As the Toronto Maple Leafs begin the 2021-22 regular season, 25% of their roster are new faces trying to build chemistry with a core still full of questions after another first game. .
Zach Hyman gone. Frederik Andersen gone. Heck, even the underrated Zach Bogosian has returned to Tampa Bay Lightning. As for the people Maple Leaf brings, names like Nick Ritchie, Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kaše and Petr Mrazek top the list.
But one name did not exactly make headlines when he signed with the Maple Leafs on July 28. An intensive signing for the team, the Maple Leafs locked David Kämpf on a two-year contract, has an average annual value (AAV) of $1.5 million.
Chomutov, Czech Republic native began his fourth season with the Chicago Blackhawks when the Maple Leafs signed him, and he has been an integral part of the Maple Leafs roster to date. Start of the year – a poor team- player role radar.
Maple Leafs ‘Kämpf a Defensive Workhorse
While Bunting and Kaše were brought in to provide depth in attack, Kämpf filled a position the Maple Leafs needed when it came to penalties and when it was time to play their way.
It is easy to see that Kämpf is not known for providing highlight games. During his four years with the Blackhawks, he scored 17 goals and 59 points in 235 regular-season games with an average of 0.25 points per game.
Now, while he’s well above that average to start his tenure with the Maple Leafs with nine points in his first 30 games, that’s not what fans should be focusing on. Instead, they need to look at what he’s added to the defense and how he’s given the Maple Leafs’ third line a real identity – something that’s been missing over the past several seasons.
He may not be the leader in either category, but Kämpf has sacrificed his body multiple times this season with 10 interceptions and 32 hits – sixth on the Maple Leafs in the division. second item.
But what might make him even more appealing is his accountability. During the season, he won more than 57% of the face-offs made. If in previous years the Maple Leafs had sent John Tavares or Auston Matthews to the field against the defensive area, this season they have another option in Kämpf.
Kämpf is first on Maple Leafs in defense starting with 144 – closest is Jake Muzzin with 126. He has made 262 encounters in the defensive area, ranking first in the team and they account for nearly 62% of his total face-offs this season. Assuming he wins them by 57% – his season win rate – then he is a reliable pick for the Toronto coaching staff. And because of that, he has earned more playing time with the Maple Leafs.
Kämpf Strengthens Maple Leafs ‘Penalty Kill
As for the Maple Leafs’ penalty killing ability, it’s been improved over last season. In their 56-game short year, the team was one of the worst performers of the year, in 23rd place with the Montreal Canadaiens with a kill success rate of 78.5%.
This season, with their improved kill line-up, the Maple Leafs’ PK is clicking at 82.1 percent – good enough to place 10th in the league through their first 30 games. And Kämpf has been a big part of that success thus far.
He’s played the second most minutes on penalties this season (71:31), behind only Muzzin’s 78:33 and has scored just three goals in the game this season. On top of that, his head-to-head success has shifted to PK – having won 44 of his 84 draws in PK by a margin of just over 52%.
And it’s remarkable because no other player has even come close to achieving as many draws as he has this season in PK when it comes to Maple Leafs. The next player on that list is Jason Spezza with eight wins and 21 face-to-face totals – while Kämpf’s 44 wins are good enough to place fourth in the league this season when it comes to PK.
Kämpf Provides Maple Leafs Third Line Identities
But perhaps the most underrated part of this season’s Kämpf addition is his ability to add character and identity to the team’s final six. It’s something the Maple Leafs have missed out on for a long time, but seem to have found a player willing to sacrifice everything to win the game – and do so while keeping his role with team.
Placed in a pivotal role in the team’s third line, Kämpf has found a synergy with nearly every player he has placed with him this season and has found a way to become an above-average third line. at the NHL level.
He played almost 225 minutes with Ondrej Kaše and almost 195 minutes with Pierre Engvall, but he also spent time with Nick Ritchie (75:01), Alexander Kerfoot (64:22) and Wayne Simmonds (53:22). and still looking for ways to make the line effective in the role they are playing for the Maple Leafs.
Along with Engvall and Kaše, he has a Corsi Percentage (CF%) of 52.65 and 51.42 respectively. And while Kaše was move up and down formation With injuries and the like, Kämpf has consistently helped the Maple Leafs stay in the bottom seven in terms of goals allowed – just dropping out of 75 to 30 games.
For the first time in a long time, the Maple Leafs have a reliable third line and it all starts with Kämpf. Shutdown or deep forward – call him what you will – he is making an impact on the squad and because of it he could prove to be the most important acquisition of the season their.
Andrew is doing the 8th year report for The Hockey Writers on the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began broadcasting with the CBC Canada Hockey team as part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He is the former voice of the Knights of London Jr. for Rogers TV and currently hosts Sticks on the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.
https://thehockeywriters.com/maple-leafs-david-kampf-offseason-acquisition/ Maple Leafs Kämpf Looks Like The Most Important Diplomatic Acquisition