Getting to the slot a second faster doesn’t matter if the next step, be it a pass or a shot, takes an extra two seconds to make, and that’s where he has continued to struggle over the years. For years, fans and mainstream media types have made it known that Toronto’s biggest perceived weakness is on the blueline, particularly on the right side. Working on a new front page for the site and unsure how short status posts will play with the social-sharing engine. A seven-game series already leaves minimal room for failure – in a Best of 5, there’s next to none.
In terms of results on a rate basis, Pietrangelo drops to 16th and 18th in those “one number” metrics. This gives him the advantage coming away from the faceoff. https://twitter.com/walsha/status/1307480088800182272. I don’t like the idea of using that as an excuse for the loss, but the close score and the fact that neither team is prone to the egregious meant a game where just three penalties were called – by far the lowest of any of the games in the first two days (the average game had about 10). An archive of center ice designs for the NHL, AHL, CHL, and ECHL. His production over the last two years tracks well with Canucks prospect Nils Hoglander, who I believe to be the better of the two, but is an example of the range we’re talking about here. Toronto gives up a little in Jesper Lindgren, who put up 9 points in 31 games with the Marlies this season and looked solid when paired with Teemu Kivihalme. Okay, it wasn’t quite *that* bad, but last night’s playoff opener was about as unwanted of an outcome as the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to get for themselves. While Kapanen’s body meshes well with that – few can lay claim to a faster straight-line step – his struggles with remaining in-sync with his teammates has repeatedly slowed down or broken apart their efforts.
They’ll instead get the 2021 first-rounder, while Toronto gets this years, which ranks 15th overall. Last you have Warsofsky, who essentially replaces Lindgren on the Marlies blue line. Face-offs begin any new period. The above group of sixteen players, Pietrangelo included, are a handful of most discussed and most deployed defencemen of our generation – a group that has defined an era in the mainstream, so to speak.
So who is right? A face-off is a way of putting a puck into play. As Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar reminded us this year, another revolution in the trust teams give their defencemen is coming – not unlike the wave that Pietrangelo rode at the start of the last decade, led by Karlsson and other contemporaries. While Marner’s slap pass to the wall with two minutes left probably takes the cake for “most absurd play” of the game, Kapanen’s button hook and fanned shot on a breakaway was a strong second seed – and something he’s not new to doing. Developed in the Timra IK academy and pro systems, Hallander’s Swedish rights were moved to Lulea HF last season. Penalties were non-existent in this game. I’d like to see Pierre Engvall draw in for Game 2; preferably it’s Frederik Gauthier that draws out to facilitate that, but if this and the warmup game are any indication, I’m not sure Toronto misses out on much if Kyle Clifford were to be taken out. Toronto likes to keep a few veterans on their AHL roster to keep an eye on the kids while helping them win hockey games at the same time, and in this regard, Warsofsky should be of good use.
At the same time, offence likely lasts a little longer than their actual ability due to seniority earning them time with top teammates, and time on the powerplay. When a hockey linesman prepares to start the play, he skates to the faceoff circle with the puck in hand and blows his whistle. The most obvious thing to note about this game: Both goalies were incredible for 59:59 of this game.
In most cases, the player tries to pull the puck backwards to a waiting teammate. As much as we like to believe in the idea that offence and defence are equal, they aren’t; in a game where you win by goal differential, offence has a much easier time doubling as defence, than defence has doubling as offence. That, combined with his $3.2 million cap hit over the next three years, made him an expendable piece for the team this offseason. Alex Pietrangelo is a fantastic player, and in a cap-free world, I would be fully, sincerely on board with adding him. Once an official skates to one of the nine faceoff circles and is prepared to drop the puck, the players only have five seconds to position themselves for the faceoff. If a player is not in position because he is giving instructions to his teammates or for any other reason, the official drops the puck anyway.
But it’s a little more complicated than that, and in my opinion, pursuing the 30-year-old would be an unwise decision for the organization. Incoming in terms of depth are Evan Rodrigues and David Warsofsky. That’s a point of concern to me; the team will need to reach into it’s bag of tricks and try some new material, even if it requires more of a march to the net than a sprint.
That last point is an important one too, though the unpacking of it may be a story for another piece. The face-off spots shall be placed twenty-two feet (22') from the imaginary line, and five feet (5') from the neutral zone side of the blue lines.
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