As expected, the Leafs bring up Michael Hutchinson

After Petr Mrazek was ruled out due to a groin injury, it was only a matter of time before Michael Hutchinson was brought up to fill the void. It took him a bit longer to arrive but the move is now official.

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been recalled from the Toronto Marlies on an emergency basis.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 17, 2021

The reason it took until today for the Leafs to recall Hutchinson was that the team was right up to the salary cap and needed to play one game short a man in order to invoke the emergency basis clause. It explains why the Leafs were forced to sign Alex Bishop as their EBUG for last night’s game against the Senators.
We also have an idea of how long Hutchinson will be up with the main club. Sheldon Keefe told the media last night that Mrazek is expected to miss two weeks while recovering from the aforementioned groin injury. What that means is Jack Campbell will be given the vast majority of the starts and Hutchinson gets no more than two games in the next two weeks.
Hutchinson is coming off a strong 2021 campaign where he finished with a 4 …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

The TLN Three Stars: Maple Leafs finally start on time in 3-1 over Ottawa

After two shaky games where the Toronto Maple Leafs continued their habit of getting completely outplayed by their opponents during the first ten minutes, the script was reversed with two early L
eafs goals being all that was needed in a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was without a doubt the best team performance from the boys in blue and white thus far into the young season, and despite Ottawa nearly tying the game late in the second period before an offside review overturned what would have been the game tying goal, Toronto controlled play and dominated their provincial rivals through most of the contest.
3rd Star: Jack Campbell
With an emergency backup goalie riding the bench after an injury to Petr Mrázek earlier in the week, Jack Campbell continued to show that last year was no fluke. Appearing in all three Leafs games so far this season, Campbell has posted a 0.968 save percentage and looked downright dominant while doing so. While Frederik Andersen had his moments of brilliance while with the team, Jack Campbell is showing the kind of consistency the Maple Leafs haven’t had since the days of Ed Belfour. Campbell has shown that he’ …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Keefe’s Leafs: what is this team doing differently?

After two incomplete seasons as the Leafs’ head coach, it feels like Sheldon Keefe has been around here a long time. But at the head coaching position in the NHL, he came into this season with just over 100 games under his belt, a little more than 1 full season.
Now, 2 games into the year, we’re already hearing rumblings of whether he’s the right fit for this team. In those partial seasons, Keefe’s Leafs had a better in-season record than any of Mike Babcock’s Leafs. Of course, there’s an asterisk on the 2020-21 season because they got to beat up on the Ottawa Senators for a higher percentage of their games than normal (notwithstanding Thursday night’s disappointment). Still, his overall points percentage with Toronto is 65.7%, a fair notch higher than Babcock’s tenure here with 55.7%.
What I’m curious about, which perhaps you’re curious about it too which and that’s why you’re here, is: what is Keefe having this team do differently at 5v5, and how does that bear itself out in the numbers?
The head coach is the primary influence at 5v5, while assistant coaches generally run the special teams on the …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs hope to keep momentum going into season’s first battle of Ontario

After a rough start to the season opener where Jack Campbell was forced to bail out his teammates early and often during the first half of the opening frame, the team was able to settle down and control play for the remaining 50 minutes en route to a 2-1 win over their rival Montreal Canadiens. Winning a season opener against a rival is about as must-win as any game this early in the calendar can get for a team so the Toronto Maple Leafs will now look to ride that high of coming out on top of what was surely the most important Leafs vs Habs game of the past year into a game two matchup against the Ottawa Senators.
With this being the second game in two nights for the Leafs, the brand new goaltending tandem will be tested early as Petr Mrázek makes his Maple Leafs debut, hoping to match the stellar performance Jack Campbell put on the night before. Mrázek won’t be the only one getting tested however, as the Maple Leafs will be looking to show that they can have the killer instinct necessary to not only win games, but dominate games they should be winning. …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Should Steven Matz receive a qualifying offer this off-season?

After narrowly missing the playoffs this past season, there’s no question the Toronto Blue Jays have a very interesting off-season ahead of them, beginning with deciding which players should receive a qualifying offer.

In total, the Blue Jays are slated to have 12 players hit free agency once it opens, although only three of them (Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz) are potential candidates to warrant this type of offer. Once the 2021 World Series concludes, the front office will possess just five full days to submit these offers, afterwards, any player who receives one will have 10 days to accept or decline.
Though an official amount hasn’t been set just yet, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported this year’s qualifying offer is expected to be valued at $18.4 million, down from last season’s $18.9 million figure.
On the surface, both Ray and Semien are obvious choices to be tied to qualifying offers this winter, however, they’ll each likely decline and opt to enter the free-agent market instead. Beyond this duo, Matz is the only other player on the roster who belongs in this conversation, but there’s some debate about whether he’s worthy enough to command such a …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Grading OG Anunoby and 4 other notables in Rockets win

Raptors: Grading OG Anunoby and 4 other notables in Rockets win

The Toronto Raptors appeared to be sputtering after two consecutive preseason losses, and it appears as if the likes of OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes stepped up in convincing fashion against No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green and the Houston Rockets. The Raptors roared out to a 9-0 start and never looked back, as projected […]
Raptors: Grading OG Anunoby and 4 other notables in Rockets win – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: 3 Keys to OG Anunoby winning Most Improved Player

Toronto Raptors: 3 Keys to OG Anunoby winning Most Improved Player

After finishing with one of the worst records in the NBA last season, the Toronto Raptors are looking to climb back up the Eastern Conference standings in 2021-22. That will require a number of players to step forward and assuming a larger role as the post-Kyle Lowry era begins. At the top of that list […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 Keys to OG Anunoby winning Most Improved Player – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ

Leafs make additional cuts as tougher roster decisions loom

The Leafs announced five fresh cuts after Tuesday night’s 6-2 preseason win over the Montreal Canadiens. The moves, coming on the heels of the announcement that Josh Ho-Sang had signed an AHL deal with the Toronto Marlies, push the Leafs closer to what their opening night roster will look like.

The following players have been assigned to the Toronto Marlies (AHL): F Semyon Der-ArguchintsevD Mac HollowellG Erik KällgrenD Kristiāns Rubīns
Nikita Gusev has been released from his PTO.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 6, 2021

None of these moves are all that surprising, and likely would have happened earlier today if the Leafs did not need warm bodies in their lineup for tonight’s preseason game. In other words, they were formalities.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev in particular had a strong Traverse City prospect tournament and NHL camp with his customary playmaking and stickhandling abilities on full display. But what was interesting to see was the incorporation of a shooting element that had been deemed missing from his game. Here’s SDA scoring tonight on a sweet bar-down wrister:

SDA scoring under pressure
*chefs kisses* pic.twitter.com/AQv7qBpU0A
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 6, 2021

While neither Kristians Rubins nor Mac Hollowell …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Preseason: Seeing Game 1 Live at Scotiabank Arena

Raptors Preseason: Seeing Game 1 Live at Scotiabank Arena

After what felt like decades, the Toronto Raptors made their triumphant return to Canada, as a win over the Philadelphia 76ers helped the franchise set the tone for what looks like a very promising season. After almost two years away, Raptors fans getting back in the arena was a sight to behold. The first thing […]
Raptors Preseason: Seeing Game 1 Live at Scotiabank Arena – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

This season was only the beginning of the Blue Jays’ competitive window

After a hard-fought battle over the past six months, the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2021 season came to a disappointing end as they finished just 1.0 game shy of the American League Wild Card chase, although all isn’t lost for this promising organization.

While the wound remains fresh for the fanbase, and rightly so, they won’t have to look very far to become excited once again regarding this team’s future. Sure, this might not be the conversation most fans want to have right now, but with the off-season just around the corner, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that this franchise has brighter days ahead of it.
Though key free agents like Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz are slated to hit the open market next month, putting that trio aside, the Blue Jays’ roster already consists of a strong core of position players and pitchers that should allow them to remain competitive for several years to come.
Core Position Player Pieces
Starting with Toronto’s breakout superstar, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took the baseball world by storm this season, as he completely overcame last season’s disappointing performance and directly put himself into the conversation for the AL …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation