Commentary

Plugging the Holes: Northeast Division

Even the Stanley Cup champion Bruins could use some help

Originally Published: June 17, 2011
By Tom Awad | Hockey Prospectus
Tim ThomasElsa/Getty ImagesTim Thomas was forced to make far too many saves this postseason because of Boston's defense.

With the Stanley Cup heading back to Boston, it's time for every NHL team to evaluate its roster and see how it can retool for next season. The analysts of Hockey Prospectus provide some help, identifying the biggest shortcoming on every NHL roster using their GVT valuation metric (explained here) and offering a unique suggestion on how to fix it for 2011-12. The series continues Friday with fixes for the five teams in the Northeast Division.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The hole: a playmaker

Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke's rebuild of his team is continuing on schedule. The Leafs have successfully managed to get much younger over the past two years, and one of their recent weaknesses -- goaltending -- has been addressed for now with the signing of James Reimer. Scoring depth, however, remains an issue. Toronto finished 23rd in the league in goals scored and will need to improve in that area to move up the standings. In Phil Kessel, Clarke MacArthur, Nikolai Kulemin and Joffrey Lupul, the Leafs have a decent set of wingers, but another playmaking center is required. Kessel spent most of his time with Tyler Bozak this past season, and the Leafs need a more dangerous weapon to get the most out of their top scorer, at least until Nazem Kadri is ready to center one of the top two lines.