Report: Maple Leafs willing to trade the rights to Ilya Mikheyev

While there was little speculation that Ilya Mikheyev might return to the Maple Leafs, it looks like the ship has officially sailed.
Reports surfaced late last summer that Mikheyev asked for a trade, but Toronto decided to keep him because they saw more in him. And while they did get more out of the 27-year-old, there was still the looming possibility he would leave.
It was a great season for Mikheyev, too, finishing the year with 32 points (21 goals and 11 assists) over a 53-game span. He played a key role on Toronto’s third line throughout, even getting some opportunity on the second line too.
Bringing back Mikheyev and Engvall vs. finding the next Mikheyev and Engvall
With yet another cap crunch, though, the Maple Leafs are left with having to let Mikheyev go elsewhere. But, they could send him off into the sunset via a trade for his signing rights.

Hearing TOR has notified teams the rights to Ilya Mikheyev are available if a team wishes to “jumpstart the process.”
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 30, 2022

The Maple Leafs did something similar with Zach Hyman last summer. It was evident that the two sides weren’t going to be able to strike a deal, so Toronto wanted to trade his rights. At that time, Edmonton was the clear frontrunner for him but they didn’t think it was worth it to trade for an extra year of Hyman.
So, Toronto got nothing for him and he walked right into free agency. The same could happen to the 27-year-old.
It’s not known what the Maple Leafs’ ask is for Mikheyev’s signing rights. I do believe, though, that it won’t be much of a haul if they do find a suitor. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming days.
More From TheLeafsNation.com:
Rumours: …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rasmus Sandin lands on Frank Seravalli’s offer sheet candidates list

Offer sheets are entertaining when you’re watching from afar, but would you enjoy it if a player from the Maple Leafs received an offer sheet?
Well, that could be a possibility this off-season, according to DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
On Wednesday, the NHL insider released a list of seven players who are offer sheet candidates this summer. Third on the list is Maple Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin.
From Seravalli:
“Sandin probably isn’t the first player you think of when you think about offer sheets, but an opportunity exists to get a quality player who can slide into your top six. Toronto’s cap crunch is obvious. Every $100,000 counts for the Leafs. With a new two-year, $1.4 million AAV deal for Timothy Liljegren, you can ballpark that Sandin is roughly in the same neighborhood for pay, though they play on opposite sides. An untimely regular season injury made him an easy candidate for healthy scratch in the playoffs, but the Leafs still view Sandin as having more upside than Liljegren. It probably wouldn’t take that much for the Leafs to walk away (by necessity). Would a one-year deal at $4.2 million be enough to get the job done? Compensation would be just a second-round pick. Even if it doesn’t work, for a division or conference rival, it would complicate life for the Leafs.”
Now the chances of this happening aren’t huge, but there’s always a possibility that th …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: 3 burning questions as 2022 free agent frenzy starts

Raptors: 3 burning questions as 2022 free agent frenzy starts

The Toronto Raptors are prepared for all hell to break loose on Thursday evening, as the start of NBA free agency will completely shake up the foundation of the league. Toronto’s Thad Young and Chris Boucher situations are just one of many variables Masai Ujiri needs to consider. The Raptors already saw one of their […]
Raptors: 3 burning questions as 2022 free agent frenzy starts – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Potential under the radar Leafs goaltending targets

Hockey has changed. Gone are the days where a single goaltender can play 60 or more regular season games and then go on a long playoff run. The game is faster now and there is enough evidence in recent cup winners over the past decade to show that teams benefit much more from having a solid goaltending tandem as opposed to a single elite starter and a backup who only plays the second half of back-to-backs.
This tandem split can be most recently seen with the 2019 St. Louis Blues, 2018 Washington Capitals, and 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins. Of those three teams, the most games played by a single goaltender was Braden Holtby’s 54 games with the Capitals.
It’s easy to believe that a more or less even split was the plan going into last season for the Leafs, but between injury troubles and Petr Mrazek having the worst season of his career, that plan was derailed and abandoned fast. Whether Jack Campbell is re-signed or not, the Leafs’ goaltenders need to be better overall, and with the team’s current cap situation (and the risk of bringing in a new face at a high cap number,) going after a brand-name goaltender might not be in the cards for next season.
There are, however, a number of goalies around the league who have put up excellent numbers in a backup or tandem role and have sort of flown under the radar for a while now. Any one of them could be an excellent …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Campbell can be moved for an asset, Sandin speculation, and the Fiala fallout

This week seems like Jack Campbell rumours are front and center so that’s going to make up the meat of what we’re dealing with here. The Leafs goaltender seems to be awfully close to being referred to as the Leafs former goaltender as none of the talk seems to be about him returning to Toronto.
via Larry Brooks
We’re told by one informant that New Jersey may attempt to jump the process by dealing for the 30-year-old’s rights if the Maple Leafs cannot or will not extend the netminder, who started more than 26 games (47) in a season for the first time in his career.
The idea would be to move Mackenzie Blackwood, whose career has somehow careened off course during a couple of drama-filled seasons this fragile team does not need. It also does not need an older veteran coming off injuries to serve as the backup; e.g., Corey Crawford; Jonathan Bernier.

via Mike Harrington
There’s no real sense the Sabres have any interest in Kuemper but that’s not the case when it comes to Jack Campbell of Toronto.

Kuemper, meanwhile, could be a fit in Toronto going forward if Campbell goes elsewhere. Campbell may want a deal of 3-4 years and the Sabres aren’t all that interested in that kind of term. Maybe they can get it down with a bigger offer in dollars, but the Sabres can’t leave themselves vulnerable either.

Alongside Darren Dreger’s statement of “he will probably get $6M” and we are clearly in the final days of Jack Campbell. Still. Let’s break down some of what is going on here.
Let’s start with what Mike Harrington said and couple it with Dreger’s statement. There is absolutely the possibility for an overpayment coming out of a team like Buffalo and relatively speaki …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Clippers C/F Isaiah Hartenstein

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Clippers C/F Isaiah Hartenstein

Even after their selection of Christian Koloko with the No. 33 pick in last week’s NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors will no doubt scour the free agent market for budget big men with the type of potential the Raps development staff is so good at tapping into. Enter Los Angeles Clippers youngster Isaiah Hartenstein. After signing […]
Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Clippers C/F Isaiah Hartenstein – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Tyler Hedmann / Raptors HQ

As you Could’ve Guessed, the Blue Jays are one of the Teams in on Andrew Benintendi

According to Jon Morosi, the Jays are one of the teams looking at the Kansas City Royals’ Andrew Benintendi.

This season, the left fielder is slashing .305/.370/.393 with three homers. He has a low K% of 13.8%, but will also take a walk as his BB% sits at 9.5%. He also has a 120 wRC+ and an fWAR of 1.4, well above replacement level.

The #BlueJays and #Royals are potential trade partners ahead of the Aug. 2 @MLB Trade Deadline. Toronto is among the teams with interest in Andrew Benintendi, and KC has appealing bullpen arms as well. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 29, 2022

Defensively, he’s an average defender, as he has a 2 Defensive Runs Saved and 1 Outs Above Average. However, in 2021, he posted a DRS of 7 (the best since his first full two seasons) and an Outs Above Average of 0, his third best season by that metric.
Defensively, he’s a slight upgrade over Loudres Gurriel Jr, and if the Jays were to trade for Benintendi, I could see the two of them platoon.
In fact, I find the two players rather comparable, as Gurriel is slashing .283/.336/.408 with four homers and a wRC+ of 111.
The reason why he’ll be a hot commodity come August 2nd is because Benintendi is in the final year of his contract. The soon to be 28-year-old makes $8,500,000 this season, before hitting the open market after the 2022 season.
Trading for a player with an expiring contract is a double edge sword. On one hand, depending on the prospects they give up, this trade could really hurt in a few years. On the other hand, Benintendi is a significant upgrade over Ramiel Tapia, and is arguably better than Gurriel Jr. 
Along with other additions, trading for Benintendi may be what solidifies the Jays as a contender.
Speaking of other additions, it’s been evident that the Jays need some bullpen help. Thankfully, Morosi notes that the Royals have some bullpen arms that could be of use. Chief among them is Scott Barlow, but you can read about him in Kansas’ addition of Meet the Sellers.
Other bullpen options include Dylan Coleman, Taylor Clarke, and Josh Staumont, all of which would c …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Reports suggest Spencer Carbery could still be behind Maple Leafs bench next season

The special teams specialist could likely be back behind the Maple Leafs bench next season.
If you haven’t been reading up on what’s going around the hockey world (other than the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup), then you might not know that Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery was interviewing for a head coaching gig.
Last week on the 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported that the 40-year-old was among a number of coaches in the running to become the Boston Bruins’ next head coach.
From Friedman on the 32 Thoughts Podcast:
“I think in Boston, it’s going to be someone a bit fresher. It’s going to be (Jim) Montgomery or it’s going to be (Jay) Leach, or it’s going to be (David) Quinn, I’ve heard Vellucci’s name in there, Spencer Carbery. You know, Spencer Carbery is an interesting one because I forgot this — that when Toronto hired Carbery — the Maple Leafs were already down the road, and I think Boston tried to talk to him. And it was just a situation where it was too far gone.”
But after the Bruins did a number of interviews throughout the week, it looks like Carbery didn’t make the cut.

As usual, @JoeyMacHockey is all over it. Wanted to add: Believe this was Vellucci’s second interview as part of the process.
Sounds like the finalists for #NHLBruins are Davi …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors rumors: Thad Young likely back, Mo Bamba has interest

Raptors rumors: Thad Young likely back, Mo Bamba has interest

The Toronto Raptors can finally start to kick free agency into high gear now that the NBA Draft is officially in the past. Be it trying to retain veterans like Chris Boucher and Thad Young or trying to go outside the organization to find standouts like Mo Bamba, Masai Ujiri will have his hands full. […]
Raptors rumors: Thad Young likely back, Mo Bamba has interest – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Former Blue Jay Russell Martin will be honoured on Canada Day

You won’t want to miss what’s happening at the Rogers Centre on Canada Day.
For the first time since 2019, the Toronto Blue Jays are scheduled to play in Canada on the country’s birthday, which hasn’t been possible over the last few seasons due to COVID-19 border restrictions. One of the ways the team plans to celebrate this occasion is by honouring one of their former players, Russell Martin.
After announcing his retirement last month, Martin is slated to throw out the first pitch prior to Friday’s contest versus the Tampa Bay Rays. This will undoubtedly take place in front of an energized, packed crowd at home.

#Bluejays announce that Canada Day plans will include honouring former catcher, Canadian Russell Martin, who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday.
— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) June 29, 2022

The 39-year-old signed with the Blue Jays in 2014, agreeing to a five-year, $82-million contract. It was the largest free-agent signing in franchise history at the time. Now, it ranks third behind George Springer’s (six years, $125 million) and Kevin Gausman’s (five years, $110 million) deals.
Martin spent four seasons in Toronto from 2015-18, slashing .225/.336/.399 with 66 home runs and 211 RBIs. He was a part of the club’s playoff runs in 2015 and ’16, which resulted in consecutive ALCS appearances.
Overall, the four-time All-Star played 1,693 career games between four different franchises – including the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and Blue Jays. The 2007 NL Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award winner recorded 1,416 career hits, 191 home runs, 771 RBIs and a .248/.349/.397 slash line.
Defensively, M …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation