Should Adrian Griffin leave the Toronto Raptors for the Lakers?

Should Adrian Griffin leave the Toronto Raptors for the Lakers?

Masai Ujiri has made it very clear that the Toronto Raptors are not going to let coach Nick Nurse take the head coaching job with the Los Angeles Lakers. Rob Pelinka quickly pivoted and found an alternative, as LA has set their sights on Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin. After Ujiri confirmed that teams have […]
Should Adrian Griffin leave the Toronto Raptors for the Lakers? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Bruins can never be taken lightly as a playoff opponent

If one thing was made clear in our post earlier today, there’s no shortage of people who think it’s in the Leafs best interest to face the Bruins. I’m not sure I fall into that camp, and while it seems less than likely the Bruins will be who Toronto faces in the first round, there is still a very real possibility that a team whose identity is based on playing “playoff hockey” is going to be able to upset either the Panthers, or based on the current seeding, run through the Metropolitan Division and reemerge to face an Atlantic Division opponent in the Conference Finals. If the Leafs somehow find themselves there, I can’t imagine a more fitting, but unwelcome barrier to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Boston by the numbers:

Boston
Toronto
GP
75
76
Pts
97 (10th)
106 (3rd)
GF
231 (18th)
293 (2nd)
GA
201 (4th)
234 (18th)
PP%
21.6% (14th)
27.8% (1st)
PK%
82.3% (8th)
83.0% (7th)
CF%
54.40%
53.70%
xGF%
56.81%
55.29%
HDCF%
56.27%
55.44%
HDGF%
54.97%
51.21%
PDO
0.989
1.002
as of April 19th
For a team that has a reputation for playing a punishing style of hockey, they are also statistical darlings and their lower point total shouldn’t put teams at ease, especially when looking at their PDO. If things start going anywhere close to right for this team, they are capable of making things difficult for absolutely every team in the league.
Forwards
A forward group that begins with a line of Pastrnak, Bergeron, and Marchand begs to be taken seriously. Throw in a supporting cast led by Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith and the Bruins show signs of offensive depth.
Of course, the Bruins are first and foremost shit disturbers and it doesn’t stop at Marchand. Trent Frederic, Nick Foligno, and Jake DeBrusk aren’t fun to play against. Even the Bruins depth seems to understand that if they want to be in the lineup, they need to make life difficult means there aren’t too many easy shifts …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Free agent departures: Zach Hyman returns from the COVID protocol list, Zach Bogosian hit with injury bug again

The 2021-22 NHL season is now at the midway point and we now have a clear view as to how these six former Maple Leafs have been performing with the new team that they signed with during the last off-season.
From Zach Hyman signing with the Edmonton Oilers to Nick Foligno signing with the rival Boston Bruins to even Alex Galchenyuk returning to Arizona on a one-year deal, all these former Leafs have had their ups and downs this season, including some who have just not found their groove at all with their new squad.
Some of these players have been hit with injuries more than once and some have been even hit with being placed on the COVID protocol list, so their games played this month compared to others are kind of all over the place depending on who they are.

1. Zach Hyman – EDM – 29 years old – LW/RW
January 2022 stats: 7 GP – 2 G – 4 A – 6 PTS – 17:57 TOI
2021-22 stats: 35 GP – 13 G – 12 A – 25 PTS – 18:53 TOI
Contract: 7 years x $5.5M
It’s kind of been an up and down season so far for Zach Hyman with his new squad, the Edmonton Oilers. He came out of the gates hot and scored almost every game …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Raptors could bring Shaedon Sharpe home after latest draft buzz

Raptors could bring Shaedon Sharpe home after latest draft buzz

The Toronto Raptors have made it very clear that they are prioritizing development and willing to lean on their young players this season. The 2022 NBA Draft could be a pivotal moment in the history of the franchise, as they could add a player with the long-term potential of Shaedon Sharpe. Sharpe reclassified to the […]
Raptors could bring Shaedon Sharpe home after latest draft buzz – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Nate Pearson had surgery to repair a sports hernia and he’s expected to be ready for spring training

Nate Pearson underwent surgery recently to clear up a sports hernia, an issue that led to the two groin injuries that ultimately derailed a good chunk of his season in 2021.

Pearson got injured early in spring training and didn’t make an appearance in an actual game until May 3 when he allowed one earned run over three-and-two-thirds pitching for the Triple-A Bisons. He was then called up to the Blue Jays, who were dealing with injuries to their starting rotation, and he got shelled by the Astros for three earned runs over two-and-one-third innings.
After that outing, Pearson went back to Buffalo and had a bit of a mixed bag of results. He put together two very encouraging starts with Buffalo, one that features five shutout innings and another than resulted in six innings of two-run ball, but he wound up on the Injured List yet again with a groin injury.
When Pearson finally returned in August, he was used exclusively as a reliever. He made six appearances with the Bisons and then got called up to the Blue Jays in September to join a bullpen that needed some reinforcements. As a reliever in Toronto, Pearson tosses 12 2/3 innings over 11 outings, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

William Villeneuve is the Leafs 20th ranked prospect

The Leafs generally stayed clear of the CHL throughout the 2020 draft, and Canada in general. Two players from Canada were taken in the draft, and William Villeneuve was the sole QMJHL player, taken 122nd overall in the fourth round.
The high scoring, right shooting defender was all over draft boards, but as the top scoring defenseman in QMJHL he was certainly a worthwhile gamble for the Leafs, and now we’ll see what Toronto has in him.

Rank
Grade
NHL Readiness

20th
C
2-4 years

Position: Right Defense
Age: 18
Height: 6’1
Weight: 181 lbs
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2020 4th Round, 122nd overall
What kind of player is he?
If you are looking for yet another source of offense from the Leafs blueline, then you probably like this pick a lot. If you are looking for a strong two way defender, well, Villeneuve isn’t your guy, but that’s not to say we aren’t incredibly early in his development process.
In addition to the concerns about Villeneuve’s defensive zone coverage, there are also issues with his skating. It’s not that he’s the slowest guy on the ice, he’s average by QMJHL standards, but the mechanics of his skating …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Pundits are predicting a big off-season for the Blue Jays (and, honestly, anything less would be a disappointment)

The last week of activity has painted a very clear picture of what this off-season landscape is going to look like across Major League Baseball.

To put it bluntly — teams are going to be cheap.
This, of course, is a reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams lost a whole bunch of money last year because games weren’t played in front of live audiences so nobody bought tickets or hot dogs or merchandise at games. There’s also a good chance that fans won’t be at games next season either.
So, after taking a hit in 2020 and planning to take yet another hit in 2021, most owners aren’t going to be interested in committing major dollars to payroll this winter. Simple math.
In the first week of off-season madness, we’ve seen moves that indicate a very frugal winter.
The Oakland A’s didn’t qualify either Liam Hendriks or Marcus Semien. The risk of having to commit to paying either player the $19 million qualification salary in 2021 was enough of a deterrent for the A’s to let two very good players walk to free agency without any draft pick compensation attached to them at all.
The A’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

In the 6th and 7th rounds the Leafs proudly select a lot of players

If the Leafs draft strategy wasn’t clear in the early rounds, Kyle Dubas made sure everyone understood what he was up to in the final rounds of the draft. He was out to draft high skill players that have a league to play in this year. Not a bad strategy, but for a team that is based in Ontario and used to relying heavily on the Ontario Hockey League for its prospects, it was certainly a change. The fact that in the middle of the draft word came down that it is going to be difficult to have hockey in Ontario this season should serve as some validation for Dubas’ strategy.
Loading up on players this year is also smart. Next year who knows how much many of the prospects will have played. Those who are playing might have been further down the depth chart than they’d usually be in, and getting around to see players play will be a challenge for scouts. Using 12 picks and using them on active players makes sense.
As for who those players are from the 6th and 7th rounds, here they are:
Veeti Miettinen
Miettinen is a 5’9 right winger from Finland, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam showed shades of former self in Game Three

It’s clear that Siakam has been struggling since the NBA restart, but yesterday, especially in the third quarter we saw Siakam be a positive on offense for the Toronto Raptors. The Toronto Raptors have been nothing short of entertaining since entering the bubble. Their 7-1 record in the seeding games and sweep over the Brooklyn […]
Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam showed shades of former self in Game Three – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Tyson Barrie is preparing to hit free agency

It may seem painfully clear already by looking at the Leafs salary cap situation, but also by looking at the season that Barrie has had in Toronto this year, he’s not going to stick around. The Leafs defenseman did an interview with Chris Johnston of Sportsnet hammering home that point repeatedly…
“It’s a weird time to be heading into free agency, that’s for sure,” Barrie said Wednesday. “It’s an odd time, but at this point, I think all I’ve got to do right now is focus on getting ready to play, if we are going to play, and to take a run with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs.”
“I think it has to be a spot where they obviously are in need of someone like myself and a good team heading in the right direction and a good organization,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of organizations that fit those boxes, so it’ll be a process where you sit down and just go through everything and what’s important to me.”
I’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation