Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. and his historic start with the Raptors

Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. and his historic start with the Raptors

Newly acquired guard Gary Trent Jr. has made quite the impression through his first handful of games with the Toronto Raptors. Trent was the main piece coming back to Toronto in the Norman Powell trade, wherein he was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers on trade deadline day almost two weeks ago. This deal showed […]
Toronto Raptors: Gary Trent Jr. and his historic start with the Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

3 things the Leafs need to do to become Stanley Cup contenders

Last year’s season was an unexpected one. Newly acquired Tyson Barrie didn’t pan out, there were a ton of injuries and the Leafs were a very inconsistent hockey team.
But there’s a list of requirements that Kyle Dubas needs to hit to make sure Toronto is ready to go for next season, as well as the playoffs.
Dubas said he wasn’t done making trades and that’s one place he needs to be perfect in, if he wants success next year. There’s also a few other things on his to-do list, but you have to watch the video to find out.


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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Clifford-Campbell Conditions Corrected for COVID Compromise

It was a simpler time when the Leafs acquired bruising forward Kyle Clifford and Chief Cheerfulness Officer Jack Campbell on February 5th, 2020. The deal, which sent the large-posteriored Trevor Moore and two third-round draft picks (one conditional, we’ll get to that) to the Los Angeles Kings, was made just moments after another disastrous performance by then-backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson, as the Leafs dropped a 5-3 decision to the New York Rangers.
Little did the Leafs, or any of us, know that within five weeks a pandemic would bring the NHL season to a screeching halt. Not only did this complicate everyday citizens’ vacation plans, child care arrangements and personal hygiene efforts, but it also complicated the conditions placed on a 2021 third rounder included in the deal.
Almost five months after the NHL paused their season and just a day before the start of the qualifying round for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the league did some housekeeping to re-frame the conditions of trades impacted by the loss of the rest of the regular season and the unique nature of its playoffs.

The NHL has also amended conditions in the TOR/LA Feb. 5 trade: The #leafs owe the #LAKings …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Tyson Barrie this summer

Of all the players the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired this past off-season, I was most thrilled to witness Tyson Barrie become (one of) their best defencemen. I, and most of us were shocked with what we observed.
Let’s begin with his inaugural game in a Maple Leafs uniform; two assists. “Okay, he’s off to a great start.” Two games later, Barrie does it again; two more assists. “Alright, I didn’t think he’d be this good!”
While fans were ecstatic about the player they thought would bring balance to the defence core, we didn’t expect the devastating future ahead. After tallying four assists in his first three games, Barrie was held to just one point in his next 18 and still, he was without a goal.
That was until news surfaced about there being a possible coaching change coming. In the two final games under Babcock, the 28-year-old tallied an assist in each appearance.
And then the inevitable happened:

Brendan Shanahan and Kyle Dubas told Mike Babcock he was fired today. Shanahan flew to Arizona from Toronto today to be there. It was Shanahan, of course, who …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Jake Muzzin this summer

When Kyle Dubas acquired Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings in January of 2019 it changed the makeup of not only the Leafs’ blue line, but their entire roster. Muzzin immediately added some nastiness and championship experience to a Leafs team that was short on both, becoming a stabilizing presence on the way to another hard fought playoff series against Boston.
Entering his first full season as a Leaf, Muzzin was slotted in for duty alongside newly acquired Tyson Barrie on a revamped Toronto defensive unit but much like the rest of the team, the pairing struggled to begin the season. Justin Holl eventually took Barrie’s place forming an effective shutdown duo with Muzzin as the Leafs began to turn their season around with Sheldon Keefe at the helm. With Barrie taking a while to adjust to his new surroundings and the pairing of Rielly and Ceci struggling against top competition, Muzzin was the Leafs’ most reliable defenceman for the early part of the season until injury struck at the end of December. He would return after missing a month with a foot injury only to get hurt again 15 games later and was on the injured …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs acquire Campbell, Clifford from Kings

The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced Wednesday night.
In exchange, the Leafs have sent forward Trevor Moore, Columbus’ third round pick in the 2020 draft and a conditional third round pick in 2021.

The Kings will retain 50 percent of Clifford’s contract in the trade, the Maple Leafs announced.

The @MapleLeafs have acquired goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Trevor Moore, Columbus’ third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a conditional third round pick in 2021. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 6, 2020

Campbell, 28, has started 20 games for the Kings this year posting a .900 save percentage and a 2.85 GAA. Over his five-year career, Campbell has appeared in 58 games posting a .916 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA.
He is a UFA at the end of the season and carries a cap hit of $1.65-million.
Clifford, 29, has six goals and eight assists for the Kings in 53 games with the Kings this year. Clifford, a UFA at the end of the season, carries a cap hit of $1.6-million, but only $800k will count against the Leafs cap with the …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Santiago Espinal is becoming a real prospect

When the Blue Jays acquired Santiago Espinal from the Boston Red Sox he was as fringe as prospects can be. His “claim to fame” so to speak was a mention in a 2018 Carson Cistulli Fringe Five article at Fangraphs. That was the only time being mentioned in a Fringe Five post and had Cistulli not been hired by the Blue Jays it is possible Espinal would have made a couple more appearances in that series this year, as his play this season has warranted attention.
Espinal spent the majority of the season in Double-A where he turned in a respectable batting line of .278/.343/.381, good for a 115 wRC+, in 94 games, per Fangraphs. He made a fair amount of contact, only striking out 12.2% of the time with just a 7.0% swinging strike rate, both of which ranked in the top 10 among qualified Double-A hitters. He has a good idea of the strike zone, having a walk rate of 8.6%. This is what Espinal has done at every stop in the minors, and this is part of what garnered him a mention in that Fringe Five column. 
The other part of his game that got Espinal into that Fringe Five piece was his ability to …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs sign Kerfoot to 4-year, $14-million contract

Acquired in the Nazem Kadri trade, Alexander Kerfoot is now a Maple Leaf for long-term — signing a four-year extension worth $14-million.

Leafs extend Alex Kerfoot. 4 years, $14 million total.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 4, 2019

Coming in at a cap hit of $3.5-million for the next four years is solid business by Kyle Dubas, to lock up the third-line centre (or winger) spot for the near future that they hope to contend in.
Seen as the other piece in the Tyson Barrie-Nazem Kadri deal to many, but Kerfoot will cement his spot in this forward group exceptionally well. He only has two seasons under his belt with Colorado, but in those 157 NHL games played, Kerfoot racked up 34 goals and 51 assists.
Depending on what Babcock wants, Kerfoot could either start the season as the third-line centre — in between Kasperi Kapanen and Trevor Moore most likely — or as a top-nine left-winger and depending on William Nylander to fill that centre spot. All of this is hypothetical and can change in the months to come, but it’s looking like a solid deal for both sides.
Coming in around the same number, Dubas signed Andreas Johnsson and Kapanen to extensions earlier this summer. Johnsson to a …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation