Nonis dismisses notion Leafs were anti-analytics


Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis doesn’t like the fact his organization was portrayed as anti-analytics (i.e. a bunch of Luddites) before this summer’s hiring of the statistically inclined Kyle Dubas for a role in the front office.

Nonis was a guest on TSN 1050 radio today (audio) in Toronto, where he gave his thoughts on the matter.

“There’s this notion that we had this aversion to analytics, which isn’t true,” said Nonis. “We’ve used them. We’ve had them. But Kyle really was the first person — out of dozens who have come through this office and tried to explain how we could effectively use them — he was the first person that was able to show us, and tell us how this could be developed.

“And is it where it needs to be? I would say no. Are we going to push as hard as we can to develop it? Yes, and I think he’s a pretty bright young guy that is going to have to spend a lot of time with Brendan [Shanahan] and myself and the coaching staff and help us understand what the reports are generating.”

The Leafs have already added a couple of interesting players, statistically speaking, this summer in forwards David Booth and Daniel Winnik. Did Dubas have a hand in those signings? It’s certainly possible, though that’s never been confirmed.

What will also be interesting going forward is if Dubas has any impact on the coaching philosophy of Randy Carlyle. Will certain players get more or less ice time? Will there be more of an emphasis on holding on to the puck, as opposed to dumping it in or shooting it out?

Remember, of all the coaches in the NHL, Carlyle may be on the hottest seat. A slow start and it’s possible the job passes to one of his new assistants.

Related: Burke on advanced stats: “I don’t feel they add any value at all”