Did Masai Ujiri hint Chris Boucher is staying with the Raptors?

Did Masai Ujiri hint Chris Boucher is staying with the Raptors?

The Toronto Raptors have some big free agent decisions to make this offseason, with the status of Chris Boucher being one of the first questions that Masai Ujiri and his staff must answer. Boucher has been a sterling example of how the Raptors can develop talent and turn G League players into stars. Boucher struggled […]
Did Masai Ujiri hint Chris Boucher is staying with the Raptors? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs sign 2020 draft pick Axel Rindell to two-year entry-level contract

After signing NCAA free agent Max Ellis earlier in the day, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced their second signing of the day by inking 2020 sixth-round draft pick Axel Rindell to a two-year entry-level contract with an average annual value of $838,750. Rindell will join the Toronto Marlies for the rest of the 2021/22 season on a professional try-out.

We’ve signed defenceman Axel Rindell to a future two-year contract.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 8, 2022

Rindell, taken by the Leafs in 2020 as a twice undrafted prospect, is a right-handed offensive defenceman out of Finland. He broke out in the 2019/20 season while playing with Jukurit, scoring 22 points in 47 games on one of the weakest teams in Liiga, results good enough to entice Toronto to take a late-round swing on him.
Given that Rindell was drafted as a 20-year-old prospect in his third year of draft eligibility, the Maple Leafs only held his exclusive rights for two years, which were set to expire in June.
The signing does come as a slight surprise, though, as Rindell is coming off of what was a disastrous 2021/22 season for himself. He began the year remaining with Jukurit, the same team he had played for the previous two seasons, but got out to an awful start to the season. With just five assists in 16 games for the offensive defenceman and an abysmal -11 rating, Rindell was traded to Liiga contender Kärpät, who were looking for defensive depth on the right side.
Upon moving to Kärpät, things improved slightly for Rindell, but ultimately the year as a whole was still a disappointment. He finished the regular season with 12 points in 26 games with Kärpät, having missed some time due to an injury. When he w …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Report: Sheldon Keefe signs two-year extension with Leafs

At least one pending free agent is off the table in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs have reportedly signed head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year extension. Keefe, 41, is entering his third season behind the Leafs bench.

Sources say Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has agreed to a 2-year extension. He was entering the final year of his deal. Signed through 23-24 now. More details on Insider Trading shortly on Sportscentre. @TSNHockey @TheAthletic
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 30, 2021

This extension keeps Keefe as Leafs head coach through the 2023/24 season. The three-year agreement he signed when he replaced Mike Babcock during the 2019/20 season was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign.
In his short time in Toronto, Sheldon Keefe has had an incredibly successful regular-season record. His .660 points percentage with the Leafs ranks as the best in Leafs history, ahead of Frank Carroll (1921, .625 PTS%) and Pat Quinn (1999-2006, .591 PTS%). Despite this, the pressure is on following two consecutive first-round exits under his tenure.
The timing of this extension is fascinating. With all eyes focused on the Leafs to perform in the postseason, a preseason contract extension for the head coach could be perceived as curious timing. In reality, …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Petr Mrazek’s upside makes signing him an undeniable win for the Maple Leafs

With the dust of a frenetic free agent frenzy having largely settled, the Maple Leafs came away with a number of intriguing names in their back pocket. Up front, the Maple Leafs added some size and skill to the mix with Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase, and Nick Ritchie. On the back-end, the club opted to keep their excellent defensive core together and add around the edges, making one small move for Brennan Menell from the Minnesota Wild. 
The biggest move of the Maple Leafs free-agent shopping spree, however, ultimately came in the form of the 29-year-old Czech Republic native Petr Mrazek. The Maple Leafs added the former Carolina Hurricane to a deal worth $11.4m over the next three seasons for an AAV of $3.8m per season. Reactions were somewhat mixed, though largely positive regarding the transaction, as Mrazek comes with plenty of promise based on his last season. Whether he can maintain that over a larger sample will largely determine how this contract is viewed into the future. 

Petr Mrazek, signed 3x$3.8M by TOR, didn’t play enough for a card this year, but he has a solid track record. He also saved 9.2 goals above expected in 12 games this season, …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

Summing up the Leafs’ roster additions and subtractions

The Free Agent Frenzy of 2021 has brought some new names and faces to the Leafs’ roster, with some notable departures as well. Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen are relatively long-serving Leafs that have moved on to other teams. To compensate, Kyle Dubas and company have brought in a few low-cost names to try to fill the gap Hyman left, and replaced Andersen with Petr Mrazek.
All signs point to the Leafs still working to add to this roster, and we could still see some players from last year moved out to make room, such as Pierre Engvall, Ilya Mikheyev or Travis Dermott. However, it still interests me to know how the additions and subtractions made so far have affected the team.
Before we start, I want to point you to the second part of my advanced stats primer, which gives what I think is a good description of where the “Wins Above Replacement” or “WAR” numbers we’re using below come from. In short, a couple folks much smarter than I have developed a model that boils down a lot of the things we know about advanced hockey stats into a few numbers that essentially show how much better or …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

The Marlies have a few free agents worth retaining

As we take an all encompassing look at the Leafs free agent situation this summer, it’s necessary to also consider what the Leafs will do in the way of the Marlies free agents. A decision was already made around Antti Suomela, and he was brought back on an AHL deal. A decision was seemingly made on Martin Marincin, who is rumoured to be returning to Slovakia. Whether he spearheaded that decision or the Leafs, it doesn’t really matter, but he will apparently be gone from the Leafs organization next season.
That leaves a handful of others that need at the very least some brief consideration and some others that are no brainers.
We’ll start with the no brainers.
Joseph Woll is a restricted free agent without arbitration rights. In all likelihood the Leafs will make him a qualifying offer and he’ll sign it. That will be the last we speak of this for two years. And honestly, that could be where the no brainer decisions end. Every other Marlie player up for free agency either has arbitration rights or will be an unrestricted free agent. That complicates things.
Veini Vehviläinen might be the next closest …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Alex Kerfoot is still searching for his place in the Leafs’ lineup

Much like a free agent who signs a burdensome contract will always be tied to his cap hit, Alex Kerfoot’s contributions to the Leafs will always be viewed through the lens of the deal that brought him to Toronto. Acquired in a trade that sent fan favorite Nazem Kadri to Colorado, the versatile forward has bounced around the Leafs’ lineup for the last two seasons while struggling to nail down a permanent role and make a consistent impact the way Kadri did in his time as a Leaf.
Despite being somewhat reduced by the narrative that has followed him throughout his Leafs tenure, Kerfoot is still an effective player that can fill a variety of roles throughout an NHL lineup. He is an excellent skater who plays a responsible defensive game and he can distribute the puck in transition while bringing tenacity on the forecheck. He doesn’t drive offense exceptionally well but he has decent vision and can chip in with the odd goal here and there. Kerfoot isn’t great at anything but he is good at a lot of things and that has proven to be something of a double edged sword for him as he …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Forrest Wall and Tyler White to minor-league deals

The Blue Jays have made free agent signings!

Minor-league signings, but signings nonetheless.
According to Robert Murray, the team has inked Forrest Wall and Tyler White to minor-league deals with invitations to spring training.

The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with 1B Tyler White and OF Forrest Wall on minor-league deals, source said. They include invites to spring training.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 15, 2020

Wall, of course, is a re-signing. He was one of the handful of players who were eligible for minor-league free agency after accumulating six seasons in the minors.
Originally drafted in the first-round of the 2014 draft by the Colorado Rockies, Wall was acquired by the Blue Jays in 2018 in the Seung-hwan Oh trade. Most recently, Wall slashed a .268/.351/.422 line between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. He’s still only 25 and was a top-100 prospect as recently as 2016, so there could still be a future there.
And then there’s Tyler White, a former member of both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s played first, second, third, left field, and pitcher in the Majors, but he’s generally a first baseman.
Much like former Astro Derek Fisher, White has posted some really, really good numbers …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A Marner bridge deal to make us all happy

The restricted free agent dominoes haven’t quite started to fall just yet, but with the signing of Blue Jackets’ defenceman Zach Werenski this morning, the talk of comparable value is sure to take off again for the next couple days, especially with training camps opening this week. Given Werenski is a blue-liner, his signing doesn’t do much to move the needle on Mitch Marner and other big name forwards like Point, Rantanen, and Tkachuk, but the structure – a three year bridge that averages out to $5-million annually – can give us some inspiration for a Marner deal if he chooses to go short term.

#CBJ have agreed to terms with RFA D Zach Werenski on a three-year, $15 million contract, as first reported by @KevinWeekes.
Deal should be official later today.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 9, 2019

Werenski’s contract shakes out like this: $4-million in year one, $4-million in year two, and a jump to $7-million in year three. Now at first glance this goes against what we’re used to seeing with front-loaded contracts where as much money is dished out early as possible. But in a bridge contract where Werenski will still be an RFA in three years, it …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Three restricted free agents for fans to keep an eye on this season

The 2020 free agent class doesn’t feature any marquee names. But there are a few players that the Toronto Raptors should be monitoring in case they become available next summer. This is a transition year for the Toronto Raptors. Masai Ujiri is on record stating that he won’t trade any of his veteran players before […]
Toronto Raptors: Three restricted free agents for fans to keep an eye on this season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mark Birdsell / Raptors HQ