Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is widely considered one of the best coaches in the entire National Hockey League. With a boost from the draft, he's helped Toronto turn things around much quicker than expected, turning the Leafs into a playoff team once more.
The way things are going, they don't look to be a team that misses the playoffs anytime soon.
Yet - he has one serious deficiency, and as Editor in Leaf writer James Tanner puts it, it's his addiction to Roman Polak.
When it was announced that Travis Dermott was to start in his first ever game in the NHL, the elation from fans was subdued by the fact that it was Andreas Borgman losing his spot instead of Polak.
Babcock sees Polak as this reliable shutdown defenseman that deserves a spot over kids such as Dermott and Connor Carrick. Yet, his numbers are rather awful. The most damning stat that proves how ineffective Polak can be, is the sheer number of shots the team allows when he's on the ice, measured per 60 minutes of ice time. He's 2nd worst in the entire NHL in that respect. There's a reason the Leafs are up there (or down there) when it comes to total shots allowed in the league.
When he's on the ice, 62% of high-danger scoring chances are against the Leafs, meaning, the opposition gets significantly more scoring chances in dangerous areas of the ice than Toronto does while Polak is playing.
Several other possession metrics further compound the argument that he's actually not good defensively, yet Babcock trusts him night in and night out.
In this writer's opinion, this is Babcock's biggest failing as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
What's your opinion on this?