Pontus Holmberg is the Leafs 19th ranked prospect

I wrote Holmberg’s 2019 Prospect Ranking, and one of my key points was how the Leafs traded for a pick to draft him. That’s a universal indicator that the team has intimate knowledge of a player, in this case it would be from Swedish scout Thommie Bergman. He is the same scout the Leafs had assigned to Sweden at the time they drafted Nylander, Johnsson, Engvall, and Liljegren, so it’s safe to say they trust his judgement.
Holmberg was selected in his second time eligible for the draft, 156th overall (2018). He played in 2 SHL games that season but didn’t record a point, playing mostly in lower level Swedish leagues. It was 2018-19 where he had a breakout season, recording 10 points in 47 SHL games for Vaxjo.
Pontus remains on Vaxjo this season, where he mostly plays Center. There are three other Cs with more draws taken though, and he does quite poorly in the faceoff circle. Despite that he’s 6th amongst Vaxjo forwards in TOI/G, so he clearly spends some time on the wing as well.
Rank – Grade – NHL Readiness
19th – C – 2-4 YEARS
Position: C
Age: 21
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 179 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2018 6th round, 156th …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

In Rod the Leafs trust

After sitting out the first round of the 2019 draft, the Leafs had a chance on Tuesday night to make significant addition to their prospect pool thanks to a deal in which they acquired Pittsburgh’s 15th overall selection. There was plenty of speculation leading up to the draft that the Leafs would move the pick for immediate help, and it seems they may have been close to doing so after GM Kyle Dubas said they used the entire clock because they were in trade talks for the pick right down to the final second. He made sure to clarify the reasoning for them going down to the wire, stating there was no debate about who they were choosing if they kept the pick.

Kyle Dubas says Leafs went to time limit because trade discussions were ongoing. Leafs were not debating whom to pick at 15.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) October 7, 2020

Following an unusual scene where commissioner Gary Bettman stepped to the podium to announce that Toronto’s time had run out and they needed to call a timeout or make the pick, Mitch Marner stepped in front of the camera in the Leafs’ makeshift war room to welcome Russian winger Rodion Amirov …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs prospect Kalle Loponen is headed back to Finland

The Maple Leafs’ 7th round selection in the 2019 draft is set to continue his career in Finland after making the jump across the pond to play for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves for the 2019-2020 season. It is expected that 19 year old defenceman Kalle Loponen will re-join Karpat in Finland’s top professional league whenever they begin play next season.

Sudbury Wolves have protected G Frederik Dichow ahead of Tuesday’s #CHLImportDraft, as well as F Matej Pekar on an overage list. D Kalle Loponen intends to play in Finland next season and Wolves have released his rights. They’ll make two picks on Tuesday. #ohl— Ben Leeson (@ben_leeson) June 25, 2020

The 5’11 right handed defenceman had a solid debut season in North America, registering 6 goals and 18 assists in 56 games for Sudbury. 17 of those points came on the power play where his heavy point shot became a consistent weapon over the course of the season.

ICYMI!! #25 Kalle Loponen Wolves lead 3-2 pic.twitter.com/PQMxxCHHWW— Sudbury Wolves (@Sudbury_Wolves) November 2, 2019

After a decent showing against his peers in the OHL, Loponen will look to continue his development playing against older and tougher competition. Opportunities will be harder …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

2020 NBA Draft: 5 Players the Toronto Raptors could be targeting

The NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors followed up their stellar 2019 season with a  71.9% win percentage through 64 games of the 2019-20 season. While the Raptors were certainly Kawhi Leonard-less, they didn’t lose any of the defensive tenacity and “never give up” attitude instilled under head coach Nick Nurse. 2019’s breakout star player, Pascal Siakam, took […]
2020 NBA Draft: 5 Players the Toronto Raptors could be targeting – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Michael Walton / Raptors HQ

The Toronto Raptors top 10 moments of a franchise-altering 2019

The Toronto Raptors had a 2019 to remember and celebrate. We look back at the top ten moments that defined the year for the team. The year is coming to an end and the Toronto Raptors will be sad to see their calendars turn over. 2019 has been the franchise’s best year for many reasons. […]
The Toronto Raptors top 10 moments of a franchise-altering 2019 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jeff Borsuk / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: New City Edition uniform surfaces online

The 2019 City Edition Uniform for the Toronto Raptors leaked online Wednesday morning. It incorporates elements from the past and past and present. It appears as though the 2019 Toronto Raptors City Edition Uniform has surfaced online. Leaked Toronto Raptors City Edition Jerseys 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Vk5b6jIVv2 — clear eyes, bad takes (@bobbyboxscore) November 20, 2019 Similar […]
Toronto Raptors: New City Edition uniform surfaces online – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Gavin Axelrod / Raptors HQ

Well, it’s finally over. What can we make of 2019?

The Blue Jays finished the 2019 season on a high note this weekend, winning their final two games on Saturday and Sunday in front of modest-sized-but-enthusiastic crowds. About 25,000 fans came out to watch this Jays squad glide out their regular season, earning back-to-back wins against a hungover Rays squad to ensure the franchise didn’t set a new single-season low for wins in the post-expansion-years era.

It’s certainly a far cry from three and four years ago when the Dome was loaded with fans backing the club as they geared up for playoff runs. Those 2015 and 2016 teams feel like a lifetime ago at this point. Still, it didn’t have the same exhausted relief vibe that the previous two finales did. The 2017 and 2018 teams were a slog to follow as they carried the burden of unrealistic hopes and expectations. This team, as bad as it was, made things interesting.
So, what can we make of 2019?
Back in March, we put out an optimistic, pessimistic, and a realistic outlook heading into the season. The conclusion of my realistic expectations post was that we didn’t have to have any expectations and that was a good thing. I figured that just embracing …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Atlantic Review: Montreal’s off-season was highlighted by a moral victory

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s 2019 Atlantic Review in which we take a team-by-team look at the other seven teams in the Atlantic Division. Today, we have the predictably unpredictable Montreal Canadiens. 

The Montreal Canadiens have been all over the grid the past few years.
In 2014-15, they were one of the best teams in the league, putting up a 110-point season behind Carey Price’s legendary showing. In 2015-16, an injury to Price resulted in them cratering to an 82-point season. In 2016-17, the Habs bounced back for 103 points, though they lost in the first round. In 2017-18, they bottomed out again, finishing with just 71 points.
Here we are in 2018-19. The Habs were expected to be bad last season much like they were the season before that. But, thanks to a pretty solid rebound performance from Price and some very good play from a bunch of depth players, Montreal had a strong season. Had it not of been for where they stood in their division behind three elite teams, Montreal surely would have been a playoff team.
They might not have actually accomplished anything tangible, but it was a moral victory for the Habs in 2018-19.
In between …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Atlantic Review: Florida’s big off-season makes the division deeper

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s 2019 Atlantic Review in which we take a team-by-team look at the other seven teams in the Atlantic Division. Today, we have the most exciting thing to come out of Fort Lauderdale since Blockbuster, the Florida Panthers. 

The Florida Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final back during their third season in the league. That could change this year.
Given how deep the Atlantic Division is, I obviously wouldn’t guarantee a Florida Panthers playoff series victory in 2020, but, at the very least, they really should be in the mix this year. For a franchise desperate for some kind of on-ice success, that’s good enough.
The Panthers actually looked to be headed in the right direction a few years ago. They won the Atlantic Division for the second time in franchise history in 2015-16 with a young core of players in Alex Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Aaron Ekblad drafted during their bad years coupled with great veteran performances from Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo.
The wheels fell off in the following seasons. Florida dove head-first into an analytics renaissance in the 2016 off-season, promoting Tom Rowe …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Atlantic Review: Buffalo will live and die on the word “if”

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s 2019 Atlantic Review in which we take a team-by-team look at the other seven teams in the Atlantic Division. Today, we have the worst NHL team of the decade, the Buffalo Sabres. 

The Buffalo Sabres are looking for a fresh start as the world enters the 2020s. The 2010s, uh, were not kind to this organization.
They made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011 but got bounced in the first round. Since then, though, it’s been a disaster in Buffalo. The Sabres have won just 230 of their 622 games during an eight-season playoff drought and they’ve finished in the bottom five in the league five times in that span. Calling them Oilers East would be rude to Edmonton.
Despite year after year of futility, the Sabres shockingly don’t have that much to show for their struggles. Jack Eichel was a great consolation prize to missing out on Connor McDavid in 2015, Sam Reinhart is finally looking like a No. 2 overall pick, and Rasmus Dahlin is probably the best young blueliner in hockey, but the Sabres have made a lot of mistakes over the years to bog things down.
They had two first-round picks in the incredibly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation