Maple Leafs sign Travis Dermott to one-year contract extension

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Friday that they have signed restricted free agent defenceman Travis Dermott to a one-year contract extension worth $874,125. Dermott made his Leafs debut in the 2017-2018 season and has played in 157 regular season games over the last three seasons, registering nine goals and 31 assists.

$874,125. https://t.co/vGx2v2on0R
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 23, 2020

Dermott has put up very strong underlying defensive numbers through the early part of his career, and he will look to earn an opportunity to do that against tougher competition this coming season as he jostles for a lineup spot with the likes of Justin Holl, Mikko Lehtonen, Zach Bogosian, and Rasmus Sandin.
The salary for Dermott’s new contract is equivalent to what his qualifying offer was so this is a deal that will provide him with a chance to prove he is a valuable part of this team’s future. With Ilya Mikheyev and Dermott signing new contracts, the Leafs lone remaining restricted free agent is the newly acquired Joey Anderson.

Travis Dermott’s new contract (one year at $874,125) is equal to what his qualifying offer was. Good value for the Leafs. And a prove-it contract for Dermott, who …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Rapid COVID-19 testing could help bring the Blue Jays back to Toronto

Earlier this week, Mark Shapiro hosted a media availability and mentioned that he’s optimistic that the Blue Jays can play home games in Toronto come 2021.

It was sort of a puzzling statement given the fact there’s no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic and things down south are getting worse and worse by the day. The Canadian government opted to not allow the Blue Jays to play at home in 2020 because of issues with players crossing the Canada-U.S. border. Why would this be different come April?
But, on Thursday, news came out that the federal government is testing a pilot project for rapid COVID-19 testing in Alberta beginning in November.
Currently, travellers returning to Canada from outside the country are legally required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry. Beginning on Nov. 2 at the Coutts land border crossing and the Calgary International Airport, travellers will be offered a COVID-19 test upon arrival before proceeding into the required quarantine. If the test comes back negative, they will be able to leave their place of quarantine as long as they commit to getting a second test on Day 6 or 7 after arrival.
If the trial is successful, we would likely …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Charlie Montoyo is probably the Blue Jays’ best bet to win a major award this year

The Gold Glove finalists were released yesterday so it’s time to start thinking about Awards Season.

Lourdes Gurriel was the only Blue Jay nominated for a Gold Glove, which isn’t particularly surprising given the fact that the team wasn’t exactly, ya know, good on the defensive side of the game.
As I mentioned yesterday, Gurriel is a bit of a headscratcher for a Gold Glove but so are many, many other selections. Managers had to vote on the top fielders in their respective leagues even though they didn’t get to see two-thirds of the teams this season. As a result, a player like Gurriel who makes highlight-reel grabs and guns guys out at home will warrant attention.
Will Gurriel win the Gold Glove? Probably not. Kyle Tucker has the best defensive metrics of the three while Alex Gordon is the nice, easy, lazy choice because he’s already won seven times. I imagine a few managers just said fuck it and made Gordon their pick because of his history.
Anyways, are there any other Blue Jays who could take home a major award this season? For major awards, I’m talking Most Valuable Player, Rookie of …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

In what has been a difficult year for the world and the Toronto Raptors because of COVID-19, the troubles were exacerbated by racial inequality. It’s a subject that nearly derailed the restart of the NBA season, but the Raptors are an example of how to be in these turbulent times. The Toronto Raptors lost a […]
Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Pick swaps in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft

In anticipation of the 2020 draft happening before the resumption of the NHL season, I wrote about ‘The Art of the Swap‘. That is the process of assigning a number value to draft picks, and trading down in order to increase the perceived value.
It surprised me to see that was already 6 months ago, and at the time it would have been even more surprising to know the draft wouldn’t occur until October. Nonetheless, I made a few predictions in that article that I was eager to see play out.
First off was the frequency of swaps. In the 6 previous drafts, there was an average of 7 swaps per draft. In 2020 there was a total of 11, including 5 swaps in the first 2 rounds. This falls just short of the 2019 high of 12, but still continues the upwards trend.
I also made the point that more swaps means more precedence, so as time goes on we should expect the surplus value to trend towards 0. That appears to be the case:

I really like this chart, but it can be hard to read. Each bar represents one draft day swap, and the height is the value of the trade down picks minus the value of …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Lehtonen strikes, Scott ready and waiting, Barabanov lands

With the initial fury of the offseason’s early days behind us, the Leafs’ organizational depth chart is beginning to take shape. Many of Toronto’s most prized prospects are still a year or more away from playing professional hockey in North America, but there are also a number of them that will be fighting for playing time with some of the team’s more recent acquisitions in the NHL and AHL when training camps get underway. There are lots of bodies, both up front and on the blueline, so any extra bit of preparation could be the difference in a camp that promises to feature some serious battles for roster spots.
Mikko Lehtonen – LHD – Jokerit (KHL)
Lehtonen recorded two goals and an assist over his three games this past week, bringing his totals to eight goals and eight assists over 14 games. He is currently the second leading scorer on his team and he is averaging 22:47 of ice time per game – about three minutes more per game than anyone else on Jokerit’s roster. Lehtonen’s abilities on the power play have been well documented but five of his eight goals on the season have come at even strength, helping …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

This year’s Gold Glove finalists are really weird

Major League Baseball announced the Gold Glove Award finalists for the 2020 season and, in 2020 fashion, they’re, uh, pretty weird.

Lourdes Gurriel is the Blue Jays’ lone Gold Glove nominee which sorta kinda gives you an indication of how strange some of the selections were.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, Gurriel is a solid fielder. He makes some highlight reel snags in the outfield and he has a cannon for an arm that he used on multiple occasions to gun guys out at home.

How did @yunitogurriel earn his FIRST Gold Glove nomination?
Two words: Piña Power pic.twitter.com/dtF5WHgJD5
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 22, 2020

But he’s not exactly your prototypical Gold Glove guy. Gurriel just switched to left field mid-way through the 2019 season and still looks pretty green at the position at times. He often runs the wrong way off the hop and that’s why he ends up making TV grabs. FanGraphs had him at -3 defensive runs saved in 2020, but defensive metrics are always a bit tricky, so take them with a grain of salt.
Elsewhere, there are some other puzzling choices, like… the White Sox having two catchers as finalists, Clint …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

NHL “postpones” the Winter Classic and All-Star weekend, but still targets January as the start for the season

The NHL released a statement earlier today addressing the fact that the 2021 season would not feature two of it’s signature events…
NEW YORK (Oct. 22, 2020) — The National Hockey League today announced the postponements of the 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and 2021 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.
The 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, featuring the Minnesota Wild facing the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., was originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2021. The Florida Panthers were to host the 2021 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., originally scheduled for Jan. 29-30, 2021. Both events have been postponed due to the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus. The League intends to return to both Minnesota and Florida for these signature events in the near future.
“Fan participation, both in arenas and stadiums as well as in the ancillary venues and events that we stage around the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, is integral to the success of our signature events,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer. “Because of the uncertainty as to when we will be able to welcome our fans back to our games, we felt that the prudent decision at this time …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

MAILBAG: Who replaces Andersen, Does Marner Deserve an A, and more…

It’s been a while since we’ve done a mailbag, so in this the beginning of the dark of void of no transactions and no hockey being played, we thought we’d reach out to you, our beautiful readers to see what’s on your mind, and what we can answer for you. Our writers were eager to answer, and I’m pretty sure everything we’ve said is 100% correct, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff.

If Freddie wants a big raise next offseason, who’s a tendy Dubas should look at as a replacement in free agency or a trade?
— Lyle (@InsiderLyle) October 20, 2020

Michael Mazzei: I don’t think the Leafs should be quick to search for a new goalie via trade or free agency. They have two serviceable netminders in Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell on the roster and there is a real chance that they could be the tandem heading into 2021-22. Kyle Dubas made the move to acquire Campbell in part because of his potential and also his track record of progression. We saw briefly how much his presences helped stabilized the backup position and raise questions as to whether he should be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs to add Eric Joyce as Director of Hockey Strategy

While the Leafs might be done with the on ice moves for a while, they are apparently not done overhauling the hockey operations department…

Hearing former #FlaPanthers asst GM Eric Joyce is joining the #Leafs in a role expected to be Director of Hockey Strategy.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 22, 2020

So a couple of questions come from this, and we’ll deal with them both.
First, who is Eric Joyce?
Well, good news, he’s got a LinkedIn page!
Eric has been an Assistant to the GM or Assistant GM with the Panthers organization for the past six years and 11 months (shame to leave right before celebrating his work anniversary on LinkedIn.) He’s been the GM of their Springfield AHL team for the past four years, and prior to that the Panther’s AHL teams in San Antonio and Portland.
Prior to Eric’s time with the Panthers, he’s spent a lot of time with in the military and security related fields, as an Army Captain and West Point graduate would. He’s also a graduate of Harvard, in case you were worried that the elitism ended with Vesey and Kerfoot.
In any sense, he seems qualified. And …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation