Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

In what has been a difficult year for the world and the Toronto Raptors because of COVID-19, the troubles were exacerbated by racial inequality. It’s a subject that nearly derailed the restart of the NBA season, but the Raptors are an example of how to be in these turbulent times. The Toronto Raptors lost a […]
Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

MAILBAG: Who replaces Andersen, Does Marner Deserve an A, and more…

It’s been a while since we’ve done a mailbag, so in this the beginning of the dark of void of no transactions and no hockey being played, we thought we’d reach out to you, our beautiful readers to see what’s on your mind, and what we can answer for you. Our writers were eager to answer, and I’m pretty sure everything we’ve said is 100% correct, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff.

If Freddie wants a big raise next offseason, who’s a tendy Dubas should look at as a replacement in free agency or a trade?
— Lyle (@InsiderLyle) October 20, 2020

Michael Mazzei: I don’t think the Leafs should be quick to search for a new goalie via trade or free agency. They have two serviceable netminders in Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell on the roster and there is a real chance that they could be the tandem heading into 2021-22. Kyle Dubas made the move to acquire Campbell in part because of his potential and also his track record of progression. We saw briefly how much his presences helped stabilized the backup position and raise questions as to whether he should be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Amirov update, Prospect on pause, Akhtyamov gets the call

While Kyle Dubas and his staff have been hard at work reshaping the Maple Leafs roster and adding veterans such as TJ Brodie, Wayne Simmonds, and Zach Bogosian to the fold, several of the organization’s younger talents have continued their work towards staking their own claim to a Leafs roster spot in the future. In this, the strangest of fall seasons in which there is barely any high level hockey taking place in North America, it’s exciting for Leafs fans to have so many of the organization’s prospects playing overseas while we await the next NHL season. Let’s get to it.
Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa
The Leafs’ most recent first round selection has predominantly played right wing on Ufa’s first line in the early part of the season but found himself on the left side of the third line for yesterday’s game. Just barely 19 years old, Amirov has been playing big minutes in a prime role against more mature players and has not looked out of place. His three goals and three assists through the first 14 games of the KHL season have already tripled his output from the 21 games he played …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Good Idea/Bad Idea: Joe Thornton to the Leafs?

It’s been eight months since this site really committed some time to the notion of Joe Thornton being a Leaf. We were pretty sure it was going to happen at the trade deadline, and when it didn’t I don’t think any of us assumed it would be gone forever.

Joe Thornton and the Maple Leafs reportedly have “some mutual interest” in free agencyhttps://t.co/A8ptAPuKua pic.twitter.com/AYY3b6tkEd
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) October 13, 2020

Fact of the matter is, now might be the best time to revisit it. It’s painfully clear the Sharks aren’t going to be good next year. It’s painfully clear that Joe Thornton can’t exactly ask for much, and would have to fall into the Spezza to Simmonds range of salary, and it’s painfully clear that both sides have been interested in making this happen. So now it’s time to explore if this is a Good Idea or a Bad Idea.

GOOD IDEA!
Well, unless there is something seriously wrong with you, there’s a good chance that you are somewhat of a fan of Joe Thornton. Or a fan of what Joe Thornton …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Shopping for a third string goaltender

A lot of the heavily lifting has been done. Tweaking remains, and it might be heavy tweaking, but there really only seems to be one must do left on the Leafs to do list and that is track down a third string goaltender.

Toronto.. Thank YouThese last 4 years have been filled with amazing moments like Fox’s birth, my NHL debut with @MapleLeafs, and playoff runs with @TorontoMarlies. We are grateful for all the teammates and friends we’ve met along the way.– Kaskisuo Family pic.twitter.com/5EZOMZazEr
— Kasimir Kaskisuo (@Kaskisuo) October 12, 2020

Kaskisuo leaving creates a hole in the Leafs depth chart, and it’s one that we can comfortably fill with Joseph Woll or Ian Scott, although that tandem might be how things end up playing out. Instead the Leafs could be looking to upgrade at the position, which no offense to Kaskisuo, who is great person by all accounts, he was not a goaltender you’d feel comfortable sliding into the backup role if one of the two NHL goaltenders was injured. The Leafs needed to move on, and that is especially true in a year that is going to feature more back to backs than ever, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs have a strong case against Ilya Mikheyev in arbitration

One thing that may have been lost in the shuffle a busy Day 2 of free agency for the Leafs is that winger Ilya Mikheyev filed for salary arbitration after being unable to come to terms with the Leafs on a new contract prior to the arbitration filing deadline.
The Leafs had qualified Mikheyev earlier in the week so as to retain his negotiating rights. What is interesting is that the NHL’s qualifying offer rules dictate that the Leafs had to give Mikheyev a two-way offer with a 5% raise on his base salary of $832,500 from last season, meaning that if Mikheyev were to accept the QO his cap hit for next season would have been a few dollars short of $875,000.
That’s not going to happen, though. Considering his immediate contributions to the Maple Leafs this season it is understandable that Mikheyev and his camp may be expecting more than a 5% bump in base salary, especially when taking into account Mikheyev’s total compensation including his signing bonus was $925,000 last season. However, there are a few things that may be working against Ilya and his agent when it comes to his arbitration case, which may make settling beforehand the smartest …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Unqualified RFAs could provide an upgrade on depth for the Leafs

A lot has been made about how the Restricted Free Agents that weren’t qualified by their teams were going to create a secondary free agent market worth exploring. While to some extent that’s true, it’s equally worth noting that the players it produced are a couple of sheltered scorers and primarily bottom six forwards, or bottom pairing defensemen. There may be some role players and a couple of guys who could use a change of scenery, but not a list that should alter any plans of attack for first thing Friday.
When looking at the list of unqualified RFAs on PuckPedia and filtering by players who played at least 10 games in the NHL last season, there were 24 players left (excluding those recently let go from the Leafs)

Player
Cap Hit
Age
Pos
Shoots
GP
G
A
P
DFF%
CF%
P60

Andreas Athanasiou
$3,000,000
26
LW
L
55
11
15
26
44.81
45.08
0.34

Troy Stecher
$2,325,000
26
D
R
69
5
12
17
47.3
48.1
1.01

Devin Shore
$2,300,000
26
LW
L
45
5
7
12
45.32
46.55
2.13

Matt Benning
$1,900,000
26
D
R
43
1
7
8
49.5
48.2
0.89

Mark Jankowski
$1,675,000
26
C
L
56
5
2
7
50.4
49.4
0.87

Anthony Duclair
$1,650,000
25
LW
L
66
23
17
40
48.7
47.4
2.05

Vinnie Hinostroza
$1,500,000
26
RW
R
68
5
17
22
46.8
49.6
1.48

Mirco Mueller
$1,400,000
25
D
L
50
2
5
7
43.5
43.7
0.4

Nick Cousins
$1,000,000
27
C
L
65
10
15
25
55.98
54.75
2.58

Brett Ritchie
$1,000,000
27
RW
R
27
2
4
6
47.3
51
0.92

Madison Bowey
$1,000,000
25
D
R
53
3
14
17
43.6
44.4
1.11

Dominik Kahun
$925,000
25
LW
L
56
12
19
31
49.45
50.15
3.61

Jayce Hawryluk
$874,125
24
RW
R
26
3
7
10
53.14
53.43
3.05

Brendan Perlini
$874,125
24
LW
L
40
1
3
4
36.98
41.74
1.42

Travis …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mitch Marner and a line change that might just fix the Leafs

It has been over two months since the Leafs were eliminated in the qualifying round by the Blue Jackets, and the time since has sparked an array of ideas trying to determine what went wrong and how the team can solve it. These range from signing a noted defenceman on the Blues, all the way to ludicrous armchair trades that involve moving the stars for grit.
I’m no stranger to this line of thinking (look no further than my post on Frederik Andersen’s future) and it is something we will all experience as sports fans on numerous occasions. But there are sometimes where you come up with a potential solution that seems so ludicrous in theory that it may just work if done in practice. The kind of ideas that makes you look like a conspiracy theorist as you attempt to explain your rationale. Those schemes that only a person with too much free time on their hands would dare to think up in their heads.
I recently had one of those ideas come to me during a conversation with a friend and I believe that it might just crazy enough to work in reality. The title suggests …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs 2020 NHL draft recap

The final major event in what has been the longest year in hockey history has come and gone, with the draft itself feeling like the longest in the NHL’s history too. Relying on all the hard work done by Kyle Dubas and his scouting staff over the last calendar year, the Leafs added 12 new prospects to their organization when the 2020 draft was all said and done.
1st round (15th overall): Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

Year
Team
League
GP
G
A
P

2019-2020
Salavat Yulaev Ufa
KHL
21
0
2
2

Toros Neftekamsk
VHL
5
1
2
3

Tolpar Ufa
MHL
17
10
12
22

2020-2021
Salavat Yulaev Ufa
KHL
10
3
2
5

Toros Neftekamsk
VHL
3
1
1
2

The Rodion Amirov selection was met with disappointment and frustration from some fans, stemming from the belief that the Leafs should have drafted a player that filled a more pressing need on the roster. The fact is that any player drafted at that point is highly unlikely to step into the NHL immediately, never mind address a pressing need for their team.
In Rod the Leafs trust

Amirov had been ranked right around the middle of the first round for most of the year leading up to the draft and the Leafs grabbed the best …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation