Sorry Leafs fans, we’re going to start talking about the draft

It would be nice if this came a little later next year, especially when the Leafs are still going to drafting after at least one team that went further in the playoffs than they did, but hey, at least this year Toronto has a first round pick, it’s a good high end (and deep-ish) draft so it’s worth starting to care and start feverishly typing the names of draft eligible players into Elite Prospects and YouTube to get a better understanding of who we’re supposed to like. Or some of our writers, who are far more knowledgeable than me, can fill in some of the blanks over the next couple of months.
When will the Leafs pick? 
With the fourth best record in the NHL, the default position for the Leafs was 29th overall. Of course, they were never truly locked into that as the final four teams in the playoffs occupy the last four spots of the draft (Cup winner last, Cup finalist second last, and the two Conference Final teams based on their regular season points at 29th and 30th.) So given that the three teams ahead of the Leafs in the standings (Avalanche, Panthers, and Hurricanes) all advanced to …

Read More

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 …

Read More

Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

A number of Marlies may have played their final games in the Leafs organization

The Marlies’ season came to an end last weekend. It’s a bit disappointing following the number of years that Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe, and even Dallas Eakins before them made the AHL team competitive on the strength of established veterans and a deep prospect pool. Ryan Hardy and Greg Moore have taken a decidedly different approach, and the Marlies have become a development first team and the priority seems to be given to making players ready for their time on the Leafs roster. Arguably this is the right approach, but you’d think a measure of success would still be the team qualifying for the playoffs. They didn’t, but it’s not the end of the world.
With the season coming to an end there is a need to look at the four unrestricted and four restricted free agents that may or may not be part of the Leafs’ organization next season.
The most intriguing name of the group is probably Joseph Duszak. Duszak made the AHL second all-star team, put up 52 points in 61 games, and at 24 seems to be ready to t …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Getting Jack Campbell ready for the playoffs was top ‘priority’ for Maple Leafs’, now he has to deliver

When the NHL trade deadline came and went on Mar. 21, the Toronto Maple Leafs elected not to upgrade what was seemingly a fragile situation in goal.
Their incumbent starter, Jack Campbell, was in the midst of a massive slide in his performance. Petr Mrazek, signed to three-year, $11.4 million contract to be his support system, also struggled.
“I promise I’ll get out of it,” Campbell said after a particularly poor performance against the Vancouver Canucks on Mar. 5. He allowed five goals on 28 shots, but it was the type of goals he was allowing at the time that made you suspect something was wrong.
Later in the month, Campbell suffered a rib injury and he played through it for a few games before the Maple Leafs shut down the goaltender for nearly a month.
The time away appeared to do the goaltender some good. Campbell went a perfect 7-0-0 in April while posting a .915 save percentage, far bette than the sub .900 numbers he had in the previous three months. It was play more reminiscent of the goaltender who was voted to his first NHL All-Star Game this season after a solid first two months of the season.
“Just play …

Read More

Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

The Raptors must be in on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason

The Raptors must be in on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason

While the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz came into the season with completely different sets of expectations, they both ended up losing their respective first-round playoff series in six games. Donovan Mitchell and Fred VanVleet might see their teams make major changes in the offseason. The Raptors put up a heck of an effort to push […]
The Raptors must be in on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Matthew Chiu / Raptors HQ

Marlies fall to Belleville and miss the playoffs for first time since 2010-11

The Toronto Marlies season came to an end after they lost 5-2 to the Belleville Senators on Saturday.

Final. #MarliesLive pic.twitter.com/mU9YVv9Lht
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) April 30, 2022

Toronto went down 3-0 early in the game before Josh Ho-Sang got the team on the board just before the second period ended. Nick Robertson scored in the third period, but Belleville added two of their own.
This is the first time since the 2010-11 season that the Marlies haven’t qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs.
With Toronto not making the playoffs, it’s likely that a few of their players will go up to the Maple Leafs. Those players will likely consist of Nick Robertson, Joey Anderson, Alex Steeves, Brett Seney, and possibly Kristians Rubins.
All four of Anderson, Seney, Robertson, and Steeves could all be difference makers for Toronto if they’re needed in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin on Monday.
More from TheLeafsNation.com
Maple Leafs patience with Timothy Liljegren paying dividends by Kyle Cushman
How Nick Robertson refined his confidence with the Marlies this season by Nick Barden
The case for Calder: Michael Bunting by Dylan Murphy
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIOPointsBet Canada has officially launched in Ontario! Get a $25 free bet just for signing up right here! …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Report from the Rock: End of the regular season, now the fun begins

The regular season came to an end for the Newfoundland Growlers on April 17 in a 5-0 victory over the Adirondack Thunder. The Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate team ends of the 2021-22 regular season with a 42-20-5 record, good for 89 points on the league standings and securing the team 2nd place in the North Division.
All eyes now turn to the beginning of the playoffs on Friday night, where the Growlers’ first round opponent will be the only other Canadian team in the ECHL, and the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the Trois-Rivieres Lions.

DIVISION SEMI-FINALS
Growlers vs @Lions3r
-> https://t.co/9akvp20BlN#STANDPROUD pic.twitter.com/oZV3AYOVyX
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) April 16, 2022

The Growlers and the Lions played 14 times in the regular season and Newfoundland holds the overwhelming edge with a 10-3-1 record. Keith Petruzzelli, who will likely be the starter in goal for the series, played 9 of the 14 games against the Lions in-season and emerged with a 7-2 record. Petruzzelli, it should be noted, was also named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team.
To shine a spotlight on some skaters, forward Zach O’Brien ended the regular season with 78 points, a franchise record, beating his own previous record by 10 points in the same number of games played (53). O’Brien was 2nd overall in league scoring behind the Fort Wayne Komets’ Will Graber, who had 83 points in 59 GP. O’Brien’s 28 goals was tied with rookie Orrin Centazzo for the team lead.
“It’s a healthy battle, but I don’t look at it as though it’s a competition between them” said head coach Eric Wellwood, noting that the two star forwards play on a line together most of the time and “still pass to each other.”
O’Brien was also awarded the ECHL Sportsmanship Award. Per a league press release: “The award is presented annually to the player who is judged to have exhibited the best sportsmanship combined with a high standard of playing ability.” O’Brien is just the third player in ECHL history to win this award a second time, as he was also awarded it in the Growlers’ first season in the league in 2018-19. O’Brien has a total of 18 penalty minutes in the regular season in 147 games with the Growlers.
On defence, Ben Finkelstein put up an astonishing 62 points in only 36 games played. He led the league in scoring by a defender, while playing in the fewest games of any member of the top 10 and posting the highest plus-minus stat. Noel Hoefenmayer, 11th in league scoring by a defenceman, led the Growler’s blueline in goals with 13 in 46 games.
Rounding out the list of standout players, the aforementioned Centazzo put up an impressive 51 points in his first s …

Read More

Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

It looks like Cleveland’s contract negotiations with Jose Ramirez aren’t going very well

Earlier this week, news came out that the Guardians were nearing a contract extension and that the team would do “whatever it takes” to keep the three-time All-Star in Cleveland for the majority of his career.

Well, it seems that the “whatever it takes” sentiment doesn’t include money, as the team offered Ramirez a four-year extension worth $89 million.

According to @mikedeportes the #Guardians first offer to Jose Ramirez was $89M in an additional 4-year deal, but Ramirez and his agents don’t seem to like the idea so much, that why talk got bit slower but anything can happen before the opening day. https://t.co/cRHuZMuENT
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 2, 2022

For context, that’s an average salary of $22.25 million per year, which is in the ballpark of the deal that kyle Schwarber signed with the Phillies in March. I don’t think the player who ranks third in baseball in wins above replacement since the start of the 2018 season is looking for Kyle Schwarber money.
According to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com, extension talks between Ramirez and the Guardians “have bogged down, if not ended.” The goal was to get Ramirez signed before Opening Day, which is next Friday, and it seems that isn’t going to happen.
Assuming this wasn’t an April Fools’ Day prank played by Cleveland and the Guardians actually fail to reach a new deal with their best player, the Ramirez-to-Toronto rumours are going to continue throughout the season. If July rolls around and Cleveland isn’t in the mix to contend, you’d think they’d pull the trigger on a trade. The longer Cleveland waits, the less they’re going to be able to command in return. …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Fred VanVleet proves his worth to Raptors in win vs. Spurs

Fred VanVleet proves his worth to Raptors in win vs. Spurs

The Toronto Raptors came into their duel with the San Antonio Spurs on a 2-5 slide that did a major number on their chances to escape the play-in tournament. With Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby both nursing injuries, it was clear that the Raptors weren’t operating at full strength. Luckily, the Raptors were able to […]
Fred VanVleet proves his worth to Raptors in win vs. Spurs – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Auston Matthews climbing the Rocket race, John Tavares continues to produce

The Toronto Maple Leafs came out of the NHL All-Star break with three games on their schedule last week. After heading into the break on a five-game winning streak, they were looking to carry that momentum into these three games against the Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks. Well, they kind of did, but then fell short in the last two games on the schedule out west.
They began their week hosting one of the best teams in the entire league in the Carolina Hurricanes and it was also their second meeting of the year after Toronto ended up on the losing side of things back in Carolina at the start of the season when they picked up a 4-1 loss. This time around was different. This time was one of the best games the Maple Leafs have played all year and it was great to see it against one of the very best. Toronto fell behind first as Carolina took a 1-0 lead, but then fought their way back and went up 2-1, but not until Carolina tied it up in the third and sent this game to overtime. In overtime, it was Mitch Marner who continued his goal-scoring an …

Read More

Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation