I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed in the Leafs

Before even getting started into any of this, I want to take a moment as the Managing Editor of The Leafs Nation to thank all of you that chose to read our site over the past year. Coming out of the Montreal series last year it seemed easy to quit on the Leafs, and instead, we saw our readership grow to record numbers over the past year and that has taught me that “The Passion” is an authentic thing with the Leafs fanbase.
I’d also like to take a moment to thank the wonderful contributors to TLN. We’ve produced a ton of content this year and in my opinion been the most interesting source for Leafs news on the world wide web. This group has a bright future, and the fact that this season for the first time in site history we had credentialed coverage of the Leafs, Marlies, and the Growlers is a first for the site that I am very proud of, but can’t take any of the credit for. Couple that with great coverage of Leafs prospect, CBA knowledge that is second to none, Toronto Six coverage, and the ability to break down all things Leafs, this group got it done, an …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Blue Jays activate Teoscar Hernandez, lose Gosuke Katoh to New York Mets on waivers

A pair of roster moves came hours before the Toronto Blue Jays’ Saturday doubleheader.

The Jays activated Teoscar Hernandez off the IL as the slugger makes his return, while the club also lost Gusoke Katoh on waivers to the Mets. Toronto DFA’d Katoh on Wednesday.
Hernandez returns to the Jays lineup and will be active as the 27th man for today’s games. Teo will draw in for the second game but can pinch-hit in game one if need be.
He’s been out of the lineup since April 13th dealing with an oblique injury and the Jays’ offence has sputtered without him. Injecting him back into the lineup, even if just for game two today, will be a much-needed addition. He appeared in six games earlier this year slashing .316/.435/.526 with six hits, one dinger and three RBI.
Katoh, meanwhile, is off to joins the Mets and has been assigned to their Triple-A club in Syracuse. Beyond having a legendary walkup song, NEver Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley, he got into a few games for the Jays this year in a pinch in what was his first MLB action. The 27-year-old had one hit, a double, and three walks in his 11 plate appearances.
While not a major loss, Katoh had spent nearly a deca …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

4 lessons learned from Raptors’ surprising run in 2022 Playoffs

4 lessons learned from Raptors’ surprising run in 2022 Playoffs

Before you cringe at the notion that this first-round exit Toronto Raptors squad is close to winning the big time after getting knocked out of the playoffs by a division rival, take a second to consider the strength of this Raptors roster from the top down. Pascal Siakam cemented himself in these playoffs as an […]
4 lessons learned from Raptors’ surprising run in 2022 Playoffs – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

The case for Calder: Michael Bunting

With the announcement from Sheldon Keefe before Tuesday’s game versus Detroit that Michael Bunting would not play this week, the Leafs’ top left-winger closes out his first full season in the league with a very impressive 63 points in 79 games. Is that enough to capture Toronto’s 11th Calder Trophy?
There is no shortage of worthy nominees for the rookie of the year trophy. The flashy Anaheim centre Trevor Zegras will likely be at the top of a lot of ballots, as will one, if not both of Detroit’s quality rookies, Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. Just because Bunting leads the pack in scoring (he holds a 4 point lead over Zegras and a 14 point lead over Seider) that’s not a guarantee that he’s a lock to win the award, although there are a lot of precedents set in that regard.
In terms of the case against Bunting, there really isn’t one. Naysayers will point to his age and say he’s not a rookie, but both Artemi Panarin and Kirill Kaprizov have won the award in the past decade outside of the “traditional” rookie age, so that cannot be brought into the equation on any legitimate argument against.
Another popular statement among detractors is that he’s a pro …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of memorable 2006-07 Raptors

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of memorable 2006-07 Raptors

It’s easy to forget that before Masai Ujiri helped turn the Toronto Raptors into one of the most consistently excellent franchises in the league, success in the postseason was often hard to come by. With FanSided’s 15th anniversary on Friday, let’s wind back the clock to 2007, load up Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight on […]
Celebrating the 15th anniversary of memorable 2006-07 Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Maple Leafs trade deadline move everyone is overlooking

Ninety minutes before this year’s NHL trade deadline, Kyle Dubas made a deal with David Poile and the Nashville Predators. The trade was Alex Biega going from the Leafs to the Predators in exchange for everyone’s favourite, future considerations.

TRADE: We’ve traded defenceman Alex Biega to Nashville in exchange for future considerations. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/hGGradEFoK
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 21, 2022

Before you click away, April 1st isn’t until Friday, so no, I am not joking. There is more to this article than just Biega for future considerations, though. This deal could be the Maple Leafs giving Biega a better opportunity to play in the NHL. In Toronto, Biega was probably ninth or tenth on the organizational depth chart on the blue line. This trade also frees up a contract slot for the Leafs to sign NCAA or European free agents. The team has already signed Nick Abruzzese to an entry-level contract and will probably look into doing the same with Matthew Knies whenever his season concludes. Puck Pedia currently has the Leafs at 50/50 professional contracts, but Cap Friendly has them at 47/50. The discrepancy is likely from Puck Pedia including William Villeneuve, Braeden Kressler, and Ty Voit all have ELCs, but are exempt from the 50 contract limit.
Usually, the details from trades that include future considerations never come to light. But I think we can speculate on what the return for Biega might be. Enter Philippe Myers.

News: The Toronto Marlies have acquired defenceman Philippe Myers on loan from the Nashville Predators. #MarliesLive pic.twitter.com/A47XNuFivA
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) March 23, 2022

A loan is not the same as a trade. Myers …

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Author: Stephen Brown / The Leafs Nation

Will the Blue Jays sign Brett Gardner?

At any point before yesterday, had you told me that the Blue Jays were interested in acquiring Brett Gardner, I would have said you were crazy.

However, this is apparently the case according to New York Yankees beat writer, Erik Boland. Which begs the question, why?

Among the teams interested in Brett Gardner: the Blue Jays. But word around the game is Gardner is still waiting to see if the Yankees will make an offer
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) March 22, 2022

What does Gardner offer:
The 38-year-old outfielder was drafted in the 2005 draft and has spent his entire career in the Yankee organization. Gardner made his MLB debut in 2008, back when I was 10 years old. Interestingly, I think I was a Phillies fan at the time, I was weird.
With the bat:
Anyway, he’s slashed .256/.342/.740 (I used OPS at the end, by the way) in over 6000 plate appearances in his career. Obviously, the outfielder is 38, meaning that the speed he once had is no longer a tool in his game. However, he does still get on base, as he slashed .222/.326/.689 in 2021. The season prior, he had an on base percentage of .354, his OBP in his career.
His career high in home runs actually came in the 2019 season, where he hit 28 in his 550 plate appearances. While he’s only hit 15 in the past two seasons, or 619 plate appearances, he still has some pop left despite his age.
His career walk rate stands at 10.6%, but he surpassed that in 2021, walking 13% of the time. In the COVID shortened season, it was  a career high 16.5%. However, his strikeout rate has also increased in the past two seasons, as he struck out 22.2% …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

First Look at Potential Blue Jays Farm Rosters: Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays

Have I mentioned anything before about crowded rosters? Because my dude, this one is packed.

The official roster has no less than 27 pitchers listed. One (that we know about) is out after having Tommy John, I’ve speculated that as many as ten are decent candidates to break with Vancouver, BUT there are at least four or five guys who played in the complexes last year who will get a look, plus three 2021 draftees who haven’t thrown a pro pitch in a counting game yet and a significant return from injury.
Let’s dive in with the pitchers…
Candidates to start are deep enough that you could piggyback the entire rotation but a lot of these guys don’t need to do that so, where to begin? let’s mention the recent draftees since two of them are getting big-time buzz in the run-up to opening day.
Left-hander Ricky Tiedemann, taken in the third round last summer, might have been considered something of a project on draft day but he showed up in instructs with significant added velocity and wowed observers. So much so that of the six major publications I track for the consensus top 20 prospect list, 4 of them (the new Pipeline update isn’t out yet) have the 19-year-old in the Top 10 prospects and that was before the trade this week. other tha …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are Looking to Sign Freddie Freeman + more!

Remember before the Josh Donaldson trade last night, how all of us were upset there was no movement? Jokes on us. We’ll start with the least likely transactions and end with the most likely transaction, and yes, Freeman is included in this article. 

Looks like Jose Ramirez won’t be traded after all:

Guardians a team to watch. Deep farm system (No. 8 in @keithlaw’s rankings), as well as some financial flexibility. Exploring high-end and mid-level bats (OF, 1B) as well as bullpen help, with preference for multi-year control. Among teams in mix for Athletics 1B Matt Olson.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 14, 2022

As much as this sucks, I’m not surprised in the slightest. The Guardians have a bunch of available payroll with a pretty darn good farm system. Not just that, but Ramirez is signed for the next two years on a team friendly contract. With the expanded playoffs, Cleveland has an opportunity to make it, especially in the weak AL Central division.
If the season goes array for the Guardians, it’s possible that Ramirez is shopped around at the deadline. If that’s the case, expect the Jays to pursue him.
Matt Chapman:
I don’t know what to make of this situation. It’s clear that the Athletics are shedding payroll, but they had an absolute haul for 27-year-old first baseman, Matt Olson.  If the A’s expect this for Matt Chapman, who has declined significantly in the past two seasons, it may scare off teams. I wrote about Chapman here. 
Carlos Correa:

Teams that are in the mix for the star shortstop: Astros, Cubs, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Angels. Correa listing his house in Houston is something of note, but the parties do have mutual interest in a return to the Astros.
— Mike 7⃣ (@michaelboboa) March 14, 2 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Is Auston Matthews’ outspokenness of officiating hurting or helping the Maple Leafs?

Is Auston Matthews’ outspokenness of officiating hurting or helping the Maple Leafs?

Months before Arizona Coyotes defenceman Jackob Chychrun held the stick of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, Sheldon Keefe was already making the case for a lack of penalties drawn by his star player.
“If, I’m not mistaken, I don’t think Auston’s drawn a penalty the entire season, which is strange considering how much he has the puck and how involved he is,” the Maple Leafs’ coach said back in December. “Those kinds of things, I think, are worth looking at if you’re involved with that.”
Those comments came two days removed from an on-ice incident that saw Winnipeg Jets defenceman Neal Pionk get suspended a couple of games for a knee-on-knee hit on Maple Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin. Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza was suspended six games (later reduced to four on appeal) for a retaliatory hit on Pionk.
Matthews wasn’t involved in that specific play. But earlier in the period, Matthews and Jets forward Pierre Luc-Dubois were involved in a wrestling match on the ice that resulted in offsetting penalties. The latter part of the sequence saw Dubois pin Matthews for a lengthy period of time before officials stopped play.
There appears to be a strong disconnect between a player like Matthews, who leads the NHL in goals with 44 t …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation