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

Did the Toronto Raptors have their own version of “The Last Dance” 

It was clear when Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors that it was a one-year rental. But after his championship run, is it fair to say that was his “Last Dance?” As ESPN’s “The Last Dance” comes to an end this week, is it reasonable to say that the Toronto Raptors had “The […]
Did the Toronto Raptors have their own version of “The Last Dance”  – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Adam Brooks called up to the Maple Leafs on Emergency Basis

It’s not clear exactly who he’s coming up to replace, but Adam Brooks has received a call-up to the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Toronto Marlies, on “emergency basis” due to Trevor Moore’s inability to return to the roster.

The @MapleLeafs have recalled forward Adam Brooks from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL) on an emergency basis. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 17, 2019

This means that the Leafs have suffered enough injuries up front that they would be left with fewer than 13 healthy forwards on the roster. My assumption is that this includes injuries we already knew about, like Andreas Johnsson.
Trevor Moore has been hurt as well, and was originally expected to return tonight but that has been called off due to being in concussion protocol.

Spoke with Sheldon Keefe pre-game, and he said Trevor Moore will NOT return for #Leafs tonight. Was bumped in practice yesterday and informed team this afternoon after media initially spoke with Keefe that he wasn’t feeling right.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) December 17, 2019

Keefe explained further that Trevor Moore was put through concussion protocol and there is no concern for him in that respect, but the # …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Petan and Marincin clear and what it means for your weekend

It’s time to exhale…

All waivers clear
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 8, 2019
I know many of you have a complex relationship with Martin Marincin, but having him as Marlies depth seems pretty decent. Having him take icetime away from Sandin and Liljegren might be a bit less appealing, but it’s probably the guys further down in the roster that will be impacted, not those two.
It’s also entirely possible that Marincin remains on the trade block, if a team wants to bring him in and get him used to their system in the AHL before calling him up, he might have a slightly higher value you now. That’s pretty much all there is to say on Marincin.
As for Petan, well, a lot of people seemed to be 100% confident that Petan would be claimed. To those people I say, welcome to the NHL and I assume this is your first day following this league. As much as a cheap, potentially middle six skilled winger with a feisty streak should be a no brainer to claim, there’s the issue of the fact that pretty much every team monitors their standard players contracts closely, don’t necessarily view …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers second round playoff schedule

Clear your calendars, the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals are here! We’ve got your schedule, and the action starts Saturday. In case you were under a rock last night, or Damian Lillard’s heroics gave you short-term amnesia, both the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers closed out their first round series — and are now set to meet in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The NBA has now released the schedule for the best-of-seven series; the action starts Saturday, April 27 in Toronto, and wraps up no later than Sunday, May 12. That’s when an if-needed Game 7 would take place, also here in Toronto.
Not all tip-off times are not set yet, as we await results of the Western Conference side of the bracket; we also await Canadian broadcast info. Look for updates to the schedule below as we learn more.
And naturally, we’ll have all kinds of preview material in the coming days! Go ahead and clear your calendars now.
Raptors vs. 76ers Second Round Schedule
Game 1: Saturday, April 27 — TBD — Scotiabank Arena — TNT
Game 2: Monday, April 29 — TBD — Scotiabank Arena — TNT
Game 3: Thursday, May 2 — 8pm — Wells Fargo Center — ESPN
Game 4: Sunday, May 5 — 3:30pm — Wells Fargo Center — ABC
**Game 5: Tuesday, May 7 — TBD — Scotiabank — TNT
** …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Point Man #23: Lowry pushes back and makes things clear

As their confrontation continues, Lowry makes it clear what he’s trying to do, and how far he’ll go if Conley tries to get in his way. A pair of former friends continue to hash things out as only they can. Conley wants Lowry to get out of the game completely. And Lowry knows where he stands — ready to risk it all for a chance at the ultimate prize.
Catch up on Page 22 of POINT MAN here.
Words: Daniel Reynolds
Art: Michael Kennedy (on Instagram and Twitter)

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ