Auston Matthews named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award

Wow! I can’t believe the guy nominated for the Hart is up for the Ted Lindsay. Shocking but true but the guy who was nominated for the NHL’s MVP Award is also up for the most outstanding player. That player, of course, is Auston Matthews.
The Ted Lindsay is slightly different in how it operates in that the Hart is decided on by the Pro Hockey Writers Association, and it’s the membership of the NHLPA that votes on the Lindsay.
The award also produced another name to the mix when it comes to Matthews’ fellow finalists. Connor McDavid is still there, but the NHLPA put Roman Josi in the mix as the third candidate instead of Igor Shesterkin. That’s keeping it fresh.
Interestingly for all the noise about Jonathan Huberdeau, he didn’t find his way into the top three on either award, and it’s probably not surprising that the award nominees consist of the Rocket Richard winner, the Art Ross winner, the likely Vezina winner (for the Hart), and the likely Norris winner (for the Ted Lindsay.)
It seems like the competition will be tight, but Auston has to be considered a favourite for both given how he plays a more complete game than McDavid and accomplished a very rare …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays are “pushing hard” for Jose Ramirez

I try to keep swearing at a minimum in my articles and on my socials, but I believe the saying “Shit or get off the pot” applies to the Guardians here.

Rumours are swirling that the Blue Jays are aggressively pursuing Jose Ramirez… again.

SOURCE: #BlueJays are pushing hard for Jose Ramirez, while the #Guardians are low balling him. He wants to play his entire career with them. He feels very comfortable with the team and the great support that the fans have given him. https://t.co/EIk6GbJYXn
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 2, 2022

After the Guardians low balled Ramirez for the second time in less than a couple of days, Hector Gomez reported that the Toronto Blue Jays are pushing hard for the 29-year-old. Below is the Cleveland offer to Ramirez, which would be for an annual average of less than $20 million per season.

Update: #Guardians made another offer to Jose Ramirez: 5 Years, $104M extension plus this 2 year was a $130M 7 year total, New Money $104M , the agent will travel to Arizona on Monday for a meeting in person with Ramirez and the #Guardians, per @mikedeportes. https://t.co/AoyKGUJ84J
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 2, 2022

 
Other than signing Luke Maile, they haven’t tried to improve like the other four teams in their division. While they signed Emmanuel Clase to a very team friendly contract (around only 4 million a year), there is no chance Jose Ramirez will sign another team friendly contract. 
If that doesn’t scream low ball, check out his agent’s tweet after the Guardians first offer at the end of March.

LOL
— Rafa Nieves (@mlb_agent) March 31, 2022

Ramirez signed with the Guardians in 2009, when Mark Shapiro was the General Manager of the team. The third baseman is arguably one of the better players in the league who has speed, power and amazing defense.
He has put together multiple MVP calibre seasons, being nominated for the award three different times. Last season, the third baseman slashed .266/.355/.893 with 36 homers in 636 plate appearances. Ramirez fills …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Why Greg Moore is the right head coach for this Marlies team

The Marlies are a development team now and I believe everyone should understand that.
When Kyle Dubas was hired as the Maple Leafs GM, he left his Assistant GM role with a different plan in mind — to make the Toronto Marlies a team solely focused on producing NHL caliber players.
That meant the departures of many veterans last summer.
More changes happened at that time, as Dubas promoted Laurence Gilman to Senior Vice-President and Governor. At the same moment, he brought in Ryan Hardy to manage both the Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers.
Hardy is someone that Marlies head coach Greg Moore worked alongside with the Chicago Steel of the USHL a few years back. These two are very good at developing prospects, especially when they’re working together.
“We’re here to develop players for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said Hardy of the Marlies back in October. “I’m sure there’ll be some ups and downs as we get acclimated here and putting younger players, first-year pro, in some new spots.”
Throughout this season and last, there’s been a lot of criticism over Moore, specifically, as a coach. Whether it be lineup decisions or on-ice choices, a lot of Marlies fans aren’t happy.
Looking back at some moments, there was one instance where Moore left Nick Robertson off a 6- …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors Quarter-Season Awards: Which players stood out?

Toronto Raptors Quarter-Season Awards: Which players stood out?

Hard to believe we’re already 20 games into the 2021-22 NBA season. Even harder to believe that Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, and this Toronto Raptors team have already experienced such a vast array of successes, failures, and momentum changes. The Raptors went from a playoff afterthought to one of the hottest teams in the league […]
Toronto Raptors Quarter-Season Awards: Which players stood out? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Joseph Woll provided a lot of hope for the future of the Leafs net

It’s hard to believe it was just a couple of weeks back that I was writing about how we shouldn’t expect too much of Joseph Woll, and this was more about the organization getting a chance to assess him, not a situation where he was going to come in and immediately steal the net. And while I want to stay very true to the spirit of that article, there is something about a shutout in his second start that warrants both some excitement and a need to pour some cold water on our new expectations.
Joseph Woll’s debut will provide the Leafs with an assessment opportunity

When talking about Woll’s arrival there was an acknowledgement that things haven’t gone particularly well in the AHL, but also with the recognition that statistical success in net in the AHL isn’t much of a predictor of NHL success. It certainly doesn’t hurt to do well there, it probably gets a look at a NHL job a little earlier, but it’s by no means required to be a capable NHL goaltender as the realities of the game are very different between the two levels of play.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Randal Grichuk, Consistently Inconsistent

I may be lambasted for saying this, but I believe Randal Grichuk has value. We’ll cut to the chase, he’s the definition of streaky. Between April 1st and May 31st, we all thought he changed. In 208 plate appearances, Grichuk had a slash line of .289/.322/.819 with 9 homers and a wRC+ of 119. He also walked 4.3% of the time while striking out 18.8% of the time. However, the most surprising statistic is the fact he had 39 RBIs.

Now, RBIs isn’t a very good statistic for determining whether or not a batter is good because it is totally dependent on whether or not the batters ahead of you get on (unless you hit 100 solo homers in a season), but it fooled me and many other Jays fans into thinking his approach had changed.

I know we’ve been lied to in the past and if I’m wrong, I should rightly be roasted.
But Grichuk is a different hitter this season.#BlueJays #WeAreBlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) May 6, 2021

How about his next three months? Well it didn’t go as well. Between June 1st and August 31st, 272 plate appearances and had a slash line of .201/.246/.579 with 12 home runs, a wRC+ of 65 and 37 RBIs. …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Frank Seravalli reporting the Leafs will lose Jared McCann to the Kraken

Jared McCann we hardly knew ye. And believe me, we really wanted to get to know you, but alas you are meant for better things and by that I mean completely escaping the gong show that is the Maple Leafs organization.

His stay was short-lived in Toronto. The #SeaKraken will be selecting Jared McCann from the #Leafs.
The end result: Toronto traded prospect Filip Hallander and a 7th round pick to Pittsburgh to essentially protect their roster from Seattle.@DFOHockey
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021

If you are looking for any attempt at thoughtful analysis here, I’m going to let you down. This situation comes off as incredibly stupid. The Leafs gave up a solid, near NHL ready prospect in Filip Hallander, plus a 7th round pick (the Leafs have been giving all draft picks away like candy) to bring in Jared McCann a few days ago. That was immediately followed by the failure to protect him in the expansion draft, largely creating a situation where the Kraken would be choosing between McCann and Kerfoot.
For the record, McCann is cheaper, younger, better defensively, better offensively, taller, and probably smells better than Alexander Kerfoot too. Basically, McCann was put …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 4 players Toronto can add post-deadline

Toronto Raptors: 4 players Toronto can add post-deadline

Believe it or not, the three trades made by the Toronto Raptors on Thursday constitute the busiest deadline day in franchise history. Still, while the Norman Powell trade certainly moves the needle, the real news coming out of the day was the team’s inability to find a workable trade involving Kyle Lowry, keeping the birthday […]
Toronto Raptors: 4 players Toronto can add post-deadline – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors should walk away from Terence Davis

Toronto Raptors should walk away from Terence Davis

I believe that anyone is innocent until proven guilty, but the Toronto Raptors should walk away from Terence Davis. A few days ago, Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis was charged in New York City after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this scenario in Toronto, but I hope it’s the last. […]
Toronto Raptors should walk away from Terence Davis – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors should target Victor Oladipo in the offseason

League insiders are beginning to believe that Victor Oladipo’s time in Indiana could be coming to an end. Oladipo is a near-perfect fit with the Toronto Raptors, should he be made available in the offseason. One of the biggest storylines of the NBA resumption is players deciding not to return to play. This is happening […]
Toronto Raptors should target Victor Oladipo in the offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mark Birdsell / Raptors HQ