I guess there’s some room to be fair to Tyler Bozak. Tyler Dellow’s been going through some zone faceoff data (I got my hands on some Leafs-specific zone data that I’ll be rolling out this weekend) and it seems like Randy Carlyle’s teams in particular are quite poor at puck possession. Dellow’s been doing some great work at his website showing how the system can contribute to poor possession rates for top forwards. There’s some indication that’s been happening with Bozak.
Now, my opinions on Bozie are well-documented, but if you looked at his statistics relative to his own team, I think his collapse in shots for and against metrics aren’t isolated on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The problem is that he’s a key player in a system that’s designed to give up shots on goal. While Randy Carlyle won a Stanley Cup, his Anaheim teams after that were never dominant again, and he missed the playoffs twice in the four years at the end of his term if you count 2012 as a year that the Ducks would have missed. They were 7-13-4 at the time.
So what does this mean for Bozak? Well, look at his basic relative Corsi, relative Quality of Competition, and zone start rates next to his time on ice. These are even strength statistics alone:
|TOI/60||Rel Corsi||Corsi Rel QoC||Ozone %|
Obviously, it’s not about Corsi alone, or any one metric, but it is important to note that Bozak did better relative to his teammates than in any other year, and he did it in a career high of minutes, relative quality of competition and defensive zone faceoff start rate. I don’t think that Bozak had a good season by any means, but if you strip out the Randy Carlyle components and compare him face up with teammates, he’s not doing as badly as maybe we thought. There’s the potential, again, for a third-line centreman.
Then there’s his PK record. While Jay McClement was most-heavily leaned on this past season, Bozak had career highs in minutes per game on the PK, as well as career lows in shots and goals against rate. As a key PKer, he was part of the reason the Leafs had a strong PK this season, although that’s also thanks to coaching and Scott Gordon’s effect on the PK, which focused around pressuring point men, entries, and no longer fronting:
|TOI/GP||4v5 SA/2 MIN||4v5 GA/2 MIN|
Is Bozak perfect? No. When he goes on radio, he sounds like he’s trying to address the “haterz” and I think he knows he has a lot to prove this upcoming season.
Was he as good as Grabovski last year? No. I have some snippets of data that shows Grabovski was better in certain specific situations, but Bozak was relied on this year and as a player, improved. The system though, the one that exists purely to give up shots on goal and force goaltenders and top scorers to drag teams into the playoffs, is not doing Tyler Bozak any favours.