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Analyzing the Maple Leafs’ turnover rates and what it means for the team

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If you’ve ever found yourself watching the Toronto Maple Leafs play while thinking “Gahd, they turn the puck over a lot,” it’s because they do. After one month of NHL action, they’re 31st in the NHL in turnovers as tracked by SportLogic. More on that in a sec.

“Turnover” is tougher to define than you’d think. For example, is a chip out of the D-zone to relieve pressure a turnover, even if it’s the smart play? Is a dump-in that gets quickly broken out a turnover? It’s all unfortunately subjective, as the NHL shows with their own tracking of the stat, which appears to hinge on the opinion of a single person at each arena on any given night.

Because of that, SportLogiq uses the clear explanation of “a change of possession,” which also gives us a much larger sample size, which helps us hone in on the answers we’re seeking. Further to the Leafs showing up at 31st in this stat (ahead of only the Winnipeg Jets, and just behind Vegas), the Leafs are 32nd out of 32 teams in the NHL in offensive zone turnovers.

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So those turnovers you’re seeing, they’re very real.

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But they’re the ultimate “confirmation bias” team because if you love how the Leafs play, good news. This is strongly related to them having the puck all the time, as they sit third in possession time per game, meaning that even though you see lots of turnovers, it’s mostly related to them having the puck a whole bunch.

By turnover rate (as measured up against possession time), they’re actually eighth-best at taking care of the puck, turning it over just 15.5 per cent of the time. Their 21 per cent rate in the O-zone is 10th-best in the league, which brings me to my favourite Leafs turnover stat of all: in the neutral zone they’re FIRST in the NHL in turnover rate, handing it to the opposition just 6.4 per cent of the time, which is what directly leads to their huge O-zone possession totals. Only two teams in the NHL spend more time in the O-zone with the puck than the Leafs because of their great play through the middle.

I can’t think of anything that explains the Toronto Maple Leafs better than statistics that confirm both the people who see lots of turnovers, and the people who see a talented team that doesn’t seem to turn the puck over any more frequently than the next team.

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Here are those numbers:

You can’t really ask the Leafs to take care of the puck much better than they have this season despite the sheer volume of turnovers. They’re supposed to be a creative offensive group that makes plays, and with making plays comes the odd turnover.

A peek at the individual players reveals some of what you’d expect – the top names on the team have the most turnovers, but good turnover rates. But there are some surprises in there too. Keep in mind when you look at the totals, the players who turn the puck over the most around the league are Connor McDavid, David Pastrnak, and Mark Scheifele … i.e., good players. Auston Matthews headlines the Leafs’ list on the “totals” front, as you’d expect.

Have you got a friend who thinks Willy Nylander turns it over too much? I know I’ve heard that a few times, which is … flat-out wrong. He’s got the best “turnover rate” among all Leafs forwards. If you see a player who turns it over a lot, you may be subconsciously looking for it.

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By rates, the forwards who turn it over the most are almost exclusively bottom-six players. Nick Ritchie is dead last, which won’t surprise anyone who’s been watching, followed by Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza (somewhat surprisingly), David Kampf and Ondrej Kase. Michael Bunting is the only top-six forward among the guys with high turnover rates at 20 per cent, and that might tell us something about where he’d be best suited on a team with better left wingers.

Here’s the list before I get into the D:

Now take a look at the D list, where the top red number will probably catch you off guard.

Jake Muzzin has the worst turnover rate among Leafs defenders. He plays against the toughest competition of any of the D on the team, so that’s no small consideration here. But it doesn’t square with his reputation for being so sound. I think it’s fair to say his year hasn’t been up to his expectations. (Copy and paste those sentiments for Justin Holl as well.)

What is notable to me is that the guy they just gave the big deal to, the guy who plays the most on the team, has got the best turnover rate. Somewhat surprisingly, Morgan Rielly leads the Leafs in total possession time – just ahead of Matthews – and yet he turns the puck over a bit more than a tenth of the time. Rielly is a major “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” player for Leafs fans, though internally they seemed to recognize how important it was to keep him around.

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The Leafs may turn it over a lot, but they’ve also got it a lot. It’s a stylistic thing, and one I wouldn’t expect to change much barring significant roster changes.



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World Cup's 101 Most Memorable Moments: Croatia's Cinderella story

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Luka Modrić led Croatia to a storybook run at the 2018 World Cup. This is moment No. 48.



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3 NFL Teams Likely Headed Towards A Losing Season

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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

 

As week four of the NFL season comes to a close, several NFL teams are doing poorly this season.

While some of those teams can rebound, others might have no hope for a better season.

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However, there are three teams who are clearly heading towards a losing season in 2022.

So who are those teams, and why will they have a losing record in 2022?

 

3. New England Patriots

While head coach Bill Belichick might hate to admit it, the New England Patriots miss Tom Brady.

The team is off to their second consecutive 1-3 start to a season, which doesn’t bode well for Belichick.

However, the Patriots won’t rebound this season like they did in 2021.

While Brady helped them rebound in 2001, and Mac Jones in 2021, they have neither QB currently.

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Brady is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while Jones is out with an ankle injury.

But his injury, and timetable for return, is still unknown.

With him out, and now with the team’s backup QB out, the Patriots are in danger of starting 1-4.

Unless Jones can return, and give Belichick a miracle season, the Patriots might have their first losing season in over 20 years.

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2. Detroit Lions

Lions’ fans had so much hope for the 2022 season.

However, the team continues to disappoint, which is nothing new for the franchise.

The team started the season with an attempted late quarter comeback against the Philadelphia Eagles.

But their attempt to defeat the Eagles fell short.

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In week four, the Lions allowed 48 points to the Seattle Seahawks, a team who’s seen as one in a rebuilding season.

The worst part about the loss was how the Seahawks had zero punts in that game, with their drives resulting in five touchdowns.

While the Seahawks were posting records, the Lions defense was a wreck.

Rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, who some see as the savior of the Lions defense, has been a disappointment.

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Outside his one good game against the Washington Commanders, he has 6 tackles and zero sacks in his three other games, with four of the tackles being assisted.

While injuries are plaguing the team, they have no answers to improve their 2022 season.

 

1. Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are the only NFL team remaining that’s yet to win a game.

However, with them trading Deshaun Watson, and not getting a QB to replace him, it’s not odd to see them as a winless team.

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While the team has some good things going for them, they won’t have a winning season.

They are too far gone, despite their solid pass defense that held Russell Wilson to only 14 completions.

But even with a solid pass defense, they struggle because of their poor run defense.

If they could fix that, it gives the Texans hope they can win games.

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However, it won’t be until next season that they will probably improve that run stop game.

That means this season will be another lost season for the Texans.

With the way they are going, they are leading the pack for the worst record in 2022.

The post 3 NFL Teams Likely Headed Towards A Losing Season appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Albert Pujols hits his 703rd career home run, passing Babe Ruth for second-most career RBIs in MLB history

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols hits his 703rd career home run, passing Babe Ruth for second-most career RBIs in MLB history.



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