Saturday, July 25, 2009

Life without Kabby?

There's been a lot of scuttlebutt about Kaberle and the moving of. We've gone from "definitely trading him to Boston" to Burke saying "hey now, this is Tomas friggin Kaberle. I'm not just gonna go trade him for some money-grubbing one season wonder over here." And good for him. But the fact remains that we have a logjam on D and Kabby remains our most tradable asset, so we might as well talk about it.

The main concern with Leafs fans and enemies alike is the state of Toronto's offense without their smooth skating cross-ice passer. After all, who wants to watch the Maple Leafs re-enact the Ottawa Senators 08-09 season?

But quite honestly, we're talking about a 31 point player who played 57 games last year. Is Kabby really the lynchpin of our offense?

So I figured, why not just take a look at how we did without the guy?

With Kaberle in the Leafs roster:

Record: 22-26-9 (0.464 win %)
Average GF/game: 2.96

Without Kaberle in the Leafs roster:

Record: 12-9-4 (0.520 win %)
Average GF/game: 3.24

So um, yeah. Huh. Without Kabby in the roster the Leafs managed to put up a better winning percentage and more goals per game. Not even I was expecting that one.

It's also worth noting that Kaberle missed most of the month of March, which was also when the team was missing Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov due to trades. As such, this month may give us a look into how the team might play out next year:

March w/o Kabby:
Record: 6-6-0
Average GF/game: 3.08
PP%: 21.9
PK%: 77.5

Defensemen (games played):
Finger: 12
Frogren: 3
Kubina: 12
Oreskovic: 9
Schenn: 12
Stralman: 9
Van Ryn: 2
White: 12

Note that our powerplay % in the March games Kabby missed was actually better than our average for the whole season, as was (sadly) our PK.


So, some things worth taking a huge grain of salt for:
The Leafs definitely got an added boost from Gerber and the defensive play of guys like Devereaux and Ondrus. Also, we're talking about a tiny sample size here, about a third of a season when the Leafs happened to get pretty hot. And there's no real way to factor Kubina out of the time Kabby had off.

But Scott, what does it all mean?

Nothing definitive, that's for sure.

Even so, the numbers are implying what I was thinking all this time, that while Kaberle's a good player the Leafs never really seemed to miss him as much as some would like to think. The Leafs got hot around last third of the season, but it seems suspicious that they managed to do so without two of the most highly thought of players on their roster, Kaberle and Antropov.

Is Kaberle a quality player? Most assuredly yes. Can we live without him, assuming we can nab an acceptable return back? I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say yes. It would certainly help if either Van Ryn or Beauchemin can re-discover the ability to put up 30 or so points, or if Stralman comes back with a good showing, though.

Now, if Kabby were to remain with us, well then. Wouldn't that be an interesting D corps...


Pal Hal Pall said...

I hope Burke is just posturing about how valuable Kaberle is to the Leafs. I say send him packing, absolutely no point in keeping him.

Scott Baker said...

Well, the point would be to keep the team competitive and not degrade the leadership in the room or work guys beyond the minutes they should be playing.

Burke's also set a price that he expects fulfilled, and it's hard not to respect that. There's no reason to go all Bryan McCabe on Kabby.

I'm not arguing that we must trade him, it's just that hockey pundits everywhere are talking about how awful the Leafs would be without Kabby.

I happen to think we'd be alright, and I think it's funny that there was a prevailing logic that the Leafs were a team comprised of complementary players with no star power, and now that we're trading people they're all of a sudden our only scoring stars and the lynch pin of the team.

eyebleaf said...

"absolutely no point in keeping [Kaberle]."

I want what you're smoking, Pal Hal Pall. Holla at ya boy.