Welcome to The Faceoff Circle, a hockey blog written by Jeff Veillette. The Faceoff Circle was primarily active between the years 2017 and 2022. At the present moment, the site is dormant from an editorial perspective, though occasionally used for Jeff to post personal updates. The best articles from the old version of the website can be accessed in the Classic Articles category below.

The Lead

Full Articles

  • For Toronto, is it a hurdle or a roadblock?
    The Toronto Maple Leafs are in one of their biggest slumps since the start of this 2021/22 season. Over the past two weeks, following a six-game win streak, the team has now lost five of it’s last seven, going 2-4-1 in that stretch. If that record sounds familiar to you, it’s the same record that the team started the season with, creating initial concerns about the team’s viability moving forward. Now, the blue and white did respond with the 28-6-2 run sandwiched between those streaks. They still rank seventh in the NHL in standings points and sixth in points percentage.… Read more: For Toronto, is it a hurdle or a roadblock?
  • Who are the NHL’s collapsers and ralliers?
    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ supposed problem with blowing big leads, as it had happened several times in the span of about ten days and caused major concern among the hockey world. It wasn’t, however, spoken of under the context of a team having a bad ten-day run, but as a marking point for a chronic flaw the team had. I understood the backstory behind the narrative – “It was 4-1” is famous, but almost everything about the team has changed since that game eight years ago. Their first-round loss to… Read more: Who are the NHL’s collapsers and ralliers?
  • The Lead-Collapse Fallacy
    The Toronto Maple Leafs had a rough night last night. Let’s not take away from that – yes, they won on the Expected Goals, and the Deserve-to-Win-o-meter, but even as an analytics-inclined person, I can tell you that those are just a couple pathways to weighting your coin, not the only ones. Toronto got outbattled on several key plays, Jack Campbell wasn’t his start-of-season self, and the New York Rangers chipped away at a 3-1 deficit until they were the ones who were in the drivers seat. In a sense, it happens, especially with a team like this. Home ice,… Read more: The Lead-Collapse Fallacy
  • Kent Hughes hiring a sensible one for Montreal
    I’m going to defer the more serious deep dive on this to people more plugged into the Habs beat, but I did want to get a few words in on it. On Tuesday morning, the Montreal Canadiens announced Kent Hughes as their 18th general manager in franchise history. Hughes’ name had been in the mix since the team fired Marc Bergevin in late November, occasionally disappearing and reappearing as he debated whether this was a career transition he even wanted to make. While a veteran of the operations side of hockey, the 51-year-old wasn’t on the normal GM trajectory, instead… Read more: Kent Hughes hiring a sensible one for Montreal
  • Leafs do risky, but mostly-tidy work with Rielly extension
    Out of nowhere, the Toronto Maple Leafs are making big news this afternoon. The team announced on Friday that they’ve signed their longest-tenured player, defenceman Morgan Rielly, to an eight-year contract extension that will pay him an Annual Average Value of $7.5 million per season. TSN & The Athletic insider Pierre Lebrun has passed along the contract details, which break down as follows: 2022/23: $4 million salary, $4 million signing bonus, NMC 2023/24: $5 million salary, $5 million signing bonus, NMC 2024/25: $10 million salary, NMC 2025/26: $8 million salary, NMC 2026/27: $6 million salary, NMC 2027/28: $6 million salary,… Read more: Leafs do risky, but mostly-tidy work with Rielly extension