Toronto Maple Leafs: It’s Time to Release Ron Hainsey
Toronto Maple Leafs Offense Is Out of This World
The Toronto Maple Leafs are fun to watch.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can score at will, but it’s not a long-term recipe for success. Their defense has to get better. They allow too many shots, and they desperately need to get rid of some of some of their bad players and promote others.
The first four games of the season have been excellent to watch, but the clearly there are issues which need to be addressed if the Leafs are to be any kind of threat to win the Stanley Cup.
As cliche as it is, defense wins championships.
Scoring goals is just too random to rely on completely; you have to also prevent them from going in, something the Leafs aren’t too good at.
As high powered as their offense has been, it’s also buoyed by a completely unsustainable 50% scoring rate on the power-play.
At even strength, the Leafs are even in goals for. While they are 51% in shot attempts, they have gotten under 50% of the total shots. This is playing with fire.
Matthews and Tavares will not score 80 goals each. Marner won’t score 165 points. Therefore, they’ve got to get some scoring from other players and they’ve got to get some goaltending and some defense, or they will lose a lot of games.
But the main thing is: They’ve got to get rid of Ron Hainsey.
The stats this early in the season are all over the place, but looking at them nearly blew my mind. Ron Hainsey has put up decent stats. A 55% CF, a + four goal differential and he even has chipped in a few points.
He has, however, played almost all of his minutes with Morgan Rielly who is one of the best defenseman in the NHL, and over two-thirds of his ice-time has been with either Tavares and Matthews.
Are the stats looking good because he’s always with good players?
Are the stats just skewed because it’s only four games into the season?
Is it because he and Rielly have, by at least ten, more zone starts on the team than anyone else in the offensive zone?
It’s all of the above. In a four game sample size, these things are going to have large effects on the data, whereas they will not have that much of an effect once the sample size is larger. I highly doubt that Ron Hainsey, based on the eye-test so far, can maintain his very good statistical performance.
Because when you watch Ron Hainsey, you want to pull your hair out. He’s just too slow. He looks awful. He gets beat in every one on one battle and opposing teams seem to target his side of the ice.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a very good team. So let’s imagine what they’d look like if they had a top pairing right-side defender. Or even a single top four right side defender.
It’s unfair to Morgan Rielly to give him such a bad partner, and it’s absolutely insane on the part of Mike Babcock to run Hainsey out against top competition as a top-four defenseman.
Of course, he doesn’t have much choice. Zaitsev is similarly awful, and neither Ozhiganov nor Marincin is a fit for top four minutes. (Although I’d argue Marincin would do better than Hainsey if given the chance).
You can’t call up a Marlie and give him top pairing minutes as a rookie, and it seems Justin Holl can’t even break into the lineup so that seems like a big ask of him.
The only option is either a trade, or moving one of Gardiner, Dermott or Rielly to their off side.
Whatever, the fact remains: Ron Hainsey needs to play less, or, hopefully, not at all.