Monday Morning Leafs Report: Missing magic between John Tavares and Mitch Marner, Souperman, fourth-line battle
By Jonas Siegel
Only two of the 21 skaters to suit up for the Maple Leafs this season have yet to produce at least one five-on-five point.
He may be right. Maybe regression has hit — and hit hard early.
What Sandin is learning about the NHL
Fourth-line competitionThe Leafs’ fourth line shined in Motown, with Nick Shore scoring a goal, Dmytro Timashov setting up a pair and Frederik Gauthier firing five — yes, five — shots. That trio is one of two the Leafs have dressed on the fourth line. Let’s call it the rugged group (A). The other more skillful group (B) features Gauthier with Spezza and Nic Petan.
Which has performed better?
A: 47 percent possession (22-26); 75 percent goals-for (3-1); 56 percent expected goals; 4 percent offensive-zone start percentage
B: 72 percent possession (26-10); 33 percent goals-for (1-2); 74 percent expected goals; 18 percent offensive-zone start percentage
The winner so far is B, though Timashov has won rave reviews from Babcock, as has Shore. The Leafs are going to have to decide which combination of players they like best soon, with Hyman and Travis Dermott nearing their respective returns.
FOGO competitionWho’s got the edge in the FOGO battle on the PK?
Shore has won five of eight of his draws, or 63 percent. Spezza has won six of nine, or 67 percent.
Both winners so far.
Meanwhile, the top lefty option, Gauthier, has dropped six of eight.
Checking the iPadsWhen players arrive at the rink on gameday mornings, they find iPads in their dressing room stalls. Each has a blue Maple Leafs sticker with their number on the back. Players can sift through clips of their shifts game by game, with comments from the coaching staff. The Leafs started using them in the playoffs and “we basically figured we’d try it out and see what happens,” Babcock said.