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Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle smiles as he talks at team practice in Toronto on Tuesday October 7, 2014. The Leafs open their 2014-15 NHL season Wednesday at home against the Montreal Canadiens.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

They may be living in a strange new era, but the truth is much appears unchanged.

There are no Corsi charts on the walls of the dressing room, no Fenwick Close tables thrust in the faces of players.

Most of the Toronto Maple Leafs players don't know the terms and don't plan on learning, even if their team suddenly became the face of the NHL's analytics movement over the summer.

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All they know is the system they play is changing, and after a frustrating 23rd-place finish a year ago, they're on board with the adjustments.

Whatever they're called.

"I couldn't give you a definition of what it is," Leafs alternate captain Joffrey Lupul said of Corsi, one of hockey's basic new metrics that measures puck possession at even strength. "I don't know if anyone in the locker room could. They've hired people to look at that, but it's not like at the end of the game it's posted on the wall, the same as shots and ice time and things like that.

"It's a tool they're going to use to evaluate free agents or even our team over a long period of time, but I don't think it's something on a day-to-day basis that is going to be talked about in here. It hasn't been mentioned yet at training camp."

It's a different story on high. New school has met old school in the Leafs' front office, and there haven't been any fisticuffs, even if there were disagreements.

For the most part, everyone has gotten along in new president Brendan Shanahan's fledgling regime, with the four twentysomething analytics experts – including 28-year-old assistant general manager Kyle Dubas – introducing some youthful enthusiasm into the process of trying to fix what ails the Leafs.

What exactly they're doing is a closely guarded organizational secret, but you don't have to look further than the team's final cuts – and some of the new line combinations and defence pairings – to see a revised thought process at work.

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What the Leafs are attempting to drive home at practice and in the video room has also changed, even if they're not calling it analytics with the players.

"We've talked a lot about puck possession," Lupul explained. "That's the one thing we're going to try and change. Not to turn over pucks. And there's been a change in [that] we're going to try and hold onto the puck in our end as well.

"Obviously you want to do that in the opposition's end. But in our end, it's not that old mentality of the defenceman gets it, and it's just get it out of your end. Off the glass and out of the zone. We're going to try and possess the puck in our own zone and exit as a unit and go with speed."

Speed is one asset the Leafs will have plenty of, but there are others, too. Few question whether or not this team can get capable goaltending, for example, from Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer, and that covers a lot of sins.

The Leafs' power play should be formidable as well, given that Phil Kessel has helped make it a top-10 unit over the past three seasons (and three goals shy of top five) at 5-on-4.

Those positive traits are a large part of why possession and analytics were talked about endlessly in Toronto last season. With a better possession game at even strength, it was highly plausible the Leafs would have been a playoff team instead of plunging into the depths of the Eastern Conference late in the year.

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That knowledge appears to have spread throughout the organization, with coach Randy Carlyle even buying in, in his own way.

Whether or not it will work given a roster with plenty of question marks remains to be seen – opening night against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday will be the first real glimpse of Toronto's attempt to make Moneypuck work.

Lupul believes the new outlook will help. Watching the 2014 playoffs, he noticed the teams having success were doing so by managing the puck better than the Leafs did, a shift in the NHL that has come about in the past few seasons.

"Their defencemen weren't throwing the puck away at any time," Lupul said. "It was hang onto the puck, forwards would come low, and they would kind of come as a unit. I think that's a change our team's trying to make."

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