How the Maple Leafs can move on from another first round exit

Well, they did it again. Another first round exit.
Often when the Maple Leafs get eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, there’s plenty of people who like to put on their General Manager hat. They’ll start by saying “Trade this player!” And usually end with “Someone needs to be fired for this mess!”
Every year. After every lost series.
Usually, I would accept this form of reaction. People are upset, and honestly, they have every right to be after yet another first round departure. But this time around for Toronto was different. Very different.
The Maple Leafs went toe-to-toe with the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions. It went to a Game 7 and you could’ve argued that it should be tied after the third period. Fans from each team deserved another stressful overtime, like in Game 6.
As hard as Toronto fought for every inch of that ice, the Lightning fought just as hard, even after losing a key player like Brayden Point.
This isn’t a matter of sitting back and thinking about what’s wrong with this team — nothing is wrong — the Maple Leafs are an incredible team. If they ended up beating the Lightning, I wouldn’t be surp …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: The Ty Voit show continues, Veeti Miettinen heating up, Ian Scott returns

It was once again a busy week in the Toronto Maple Leafs system as the Marlies continue their long road trip, the Growlers finally got their 2022 schedule underway, and one more prospect is heading to the Olympics. In addition to all the news, there were a few marquee performances to get to, so let’s dive right into things in the latest Leafs Prospect Roundup.
Ty Voit | C | Sarnia (OHL)
Ty Voit’s Sarnia Sting faced off against the Owen Sound Attack twice over the weekend, and oh was it ever an eventful pair of games.
In the opening game of the weekend, Sarnia found themselves down 2-0 in the second period. On the penalty kill and in danger of going down 3-0, Voit capitalized on a pinching Owen Sound defender to score his 10th goal of the season and cut the deficit in half.
Then came the bad. Just a couple of minutes after this goal, Voit was on the receiving end of a nasty late hit from Mark Woolley. Voit would miss the remainder of the second period, but somehow managed a return for the third. Woolley received a major penalty for the hit and was subsequently suspended indefinitely, pending full OHL review on the play (standard procedure for a play s …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

1 stud and 2 duds from Raptors’ embarassing loss against Pistons

1 stud and 2 duds from Raptors’ embarassing loss against Pistons

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors once again matched up with old coach Dwane Casey and his Detroit Pistons in a game that many expected them to win easily. Scottie Barnes is back in the lineup, Fred VanVleet remains excellent, and bench standouts like Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa have been playing better lately. As […]
1 stud and 2 duds from Raptors’ embarassing loss against Pistons – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Abruzzese finally returns, Rubins’ remarkable journey, OHLers impressing

It was a busy week yet again among Toronto Maple Leafs prospects, this time both on and off the ice. Standout performances, season debuts, call ups, and even trades are ahead on this edition of the Leafs prospect roundup.
Nick Abruzzese | LW | Harvard (ECAC)
601 days after his last competitive game, Nick Abruzzese finally hit the ice again for the Harvard Crimson.
Harvard’s hockey team did not play a single game during the 2020/21 season due to COVID, leaving Abruzzese with no place to play. Too old to return to the USHL, as teammate John Farinacci did, and not wanting to turn pro just yet, as teammate Jack Drury did, Abruzzese instead used the cancelled season to have surgery on his hip.
Missing an entire season of development, not only from games but from skill development and skating, has been a serious concern for Abruzzese. Drafted as a double overage prospect in 2019 out of the USHL, he’s already 22 years old with just one season of NCAA hockey under his belt. For context, he was born a couple of months after Timothy Liljegren, who has played four years in the AHL already.
Given his advanced age and the time he missed, …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 2K22 ratings revealed, OG Anunoby disrespected

Toronto Raptors: 2K22 ratings revealed, OG Anunoby disrespected

NBA 2K22 is here, and the Toronto Raptors are underrated again. With the always controversial 2K ratings finally out, Raptors fans have tons of grievances that they need to air, with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby firmly at the top of the list. Siakam has an overall rating of 83. He is rated lower than […]
Toronto Raptors: 2K22 ratings revealed, OG Anunoby disrespected – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kahfeel Buchanan / Raptors HQ

Auston Matthews graces NHL cover for second time in three years

Auston Matthews is back on the cover of an NHL game.

Back again @AM34 is your #NHL22 cover athlete!
Pre-order now https://t.co/JF65PnliKE pic.twitter.com/IiTjcZxoSI
— EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) August 19, 2021

This will be the second time in three years where Matthews has appeared on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL game.
“I grew up playing the game and it’s really special to be on the cover in general, and to be on it again, I’m still just as excited.” Said Matthews in a video from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Twitter account.
Matthews joins Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin as the only players who have been NHL cover stars twice.
“It’s a huge honour.” Said the 23-year-old. “Being on the cover not once, but twice, is truly humbling.”
There have been some fans who are upset about Matthews being on the cover of the game again. But really, who else could you ask for? Sure there have been plenty of players from the Tampa Bay Lightning who are deserving, yet Matthews is different.
Winner of the Rocket, one of the best goal scorers in the world, and if not the best right now, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 player comparisons for Scottie Barnes

Toronto Raptors: 3 player comparisons for Scottie Barnes

The Toronto Raptors once again zigged when everyone thought they would zag, as they selected Florida State sensation Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. As a result, the expected No. 4, Gonzaga point guard, Jalen Suggs, was sent to the Orlando Magic with the No. 5 pick. The Raptors […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 player comparisons for Scottie Barnes – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Meet the Sellers: Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles, yet again, sit at the bottom of the competitive AL East division. Going into July 23rd, the Orioles are the only sub .500 team in that division. They have an abysmal 31-64 record, sitting 27 games back of the division-leading Boston Red Sox. The Orioles are clear sellers but could be in store for some promising seasons if they continue to gather high-end prospects. Before the season, MLB.com ranked the Orioles 5th in their farm system rankings. 

Baltimore could be a tough trade partner for the Blue Jays in my opinion because the players to be mentioned are all under contract for a few years. Will the Orioles want to move these players to a division rival? Another question mark is the availability of John Means; however, he is omitted from this article because I do not see the Orioles flipping a cost-controlled pitcher of that quality this season. I believe he should be kept and built around, and I do not think they should sell him to someone in the division. On the other hand, I could see the Orioles selling off effective relievers with term, although they may not be as cheap to acquire as you …

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Author: Eric Lightfoot / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors free agency: 3 Atlantic Division free agents to chase

Toronto Raptors free agency: 3 Atlantic Division free agents to chase

Should the front office once again work their magic and create some extra cap room, the Toronto Raptors should have some much-needed cap space that they can use to attack some of the holes that dragged this unit down to the lottery in the 2020-21 season. While this group should be able to compete for […]
Toronto Raptors free agency: 3 Atlantic Division free agents to chase – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Meet the Sellers: Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers are a sub .500 team again this season.

In 2019, the Tigers were an abysmal 47-114 on the season, and struggled again last year, finishing 23-35. The Tigers have improved subtly this season, but still hold a record of 38-46.
Surprisingly, they have been better than the Kansas City Royals (future article) and the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers are currently in a great spot, as they have the second-best farm system in baseball according to MLB.com. A few trade deadline deals could help improve an already loaded organization.
The three players I envision being available and worth trading for are all arms. One is a former Blue Jay, and the other two have been valuable bullpen arms this season. As mentioned in previous articles, the Jays still need bullpen help and starting pitching help if want to take the next step. There is no such thing as too many arms. Acquiring a legitimate starting pitcher could help shift Ross Stripling (who has been great) back to the bullpen where he has thrived in the past with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Doing such would help the Blue Jays’ bullpen even more.
Here are some players that would fill the …

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Author: Eric Lightfoot / Blue Jays Nation