Leafs sign Michael Bunting to a 2 year deal

The Maple Leafs announced Wednesday that they had agreed to a 2-year, $1.9M deal with 25-year-old winger Michael Bunting, for an annual cap hit of $950k

Michael Bunting’s deal in TOR is two years, with an AAV of $950K.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 28, 2021

Bunting has been rumoured to the Leafs all summer, both due to his Scarborough roots and his time playing under Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas with the Soo Greyhounds. With this latest Soo signing, Dubas has filled out his Greyhound loyalty card and is now eligible for one free Greyhound during his next visit to free agency.
The late-blooming Bunting, who has 26 NHL games experience spread across the last two seasons, put up 10 goals and 3 assists in 21 games last season with the Arizona Coyotes, shooting a blistering 26.3%. While it is extremely unlikely he will be able to keep up that shooting rate, Bunting should benefit from playing in the Leafs’ more up-tempo offensive system, especially if he finds himself with Auston Matthews or John Tavares as his centre. The versatile Bunting, who can play either wing, is the type of plug-and-play winger who brings many different elements to a line, making him an ideal addition for …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

The case for and against leaving Jared McCann exposed in the expansion draft

The case for and against leaving Jared McCann exposed in the expansion draft

When the Leafs announced they had acquired Jared McCann at a very low cost, fans were ecstatic that the team was adding a talented player at a reduced rate which would help the team on the path towards improving on the previous season’s unfortunate finale. So eyebrows were raised when they left him exposed ahead of the expansion draft, and then confusion turned to anger once reports came out that he was the player taken by the Seattle Kraken.
The frustration stem from the decision to leave Alexander Kerfoot unprotected when there were rumblings that he would be moved and with Justin Holl being one of the four defencemen protected despite a regression in the latter half of the 2021 campaign. Under normal circumstances, this would not be a major concern given the team views itself as a contender looking to do damage in the postseason. With the Leafs, these are not normal circumstances, especially because they were fresh off their biggest blown lead yet and the fanbase’s anger towards the team’s shortcomings is at an all-time high.
Now, there’s no question losing a player of McCann’s calibre stings, even if he isn’t high on …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Breyvic Valera is back, Nick Allgeyer has been designated for assignment

The Breyvic Valera era continues!

The Blue Jays announced today that the veteran utility infielder has been added to the 40-man roster and has been called up to the team ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader with the Texas Rangers. In a corresponding move, Jonathan Davis has been optioned to Triple-A and Nick Allgeyer has been designated for assignment.
It seems the Blue Jays want another infielder in the mix and Valera has hit very well in Triple-A this season, so he’s the one who ended up getting the call. Through 41 games, Valera is slashing a .313/.406/.460 line with 24 walks to 19 strikeouts. He can play second, third, and short, and also has made a few appearances in the outfield in his career.
I imagine that most people wanted to see Kevin Smith called up as he’s been absolutely mashing for the Thunder-Bisons, but the Blue Jays have a bit of a 40-man roster squeeze going on right now. Alejandro Kirk and Julian Merryweather will need to be re-added from the 60-day Injured List eventually and Valera is an easier player to DFA when that day comes.
And then there’s Allgeyer, who has spent a good chunk of his season …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors Flashback Friday: How Ted Stepien almost killed Toronto basketball in the 1980s

Raptors Flashback Friday: How Ted Stepien almost killed Toronto basketball in the 1980s

The Toronto Raptors were announced in November 1993, and they began their first season of play in 1995. The following decades have seen the team captivate Canada with their brand of basketball and take home a championship for the first time in 2018-19. However, they were almost beat to the punch by…the Toronto Towers? Outside […]
Raptors Flashback Friday: How Ted Stepien almost killed Toronto basketball in the 1980s – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Danny Jansen is back with the Blue Jays, Alejandro Kirk remains in Triple-A

The Blue Jays announced on Saturday that Danny Jansen has been activated from the 10-day Injured List. He’ll be active for tonight’s game against the Rays in Buffalo.

Heading down to Triple-A in his place, as expected, is Riley Adams, who went 3-for-28 with two walks and 12 strikeouts during his 12 games with the Blue Jays.
The big story here, though, is the team’s choice to leave Alejandro Kirk in Triple-A.
Back in spring training, the Blue Jays opted to keep Kirk over Reese McGuire even though it meant putting the more experienced catcher on waivers. Before Kirk got injured, he also seemed to be well on his way to taking over the starting catcher gig as Jansen wasn’t hitting at all.
Since then, McGuire we re-added to the 40-man roster and has been playing fairly well. Since Jansen was placed on the IL back on June 8, McGuire has appeared in 19 games and has slashed a .364/.397/.527 line with six doubles and a homer. He’s obviously going to regress from that level of production, but McGuire’s hot streak has certainly earned him playing time.
Also, he doesn’t have any options left and it’s difficult …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Six announce they’ve signed Saroya Tinker

The Toronto Six announced the signing of Saroya Tinker this morning for Season 7 of the NWHL. In Season 6, both Tinker and the Toronto Six made their NWHL debuts at the Lake Placid tournament-style season back in January/February this year. The Oshawa native returns home to join the only Canadian team (so far) in the NWHL.
The bubble season in Lake Placid didn’t go totally according to plans, especially so for Tinker, whose first season with the Metropolitan Riveters was cut short due to COVID-19 exposures among the team. This exposure came at the exact same time as the Riveters were facing some turmoil for a different reason, which was the divided support of the misogynistic sports website, Barstool Sports. Tinker, who publicly expressed disgust with Barstool Sports, as I and many others within sports have done in the past, including TSN’s Gord Miller.
Tinker is also an active supporter of Black Girl Hockey Club, which is a community-focused space for Black women in hockey.
However, politics aren’t why Toronto Six fans should be excited about Tinker, at least not the only reason why. She comes with a high potential of becoming a star defender in the …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Bullpen help! The Blue Jays acquire Jacob Barnes from the New York Mets

Today, the Jays announced that they traded 24-year-old minor leaguer Troy Miller to the Mets in exchange for the 31-year-old reliever Jacob Barnes.

Let me just tell you that the ERA stat is not the most sophisticated descriptor of how good a pitcher is. Jays fans immediately flocked to whatever medium they use to view stats and saw a glaring 6.27 ERA. His FIP this season doesn’t fare much better, coming in at 6.22. However, his xFIP is at an acceptable 4.29.
So why the inflated ERA? Well because he gives up a boatload of HR/9. This season, his HR/9 is at a very scary 2.89 while his HR/FB% is at 25%. It’s safe to say his 18.2 IP this season for the Mets has been pretty poor. If you’ve paid close attention, I have been saying “this season” describing a 31-year-old. There’s more to the story than just a 6.27 ERA and HR/9 of 2.89.
Last season for the Angels, he pitched 18 innings. This season, he had a 5.50 ERA, which again, doesn’t look great on paper. However, looking at better metrics than ERA, we can see his FIP was an astounding 2.25 while his xFIP was a 3.24. He struggled in 2019, but his …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Marlies to play 72 games in 2021-22 season

The AHL announced today that the Toronto Marlies will play 72 games in their upcoming season which will begin on October 15th.

The AHL Board of Governors has approved a schedule unification plan that will see every team play 72 games beginning in 2022-23.
Alignment and schedule lengths for 2021-22 have also been set.
Details: https://t.co/RY25ya38VC pic.twitter.com/FFoKPfux0W
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) June 7, 2021

Toronto will be a part of the North Division with the Belleville Senators, Cleveland Monsters, Laval Rocket, Rochester Americans, Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets. All of Toronto, Belleville, Laval and Utica will each player 72 games this season, while the remaining teams in the division play 76.
The league Board of Governors also approved a “schedule unification plan” that will see all AHL teams play 72 games beginning in the 2022-23 season.
“I am very pleased that we were able to achieve a schedule of 72 games for all teams in the American Hockey League,” said American Hockey League President and CEO, Scott Howson. “In coming together to create a plan that is fair and equitable, our owners have demonstrated a commitment to the long-term strength of the league.”
The AHL also said there will be …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign SHL playoff MVP Pontus Holmberg to two-year entry level contract

The Maple Leafs announced on Friday that the team has signed SHL playoff MVP Pontus Holmberg to a two-year entry level contract. Holmberg was selected by the Leafs in the sixth-round of the 2018 NHL draft and has spent the last three seasons playing for the Växjö Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League.

We’ve signed forward Pontus Holmberg to a two-year entry level contract. #LeafsForever
Details » https://t.co/JqCZbePk3C pic.twitter.com/HeAjZhNB63
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 4, 2021

Holmberg tallied nine goals and 14 assists through 45 regular season games, earning Swedish Forward of the Year honors, and picked up his offensive production in the playoffs, scoring seven goals and seven assists in 14 games to help lead Växjö to an SHL championship. He also suited up in a pair of games for Sweden at the recent World Hockey Championships, earning valuable international experience. The Leafs will loan the 22-year-old forward back to Växjö for the 2021-2022 campaign where he will once again be a key piece for one of the SHL’s top teams.

Pontus Holmberg has done it again!!!! The #LeafsForever prospect scores in overtime to give Vaxjo a 3-1 series lead in the #SHL Finals!
5 …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs have a new look player development department

With the recently announced departure of Scott Pellerin it was only a matter of time before we saw a shuffle in regards to the Leafs Player Development department, those changes have come down today.
From the Leafs press release:
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has elevated Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser to the role of Senior Director of Player Development and hired Danielle Goyette as the club’s Director of Player Development. Maple Leafs Player Development Consultant Darryl Belfry and Belfry Hockey Inc. will oversee the technical development of the club’s players and staff, while Will Sibley has been promoted to Director of Development Operations and Analysis.
So as a Leafs fan it’s hard not to excited about these changes. First of all, DOCTOR Hayley Wickenheiser is an absolute legend, and having her taken on an even more prominent role while she starts her residency speaks not only to how much the Leafs value her work, but also how astonishing Hayley is as she balances a senior position with the Leafs while working as a physician. Suddenly my blogging/day job balance seems unimpressive (editor’s note: it was never impressive.)
The Leafs bringing in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation