Maple Leafs Hot Topics: Dermott Heating Up & Marner’s Confusing Corsi

This article will cover a variety of topics, primarily related to the Toronto Maple Leafs but with a few from around the league as well. Today, the topics are Mitch Marner’s confusing Corsi rating from his performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Travis Dermott heating up in the AHL, Max Pacioretty trade rumours, and what we’re missing with NHLers not in the Olympics.

Marner and the Baffling Corsi Rating

For the casual fan, Corsi is a metric that judges a player based on how many shots his team has while he’s on the ice relative to how many shots against. It’s used to determine whether he is a positive possession player and anything over a 50% Corsi-For is considered good. Some people like it as it’s noticeably better than plus-minus in determining whether a player is actually good or not, but some fans and management still prefer the old school method of just watching a player and passing judgment.

The second piece of background info you should know if you missed the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning game on Tuesday, Jan. 2, is that Mitch Marner was FLYING! Here’s an example of some of his handiwork:

That’s Victor Hedman he made look foolish on that play, and that was only one of a number of rushes Marner led showing ridiculous skill, speed, and vision. He almost scored and set up a number of goals but was thwarted by the equally ridiculous play of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Babcock even started double shifting him at one point because he was playing so well. So while he didn’t have any goals or assists, certainly Marner’s possession metric would be extremely positive right? (looks and sees that he only had a 42% Corsi-For) Whaaaaaaaaaaaattttt??!?!?!?

I’m sure those that push analytics would say that Corsi is a better metric at evaluating players in the long run as opposed to a single game (and I am an analytics backer, usually), but we need to score this one for the old school judges because Marner was unreal on Tuesday night and that Corsi score doesn’t do it justice

Travis Dermott Heating Up in the AHL

Travis Dermott has 13 points in his last 10 games for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, bringing his total to 17 points in 26 games.

Dermott was also just announced as an AHL All-Star – an impressive accomplishment for the 21-year-old, who was drafted by the Leafs with the fourth pick in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft. A call-up could be in order if he keeps playing this well.

Max Pacioretty Trade Rumours

There are plenty of trade rumours are surrounding Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty. Here’s a fun one from TSN suggesting he be traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The best part about this rumour is the overwhelmingly negative reaction to it from Oilers fans, which is hilarious since Pacioretty is clearly the better player.

Max Pacioretty vs. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Hero Chart

Maybe you could justify the trade for Montreal with the fact that Nugent-Hopkins is five years younger and a centre, but even then, you’d be losing value on this one.

It’s really hard to see the Habs trading Pacioretty and coming out ahead. Like Phil Kessel before him, he’s a terrific scoring winger that isn’t good enough to be THE GUY on a team but will make an excellent second or third scorer on a contender. Whoever gets him will probably end up winning the trade.

What’s Missing with No NHLers in the Olympics

Greg Wyshynski posted an article speculating what the 2018 Olympic rosters would have looked like had NHLers been allowed to play and it’s both fun and sad to think about what might have been. There are a few units in particular that I am extremely disappointed we won’t see:

Swedish Defence: Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, John Klingberg, Hampus Lindholm, Mattias Ekholm. WOW! That’s an insane set of defenceman that would have been particularly deadly at moving the puck on the large ice surface.

American Centres: Canada’s biggest advantage over other countries is its centres and 2018 would be no different. Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Tyler Seguin, Mark Scheifele, Ryan Getzlaf to name just a few of the Canadian centres available. No other country can come close to that but the US would be making an interesting attempt at it this year with the addition of Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel to the team.

Jack Eichel Auston Matthews
Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Matthews and Eichel would be flanked by the likes of Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Johnny Gaudreau to form a top-six forward unit that could potentially finally come close to matching their rivals north of the border.

Russian Wingers: Alex Ovechkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin. That’s one of the deadliest set of wingers we’ve seen at an Olympic games and if you throw in Evgeni Malkin you have one hell of a deadly five-forward power play unit.

Jonathan Marchessault Gets Paid

Lastly, I’m happy for both Jonathan Marchessault and the Vegas Golden Knights following the announcement of six-year, $30 million contract extension. After being under-appreciated for a few years, it’s nice to see Marchessault get his due and find a home with the surprising Golden Knights, and for Vegas, they lock up one of their key pieces for the near future along with Reilly Smith.