The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to one of their best starts in franchise history and with a win over Sidney Crosby’s Penguins last night they improved to 8-4 and sit in first place in the Eastern Conference. Despite their success this season there are several areas of concern for the young Leafs’ squad with perhaps the most troubling being their inability to win faceoffs.
The Leafs have a faceoff winning percentage of 44.5% thus far which places them in a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for 28th in the league. Only the Calgary Flames have a worse FO% at 43.9%.
Toronto’s centers are doing far worse off the draw than last season. Of their four everyday centers, only Nazem Kadri has improved over his 2012-13 FO%. Kadri leads the way at an improvement of 1.8% (46.0% this season vs. 44.2% in 2012-13). Jay McClement is next “best” with a -2.2% swing (49.4% vs. 51.6% last year), then Dave Bolland at -3.4% (42.7% vs. 46.1%) and Toronto’s #1 center Tyler Bozak has seen the steepest decline in success at -6.4% (46.2% vs. 52.6%).
The Leafs continue to be amoung the worst in the league in terms of puck possession and that should come as no surprise considering they lose so many faceoffs. Toronto will need to address their disappointing FO% if they want to maintain their standing as one of the best in the league.
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