The power play was a positive among many negatives last year for the Toronto Maple Leafs finishing 10th in the league at 18.53 percent.
This season, they sit in 21st overall at 15.32 percent with some troubling signs in their approach. The Leafs have been using Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel as their primary trigger men and both are firing blanks thus far. Phaneuf can't seem to hit the net and Kessel is too predictable on the half boards. The Leafs may want to consider more movement in their approach.
The young blue liner was the brightest star last season and dominated the AHL this year before suffering a concussion four games in to the Marlies' season. He has not been able to regain his form thus far and has been sent down to the Toronto Marlies a couple times already as a clear sign from his coach.
I fully expect him to bounce back to the top of his game very soon, but his stock has dipped a bit nonetheless.
Kessel has faced constant scrutiny of his all-around game since he arrived in Toronto with his goal scoring prowess as his only saving grace. Kessel scores and scores regularly is always the mantra to keep the critics straight. He has been a solid performer this season, but after seven games, he has yet to score a goal.
His slump to start is made more troubling by a shortened season, where prolonged streaks can make or break you more than ever. Kessel gets paid to score and as each goalless game goes by, his stock falls and his frustration grows. If the Leafs lose more than they win, his stock will take the brunt of the hit.
Like Kessel, Phaneuf has not been horrible this season, but more is needed out of him. He garners the most minutes on the Leafs' blue line and has struggled at times with a minus-six after seven games. Phaneuf is also one of the triggers on the power play and he sits with no goals and one assist so far.
He can bomb the puck from the point, but he misses the net far too often and has already injured a teammate with a rising errand shot. He has yet to deliver one of his bone crushing hits either to put the fear in to opposing forwards. His coach has taken some of the blame for playing Dion too much, but he simply needs to be better if he is going to be a leader on the ice, and his stock continues to creep down.
In three starts this season, Scrivens has only had 10 bad minutes in the net so his stock has not taken a large hit. He was pulled in his last appearance after a couple of shaky goals and has not seen the net since. Randy Carlyle gave him the ball out of the gate and his stock has dipped simply because he lost his chance so quickly.
Brown has always been valued for his straight ahead, fearless and physical game, and he brings the energy every time he gets out the bench door. It is beginning to become apparent though, that Brown is injury prone and can't stay in the line up on a consistent basis. It may be that he is just too small for his style of game and his stock is dipping because of it.