I’m working on something a little more in depth breaking down some of the more important Maple Leafs storylines at the halfway mark, but this keeps popping up in my timeline:
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) December 30, 2013
Or something to that effect. Normally I ignore trade rumours, but these are the Toronto Maple Leafs, and to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the stat sheet is restricted to “goals, assists, points, +/- and minutes played” and nobody stops to think whether they have anything figured out. As a result, you wind up with players like Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur “breaking out” with new teams after “down seasons” in Toronto.
Nazem Kadri hasn’t really struggled this season.
Here’s some prevailing wisdom:
— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) December 30, 2013
If you follow @Hope_Smoke on Twitter, who quotes the radio often, you’ll find one or two people speculating on why Nazem Kadri has failed to “improve” from last season’s high point total.
Look at Kadri’s points numbers and points rates. They’ve dropped a lot from last season to this year:
|Pts/82 GP||Pts/60 MIN||EV Pts/60 MIN|
Of course, those rates were based on a small half-season sample. There was a real danger of people overrating Nazem Kadri based on 48 games worth of good puck luck in the lockout-shortened season. I mentioned several times over the summer that his on-ice shot percentage was extremely high. James Mirtle noted it in the spring in the Globe & Mail. The prevailing wisdom was that Kadri wasn’t close to a point-a-game player, but a 55-60 points player.
There’s nothing wrong with 55-60 points. That makes you an above average centreman.
The real issue is this:
|On-Ice Goals||On-Ice Shots||On-Ice Sh%|
The Leafs are taking close to 31 shots on goal every 60 minutes Kadri is playing at 5-on-5. The Leafs are taking 22.7 shots when Kadri isn’t on the ice. Their 2.42 goals per 60 minutes with Kadri on the ice drops to 1.96 when Kadri is off.
That on-ice shooting percentage was expected to fall and it did. Rather than percentages making Kadri look like the superstar he isn’t, Kadri’s more reasonable percentages are showing that he’s still an above-average offensive catalyst.
Now, I’m not one to be telling the Leafs what they should and should not do (except here, here and here) but it seems to me that they may be shopping low on Kadri. Granted, who knows what they’re looking for in return, but it’s not like Toronto is in a position to be ditching centremen from the roster. I like what Peter Holland’s done, but he hasn’t shown he can drive play like Kadri can. We were wondering what people may blame Kadri’s loss of production on back in the summer, and it may be wise to start compiling a list of things.