Jumbo Joe is a Toronto Maple Leaf

Joe Thornton is a Toronto Maple Leaf, at least, according to the Leafs.

We’ve got a JUMBO announcement
Joe Thornton has signed a one-year contract! #LeafsForever
Details: https://t.co/ZfHrvgA7FB pic.twitter.com/GLKDyXfvNb
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) October 16, 2020

According to Chris Johnston, he has taken the Jason Spezza route and signed for league minimum.

Joe Thornton’s contract with the #leafs includes no 35-plus performance bonuses. He signed just for the league minimum salary: $700,000.
Big help for Toronto’s cap situation.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 16, 2020

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Real Reason the Toronto Raptors Lost the Series

Things didn’t go according to the plan for the Toronto Raptors as they were eliminated too soon. There’s one guilty party that should take all the blame. The Toronto Raptors went the distance with the Boston Celtics but in the end, they weren’t able to deliver a knock out blow. Instead of finishing the season […]
The Real Reason the Toronto Raptors Lost the Series – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jeff Borsuk / Raptors HQ

New York, Phoenix and Detroit expected to be potential suitors for Fred VanVleet outside of the Toronto Raptors

According to Shams Charania; the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Detroit Pistons are expected to be potential suitors for Fred VanVleet outside of the Toronto Raptors in the upcoming free agency period. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Toronto Raptors‘ guard, Fred VanVleet, is going to be a hot commodity this offseason. […]
New York, Phoenix and Detroit expected to be potential suitors for Fred VanVleet outside of the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

It looks like Sam Gaviglio has been optioned to the Blue Jays’ Alternate Training Site

According to the team’s official website, the Blue Jays optioned pitcher Sam Gaviglio to the Alternate Training Site on Friday.

According to the Blue Jays transactions page, Sam Gaviglio was optioned to the Alternate Training Site today. https://t.co/ItsAtXH9rE
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) August 1, 2020

Gaviglio has had a rough start to the 2020 season. Due to not wanting to overwork other late-inning relievers, Charlie Montoyo has opted to use Gaviglio in a couple of different high-leverage situations, which has pretty clearly left the veteran long-inning guy out of his depth. Through two outings, Gaviglio has recorded three outs while surrendering three earned runs on three hits and three walks.
I had originally figured that this could mean that Chase Anderson, who suffered an oblique injury back during the team’s Summer Camp, could be ready to return, but that isn’t the case, as he’s scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday.
It also won’t be Ken Giles returning, as he was placed on the 10-day Injured List back on Monday. The Blue Jays are optimistic that Giles won’t miss a significant amount of time, as …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Which Leafs will play in the 2022 Olympics?

According to Pierre LeBrun, the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement features NHL participation in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics, barring negotiations with the International Olympic Committee.

Of course, the NHL and the IOC have a tricky relationship, so the league stating an intent to play in the Olympics doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a guarantee, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
If NHL players do go to Beijing in 2022, the Leafs will certainly be well represented. It’ll be our first chance to see Toronto’s young core participate in international hockey’s largest stage, which is something incredibly exciting to look forward to.
Team USA
Auston Matthews will have his first chance to represent the United States at the Olympics in 2022. It’ll be an interesting group for the USA, as a new generation of American star players like Jack Eichel, Zach Werenski, Matt Tkachuk, and Quinn Hughes will be forming the team’s core.
I can’t see any other Leafs other than Matthews representing the United States come 2022. Justin Holl isn’t going to crack the blueline and Jack Campbell could feasibly be in the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Nick Robertson will be a part of the Leafs’ expanded roster

According to James Mirtle, Kyle Dubas confirmed today that if/when the NHL resumes play this summer, Nick Robertson will be a part of the Leafs’ expanded roster.

Kyle Dubas confirms Nick Robertson will be part of the Leafs expanded roster when / if play resumes.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) May 27, 2020

The second-round pick of the Leafs from the 2019 draft, Robertson demolished the OHL this season, scoring an absurd 55 goals over the course of 46 games. His 55 goals were the most of any skater in the league, three clear of 2020 top prospect Jack Quinn, who played in 16 more games than Robertson did.
Given the nature of these playoffs, with teams going into quarantine for the duration of the tournament, teams will be carrying more players with them than usual, so it really isn’t shocking at all to see that Robertson will be in the mix. The more interesting question is whether or not he’ll suit up for the Leafs during their play-in series against the Blue Jackets.
His play in the OHL suggests that he’s ready to handle NHL competition, but having Robertson make his debut in such a situation would certainly be throwing him …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

MLB’s newest plan involves realigning the league to three divisions of 10 teams

According to USA Today, MLB is chugging along with a plan that would get the season rolling in June, see teams playing in their home ballparks, and involve a realignment to three divisions with 10 teams. OK!

The three new divisions would basically become from shoving the two leagues together into three 10-team divisions. The only change is that the Pirates, a Central Division team, end up in the East and the Braves, an East Division team, end up in the Central.
EAST

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins

WEST

Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners

CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers

This plan would also reportedly kill the American and National Leagues for the year, so teams would, presumably, just play the other nine teams that are close to them geographically. The odd thing would be how the playoffs would go down. You have an odd …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs sign Alexander Barabanov to a one-year, entry-level deal

Hey, look! Actual hockey news! According to the team’s official Twitter account, the Maple Leafs have signed KHL free agent Alexander Barabanov to a one-year, entry-level contract.

The Maple Leafs have signed forward Alexander Barabanov to a one-year entry level contract for the 2020-21 season.
Details: https://t.co/S9LVYQ8V1i#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/PlXYbDYiZP
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 7, 2020

Barabanov, who turns 26 years old in June, has spent his entire career in Russia with SKA St. Petersburg. He posted 11 goals and 20 points in 43 games in this year’s COVID-19-shortened season, which was a bit of a decline from the 17 goals and 46 he put up in 2018-19.
Last week, Earl Schwartz went into depth about why the Leafs should be interested in Barabanov and how his low point total might be misleading.
The European free agent market is a place that Kyle Dubas has been very active since taking over as general manager. Ahead of last season, he inked Ilya Mikheyev to a one-year entry-level deal, which worked out very nicely for the team. Before that, he also added Igor Ozhiganov out of the KHL and Par Lindholm out of Sweden.
Signing …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

More on Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association’s plan to salvage the 2020 season

According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association have reached a tentative agreement on key economic and labour-related factors relating to the 2020 season, which is currently paused due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve already written about two key issues from this agreement, the shortened version of the 2020 draft and the worst-case-scenario plan for service time in the event of the season being cancelled, so let’s go through everything else…
MLB and the PA are aiming to play as close to a 162-game season as possible with 100 games being viewed as the bare minimum. The ideal starting date would be June 1 but it could also come as late as July 1.
As part of the plan to play as full and normal of a season as possible, both sides have agreed to push regular-season games into October and post-season games into November. They’ve also discussed playing late-season games and post-season games in warmer, neutral locations.
There has been discussion about expanding the playoff format in order to compensate for lost revenue, but that’ll ultimately be something determined at a later date depending on when the season possibly gets …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation