. Against a resourceful defensive opponent I think it would be important to keep these two items in mind when using a guy such as Gilmour.

1. Checking in at a meager 4 weight, Gilmour is C-B check accessible to any player with 6+ weight. There are a lot of players in the league who meet that requirement and have superior if not comparable skating to Gilmour. A guy like Fedorov with the same skating attributes as Gilmour isn't hurt as much by the CB check because he has 7 weight. It would take a 9+ weight player to bring down Fedorov with a C-B check and there are far fewer guys in the league with that weight who can keep up with Fedorov.

2. I'm a strong proponent of the poke check, but C checking and C-B checking have their use. For example:

Pre C-B check: Teemu Selanne checks in at 6 weight would have limited options marking Gilmour. Selanne would have to wait for Gilmour to come into poke check range or use his regular skating speed to approach Gilmour and work the poke.

Post C-B check: If Selanne has an angle to access Gilmour he can go about doing it with a C-B check. At 6 speed Selanne can really press the issue with his elongated speed burst and knock Gilmour out of the play before he can make an adjustment. If nothing else Selanne can still sit back or approach Gilmour cautiously to employ a poke check. By having options the player controlling Selanne can start to work a meta game against Gilmour and leave him guessing at what to do.

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I think Gilmour benefits. Before players were forced to B-check him, now they will try and C/B check. For someone with 5/4 skating like Gilmour, it is 50x easier to get around a C or C/B check than it is for a B-check.

Also, when everyone is so focused on C/B checking they end up overusing the technique and just using the C/B at everything. I see this garbage all the time.

Yes, overdoing it can be toxic. But most people don't engage in that. As far as I know, there's only one coach who goes overboard and gets himself into trouble because of it (now who could that be??). As for Gilmour though, I still see him a sitting duck these days for C-B when he's far enough away, not the best guy to be trying to dodge C-B with because of having the more speed than agility syndrome. However, that same syndrome makes him very easy to B-check as well. The decision is situational.

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I think we need to establish a C-B discussion thread. I think there was one initially but I can't seem to find it. It's such a situational maneuver (what player you're using, who has the puck that you're trying to attack, who the coach is you're playing, the distance between the players. It's way more than weight.)

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Yes, overdoing it can be toxic. But most people don't engage in that. As far as I know, there's only one coach who goes overboard and gets himself into trouble because of it (now who could that be??). As for Gilmour though, I still see him a sitting duck these days for C-B when he's far enough away, not the best guy to be trying to dodge C-B with because of having the more speed than agility syndrome. However, that same syndrome makes him very easy to B-check as well. The decision is situational.

Gilmour has 5/4 skating, so 5 agility and 4 speed. Walking around C and C/B checks puts you in the best positions to score. It's fine to get hit by body checks every now and then. If you go look at the Blitz 10 stats, I get checked way more than anyone else but I have the best GFA by a pretty solid margin. I also have a pretty good GAA despite never using the C or C/B check. In Blitz 09 I was able to win with a super light team averaging about 0.15 body checks a game.

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Gilmour has 5/4 skating, so 5 agility and 4 speed. Walking around C and C/B checks puts you in the best positions to score. It's fine to get hit by body checks every now and then. If you go look at the Blitz 10 stats, I get checked way more than anyone else but I have the best GFA by a pretty solid margin. I also have a pretty good GAA despite never using the C or C/B check. In Blitz 09 I was able to win with a super light team averaging about 0.15 body checks a game.

Wow, big error on my part in mixing that up. I should have done my research here on him. Maybe it's just the feel of him (to me) that made me assume that was the case.

However, I don't think getting checked is a good thing. Having a potent offensive skills, great team D and goalie control have much more to do with GF-GA than # of times being checked. As a whole for most people, turning the puck over and losing possession is not beneficial. If someone isn't checked, they'll have more possession time.

Yes, walking around C and C/B checks most definitely puts you in an incredible position to capitalize. But it's much easier said than done for the vast majority of people. You've adapted to being a successful C-B evader. Having an agile skater helps A LOT obviously, as does watching the opposing defenseman and waiting for him to commit first.

Edited by Uncle Seth

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