Leafs Adapting Coach Mike Babcock’s 40-second Shift Mentality

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(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Toronto Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock is no stranger to the 40-second shift, a system he employed during his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings.

According to a fascinatingly in-depth report from TSN’s Travis Yost, Babcock’s philosophy is impacting Toronto and the numbers don’t lie.

Yost pointed to the difficult task that laid ahead for Babcock, who was taking over for Randy Carlyle and his excessive shift times on to his star players.

Yost also demonstrated the average shift length per season for the Leafs, over the past three seasons:

As the infographic clearly shows, most players are in the high 30s or low 40s and Babcock has continuously worked to bring that down.

Babcock’s impact cannot be ignored and this infogaphic shows that Toronto had the second-lowest shift length in the NHL last season, slightly ahead of the league leading St. Louis Blues.

Babcock believes that players on quick, short shifts can play a more effective two-way game over longer periods of time during a given game but the coach must find a balance to ensure the success of this implementation.

The balance between playing his best players too much and resisting the call to play them on extended shifts will be key.

But Babcock’s impact is certainly measurable and for that, the coach deserves kudos for a job well done.

And so does Yost for his incredible analysis.