The Battle of Ontario resumes tonight as the Maple Leafs take on the Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators in their home opener of the 2021 season. Last game, the Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in Overtime thanks to Morgan Rielly’s OT winner.
Youth Movement
Tonight is the highly anticipated NHL debut for 2020 second overall pick Tim Stutzle. Along with Stutzle, the Senators will also have Josh Norris and Drake Batherson in the lineup tonight, two players who lit the AHL on fire with Belleville last season. Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot are also a year older, giving Ottawa a nice core of young players (unfortunately).
A year removed from finishing second last in the NHL, this season looks like a transition year for the Sens, as they try to build a contending team. The Sens added vets such as Derek Stepan, Evgenii Dadonov, Erik Gudbranson and Matt Murray to help ease the burden on the youngsters on the team.
The Senators are still a work in progress, but I wouldn’t be proclaiming a season sweep by the Leafs this season. I would expect the Leafs to have to really earn every two points against the Sens this season. DJ …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win against the Hornets

Takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win against the Hornets

The Toronto Raptors finally get back into the win column after defeating the Charlotte Hornets at home. Coming off a disappointing latter end of their western conference road trip, the Toronto Raptors were able to turn things around with a win against the Charlotte Hornets. Although it didn’t come in the way Toronto would’ve desired, […]
Takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win against the Hornets – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1999, Toronto Maple Leafs trade Felix Potvin for Bryan Berard

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 

This week in 1999 (Jan. 9), the Toronto Maple Leafs traded long-time goaltender Felix Potvin to the New York Islanders for defenceman Bryan Berard.
It ended an eight-year run for Potvin with the franchisee who drafted him in the second round of the 1990 draft. Potvin broke onto the scene in 1992-93 with the Leafs playing in 48 games and posting a 25-15-7 record and a .910 save percentage. Named to the all-rookie team and placing fourth in Vezina voting, it was clear that the Leafs had their goalie of the future.
Over the next six seasons, Potvin would be just that. He played in 369 games for the Leafs posting a 160-149-49 record and a .908 save percentage.
But in 1998, the Leafs inked Curtis Joseph as a free agent and Potvin only played five games before going down with a knee injury. It made the latter expendable, and Toronto made the deal.
Potvin never was able to regain the success he had in the Six, and bounced between the Islanders, LA Kings, and Vancouver Canucks before retiring in 2004 with the Boston Bruins.
Berard, meanwhile, only played in parts of two seasons with the Leafs scoring 49 points …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Revisiting my projections for the Leafs Opening Night Lineup

The Leafs are finally back and they kicked off the new season with a big win over their longtime rivals. There are few things in hockey sweeter than beginning the campaign with a victory over the Canadiens, especially in overtime.
All throughout the game, I was reflecting on the lineup projections I made for this very game way back in October shortly after Joe Thornton signed with the Leafs. I wanted to know if my guesses were right on the money or hilariously wrong. I was aware of when I wrote the piece:
Until that date comes, all we can do is speculate our best guesses for what the Leafs might do with their lineups for the coming season and who might fit best in other spots. We are quite removed from when the campaign could potentially start so it’s entirely possible that my projections could be well off the mark. Add to the fact that there remain questions of whether the AHL season can be played and if there will be expanded rosters, you have a perfect storm of an article that may one day end up being mocked for being completely wrong.
But we’re going to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs’ taxi squad appears to be set

Hockey is finally back today and with it comes the final adjustments to the rosters for opening night. This year is a little bit different (not just because no one is allowed to attend the games live) as the NHL has implemented a taxi squad rule for the 2021 season to help fringe players stay on the ice and remain with the team instead of being stuck in hockey limbo.
It took them a while but the Leafs appear to have put together their taxi squad for the beginning of the campaign.

Toronto Maple #Leafs have opted to start with a 5 player taxi squad:
Forwards:RobertsonBrooksBoyd
Defense:LehtonenSandinhttps://t.co/BPt2vFET34
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 13, 2021

Upon first glance, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises when it comes to who’s on the list at the start of 2021. Nick Robertson, Mikko Lehtonen, and Rasmus Sandin are all good enough to play in the Leafs lineup right away and them not being in the active lineup is a byproduct of simply having too many quality players. Adam Brooks and Travis Boyd both had impressive showings in the scrimmage last Saturday which might have been enough to earn them a spot on …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Lamenting the Leafs: Fred on a leash

Leafs hockey is finally back! There are still a few hours to kill until puck drop so be sure to check out the season preview episode of Lamenting the Leafs featuring:

discussion on how the Leafs goaltending situation could shake out
reactions from the Blue and White scrimmage
thoughts on the new look top line and Matthews killing penalties
recap of the World Juniors and how the Leafs’ prospects fared
bold predictions for the season, and more!

If you like what you hear, be sure to rate and subscribe on whatever podcast platforms you use. Thanks!
Apple: https://t.co/tfBEmegqft?amp=1
Spotify: https://t.co/3JlHw3PrWq?amp=1
Google: https://t.co/WZnrGsYOjX?amp=1
SoundCloud: https://t.co/yFpQeql0Nz?amp=1

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Beginner’s Guide to the 2020-21 Toronto Maple Leafs: The Offense

Hello, and welcome back to my Beginner’s Guide series for this year’s Toronto Maple Leafs. If you missed it, I introduced the series on Friday talking about the team in general, but now we get to talk a bit more about the players themselves. Today we’ll be focusing on the offensive side of the ice, so I’ll provide you with some expectations for our offense and our power play, as well as the forwards. Let’s get right to it.
The offense
Part of what has made the Leafs a consistent playoff team over the last few years is their skilled and speedy forwards. That starts at the top with our main core of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander (and Morgan Rielly on the back end being an offensive minded player as well), and in the past few years has also trickled down on the depth charts as well.
Because of a need to move out money to improve our defense, that isn’t as much of the case this year. While we still have a pretty good bottom two lines, there are a lot more question marks this season than in …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the numbers: Auston Matthews

Every year, I try and look back on certain players’ past seasons and try to prepare myself for what’s next with that player. Today, I try and predict how Auston Matthews plays in this upcoming season.
If you’ve forgotten, the 23-year-old was one goal off of a tie for the Rocket Richard trophy. Both David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin had 48 goals, while Matthews had 47. More importantly though, he had 35 even-strength goals which was a tie for the lead league, with again, Ovechkin.
Matthews has been one of the most dominant players since entering the NHL back in 2016 — growing into the two-way centre that we all imagined him to be. He has 158 goals and 127 assists in 282 games, which puts him 19th in the NHL for points since his draft day.
I know we can all agree that he’s a great player. Scoring goals, getting back in the play when it’s in the Maple Leafs’ zone, and even picking the pockets of other players (which he’s incredible at) are all massive attributes to his game. However, there’s one attribute that he’s brought with him to the NHL that’s made him such an incredible player …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Throwback Thursday: This week in 1992, Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Doug Gilmour in 10-player blockbuster

Welcome back to another edition of Throwback Thursday! 
This week in 1992, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a massive move acquiring Doug Gilmour in a 10-player trade from the Calgary Flames.
Gilmour, then 28, was a key cog in the Calgary Flames 1989 Stanley Cup win and in coming to Toronto the hope was that prowess would follow. While he was an offensive wizard posting the best offensive years of his career, the Leafs were unable to win a cup.
That, all the while, making a deep run into the conference finals in 1993 before falling in game seven to the LA Kings. He was electric in those playoffs scoring 11 goals and as many assists in 22 playoff games that season.
The trade was a massive deal at the time. Toronto also acquired other key pieces from that ’89 cup winning team in Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley, while giving up Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube.
Gilmour left the Leafs in a 1997 trade when he was sent to the New Jersey Devils.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the Numbers: Frederik Andersen

From the day he first arrived in Toronto back in 2016 up until today, Frederik Andersen has remained one of the Leafs’ biggest x-factors each and every season. The team would only be able to go as far as he could take them and that has usually meant the decisive game of the first round. While just getting to the postseason the first time around was a blessing, the fanbase has since been clamouring for the team to do something they haven’t done since 2004: win a playoff round.
To this point, Andersen has yet to push his team over that final hurdle needed to advance deeper into spring whilst sporting a putrid 0-8 record in his last eight series-deciding games. With little time left for him to redeem himself in the playoffs and rumblings about his future, it’s starting to become apparent that his tenure as a Leaf is nearing its conclusion.
This is why Andersen’s number is 1.
It’s how many years are left on the five-year contract he signed with the Leafs shortly after being acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. And by the time his contract expires, Andersen will likely have to head …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation