On Christmas Day via a tweet, Ron Wilson told Leafs Nation that he did in fact sign an extension with the Leafs. Details of the extension are not known at this time, but I hazard to believe he signed at least a two-year extension with the club.
Two days after the Leafs received five of a possible six points, the Leafs sit in sixth spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference, with only about four months of play left in the season.
This has been the highest the Leafs have ever been in the standings under Wilson, and to be honest, its the best team Wilson has had to work with.
By all accounts, the Leafs have one of the top scoring lines in all of hockey with Tyler Bozak flanked by Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. A second line that features rookie phenom-to-be Nazem Kadri and Clarke MacArthur playing next to free agent center Tim Connolly.
The Leafs currently sit in the top 10 in scoring this season, however, they still remain one of the worst goals against teams in the NHL as well, hence the sixth place position in the standings.
The Leafs have received some inconsistent goaltending this year thanks to a blindside inadvertent elbow from Habs forward Brian Gionta, and a rash of injuries to some of their veteran players including Colby Armstrong, Tim Connolly, Clarke MacArthur, Mike Komisarek, Matthew Lombardi and Mike Brown at some point this season.
Needless to say, coaching this team with the injuries and the nightly line-up juggling does seem like a chore, but the good part is the Leafs are one of the deepest teams in the NHL, so they can afford to call-up and send down players without losing a beat.
Despite the constant line-up juggling, one thing has remained constant throughout Wilson's tenure with the Leafs. Penalty killing. The Leafs are the worst penalty killing team in the entire league with only a 73.5 percent kill rate.
Not only that, but they also allow the most power play goals in the NHL at 36.
A little more stats, nearly one-third (32 percent) of the Leafs goals against come on the penalty kill. It has single-handedly ruined this teams chance of winning the Northeast Division, and currently could eliminate them from the playoffs altogether.
I've argued in many articles that it doesn't matter about the players you have, penalty killing is all about systems and effort. Plain and simple. You need to sacrifice your body to be a good penalty killer, and to be a good team at penalty killing, everyone needs to follow a system.
The New Jersey Devils have allowed a league best nine power-play goals against.
The Devils don't score as must as the Leafs, but because their defence is so solid, they have rocketed up the standings and remain one point back of the Leafs with one game in hand.
Unlike most years, this season under Wilson the Leafs started out quick and remained winning consistently until Christmas. This is a far cry from the Leafs hot starts, terrible November's and even worse December's. This often leads to a Leafs valiant second half comeback after the trade deadline.
This season appears to be different though, and because of that Wilson has received an extension from GM Brian Burke.
My question is, does he deserve the extension?
Why or Why not?
Feel free to post your thoughts below.
Thanks for Reading.