The Leafs don’t need to acquire toughness

The Leafs don’t need to acquire toughness

With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching, there’s still no consensus within the fanbase or the media on what the Toronto Maple Leafs biggest area of need is.
For what seems like months now, the common perception on the team’s most dire need is a stereotypical ‘tough’ defenceman in the style of Josh Manson or Ben Chiarot. The kind of guy who cannot move the puck to save their life, but who keeps the front of the net clear and makes life difficult for opposing forwards. More recently, with the injury to Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek making himself a non-option at the NHL level, the focus is now on goaltending as the area they most need to upgrade in. A few weeks ago, Kyle Dubas stated that he was likely to only make one move at the deadline “probably on defence.”
It is not known whether the GM’s approach has shifted in light of the goaltending issues, such as if an extra move is now in the cards, or whether his one trade will now get bigger to try and address multiple areas of need. On the most recent edition of The Chris Johnston Show, the NHL insider mused that the Leafs “had to be looki …

Read More

Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

The Maple Leafs need consistent goaltending if they want to make a run in the playoffs

When approaching the NHL trade deadline, we knew the Maple Leafs needed a defenceman and a top-six forward, but will they be looking at a goaltender too?
After the strong start to Jack Campbell’s season where it felt like he was playing every game, his play has seemed to cool down. A lot.
Looking at Saturday’s game was a prime example of just how much the 30-year-old’s game has changed. Toronto had a 7-2 lead heading into the third period, and somehow, Detroit was able to claw their way back and make it a 7-6 hockey game. When a team like the Maple Leafs is a possible contender, this shouldn’t be happening.
While you can say that this is Toronto’s style of play (which it is), at some point it has to stop if they want to be serious about winning.
But I don’t think you can blame the players after a performance like that, since they had 10 goals. This game was all goaltending.
“He’s got to be better,” said Sheldon Keefe of Campbell’s game on Saturday night. “That goal to start the (third) period, it’s a nothing play, really. It’s a routine save that he can make there and doesn’t, and then it kind of snowballs obviously from there. So …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Dreger reporting the Leafs looking at multiple assets ahead of the trade deadline

It seems like we’re approaching a very busy NHL trade deadline for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After Jake Muzzin was injured in Monday’s game vs. the Montreal Canadiens, he was sent to the hospital for further testing. Sheldon Keefe said Muzzin returned to the hotel after and was feeling better, but has since went back to Toronto.
“He’s travelled home, here today, and is resting there,” Keefe said prior to Toronto’s game against Columbus. “He’s just going to go through concussion protocols and all that kind of stuff, but we’ll be patient with that of course. But all considered, it’s positive today in terms of how he’s responded.”
The Maple Leafs have a decision to make in the coming days or weeks with whether or not they want to place Muzzin on LTIR. That decision also depends on if Muzzin wants to be placed there until the playoffs begin.
If Toronto does place him on long-term injured reserve, it opens up close to $5.6 million in cap space for Dubas to work with. And by the sounds of things, it seems like the Maple Leafs might go for it when they find the right deal.
On Tuesday, during Insider Trading, TSN’s Darren Dreger discussed a few players Toronto might be looking at ahe …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays Top Prospects Countdown: Pitchers who didn’t crack the Top 20

With the minor league season quickly approaching, it’s time to look at the Blue Jays top 20 prospects, one by one. I can tell you right now that after all 22 articles are released, you will be shocked. There’ll be a lot of names you didn’t expect, but due to their 2021 performance, they deserved a spot.

However, the first two articles in the series will be focusing on the position players and pitchers that missed out. These players make this list for a variety of reasons, such as they aren’t considered a prospect anymore, they’re a new draftee or they’re facing an injury to start the minor league season.
Here are 15 pitchers that missed the list worth keeping an eye on, starting from the Majors and working down to the Rookie Leagues…
Nate Pearson:
Due to the fact that he lost his rookie eligibility last season, Nate Pearson will not rank on the Top 20 list. This doesn’t mean that the 25-year-old flamethrower doesn’t have potential, as he pitched for a 2.84 ERA and 3.72 FIP in 12.2 innings out of the bullpen. Pearson also had an astronomical K/9 of 14.21, finishing with 20 strikeouts in that time frame.
The key to Pearson’s development is that he stays healthy and limits the walks. Nate may never be a regular starter, but the sky’s the limit for him to become an effective reliever.
2022 start: Blue Jays Bullpen
Bow …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Reviewing Kyle Dubas’ trade history as Leafs GM

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and the Leafs got some business done early, shipping Nick Ritchie to Arizona and creating a bit more roster flexibility in the process. It sounds like this won’t be the last move the Leafs make ahead of the deadline and with that in mind, I decided to dive into Kyle Dubas’ trade history since taking over the Leafs’ GM job.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll be focusing solely on the trades that the Leafs have made since Dubas was appointed as GM. So while he has been credited with spearheading deals like acquiring Zach Hyman from Florida or faulted for trading down from the 24th pick and passing on Sebastian Aho in the 2015 draft during his time as assistant GM, those moves aren’t included in his body of work as the man calling the shots.
Let’s get to the trades.
June 8, 2018
To Leafs
To Oilers

2020 7th round pick (EDM conditional)

Nolan Vesey

Analysis: Not a whole lot to analyze in Dubas’ first trade. The Leafs selected Vesey in the sixth round of the 2014 draft and he wasn’t going to factor into the new regime’s plans.
Dubas shipped him to Edmonton in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick that would change hands if Vesey met an undisclosed games played threshold before his entry level contract expired. Vesey never established himself as a reliable AHL player, let alone an NHL option, and the conditions of the traded pick were never met.
In the end, this was nothing more than clearing space on Toronto’s reserve …

Read More

Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Digging into Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects list and Baseball America’s farm system rankings

With the baseball season quickly approaching, it is that time of year in which scouts and journalists release their top farm systems as well as top 100 prospects. Recently, I covered Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 prospects in baseball list and today I’ll be giving my opinions on both Baseball America’s farm rankings and Keith Law’s top 100 prospects.

Baseball America’s rankings…
According to Baseball America, the Blue Jays have the 19th best (or 11th worst) farm system. Gabriel Moreno ranks as the 7th best prospect, Nate Pearson as the 62nd best prospect and Orelvis Martinez as the 75th best prospect.
I won’t lie, this caught me off guard quite a bit, considering they were ranked 10th by Baseball America after both Simeon Woods Richardson and Austin Martin were traded. Furthermore, Alek Manoah (or Alex Manoah, according to BA) had already graduated at this point. In fact, only Alejandro Kirk has graduated since this report.
So what’s the reason for the Jays’ drop? Well, Jordan Groshans was ranked as the 77th best prospect in baseball when the 2021 mid-season report came out, but he’s not even ranked in the top 100 this season. I don’t necessarily disagree with this, as you’ll find out why later in the article.
Orelvis Martinez’s drop…
However, Orelvis Martinez ranked 54th in the mid-season 2021 report, but drops to 75th. This 21 rank drop makes absolutely no sense to me, as 2021 was Martinez’s breakout year. He absolutely dominated Low A, hitting 19 home runs and slashing .279/.369/.943. 
The 19-year-old then went to High A and played 27 games where he hit 9 home runs and slash …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Are the 2021-22 Raptors a playoff team in the East?

Toronto Raptors: Are the 2021-22 Raptors a playoff team in the East?

The 2021-22 NBA season is fast approaching for the Toronto Raptors, and the question is, is this team better than last year’s team and a playoff team compared to the other Eastern Conference teams? The Raptors had it rough last season playing down in Tampa, it’s no secret to anyone. However, the team is back […]
Toronto Raptors: Are the 2021-22 Raptors a playoff team in the East? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

10 notable games to watch during the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021-22 season

The 2021-22 NHL season is fast approaching for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and there are a handful of notable games on their schedule that all fans should be looking forward to this season. Whether the most exciting game to you is the Maple Leafs season opener or home opener, the game where they play a big rival, a game where they play the team that knocked them out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs the year prior… we won’t go there.
Anyways, this season is going to be a great one, not only because we fans get hockey back again, but it’s also an 82-game season and the normal divisions are back for the first time since the 2019-20 season. All in all, this season is filled with games that are must-watch if you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and I’m going to get into them right now.
 
Game 1: October 13, 2021 – Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs – @ 7:00 PM ET
The first notable game on the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021-22 schedule is none other than their first game of the season which they play on home ice. What better way than playing your first game of …

Read More

Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 5 most interesting trade deadline deals in Raptors history

Toronto Raptors: 5 most interesting trade deadline deals in Raptors history

The 2021 NBA trade deadline is approaching rapidly, and the Toronto Raptors have been named in a fair share of the gossip, as their losing streak has Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell among the names that could be dealt in the next few days. Granted, the COVID-19 disaster that hit the team right before the […]
Toronto Raptors: 5 most interesting trade deadline deals in Raptors history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: 3 reasons to make a trade at NBA trade deadline

Toronto Raptors: 3 reasons to make a trade at NBA trade deadline

With the trade deadline fast approaching, the Toronto Raptors have until a week to decide whether to make a trade or not. Their decision affects their chances of making the playoffs this year, as selling could be taking as a sign of waiving the white flag. The Raptors could decide to sell off some assets […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 reasons to make a trade at NBA trade deadline – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ