Besides the big four, which Maple Leafs need to step up in the playoffs?

It’s always interesting when people discuss the Maple Leafs and the playoffs, together in the same sentence.
Each and every year, Toronto loses and fans say they’re done but by the time the next playoffs roll around, they’re back in. There’s so much to discuss around this time, like whether Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner will keep their form, if Jack Campbell can have a strong showing consistently against top-tier teams, and whether or not Toronto’s defence can hold up.
This season feels a little bit different. Maple Leafs fans haven’t found themselves asking much of those questions — or any at all. Many are confident in this team, even if they have to play the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the first round.
But, here at The Leafs Nation decided, we’d still like to ask this question; Who needs to step up (besides the big four) in the playoffs?
Ryan Hobart:
Well, the title intentionally takes away the obvious answer. The main thing that’s gone wrong these last few playoff runs is that the main core wasn’t been what we’ve come to expect from their regular season dominance.
Secondary scoring is one way to mask that, so we could say that. Getting some production from the 3rd and 4th lines would go a long wa …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Behind the Net Podcast Episode 44: Plan B

In this episode, Michael Mazzei and I discuss the latest rumours surrounding the Leafs, who they target if Alex Pietrangelo isn’t available, and who they may draft at 15th overall. We also predict the first five picks of the NHL draft, where we think some of the big free agents will go, and a rumour surrounding Marc Gasol’s future. Later in the show, we go over the 2020 NBA Finals, the MLB Playoffs, and the NFL Week 4 results to that point. We conclude the episode by redoing the 2017 NBA Draft and answering listener questions.
Where you can listen

Apple Podcasts:
Follow Us on Twitter
Michael Mazzei: @TheLeafsIMO
Matthew Rodrigopulle: @Matt_Rodrigo_

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

Behind The Net Podcast Episode 40: Roadblock

In this episode, Matthew Rodrigopulle and I discuss the Raptors’ struggles early on in their series against the Celtics, how the team can get cut the deficit, and comparing Pascal Siakam to Jayson Tatum. We also check in on the latest with the NBA and NHL playoffs, go over the Blue Jays deadline deals, and whether they can make the playoffs. In addition, we discuss the Kasperi Kapanen trade, which other Leaf will likely be on the move, and whether or not the time is ripe to deal away Frederik Andersen. At the end of the show, we redo the 2013 NBA draft and answer fan questions.
Where you can listen

Apple Podcast
Follow Us on Twitter
Michael Mazzei: @TheLeafsIMO
Matthew Rodrigopulle: @Matt_Rodrigo_
Thanks for listening!

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Monday Morning GM: Nikita Nesterov is returning to the NHL. Should it be Toronto?

I can’t think of a less flashy topic to discuss than importing a bottom pairing defender from the KHL, but here we are. And here is what we’re dealing with…
From AllHockey.Ru (google translated):
CSKA President Igor Esmantovich spoke about the transfer plans of the Moscow club, and also said that defender Nikita Nesterov will leave the club.
“We talked with Kaprizov at the end of the season, he said that he would try forces in North America. We are not negotiating with him. They made an offer on Sorokin on June 1. He listened to the proposal with the agent and said that he would make a decision later. CSKA still plans to sign two defenders and a striker.
With Nesterov, the story is interesting. We agreed with him in December, shook hands that he will remain for five years in CSKA. We agreed on the conditions, gave him everything he wanted. But a week ago, he decided for family reasons to go to North America. We thanked him for three years at CSKA and wished him good luck, “Esmantovich said.
So, why does …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Three Questions from the Raptors ahead of Game 5 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks

We spoke to Kyle Carr of Brew Hoop to discuss strategy changes and the Bucks’ homecourt advantage ahead of Game 5. After a thorough thrashing in Toronto, the Raptors will face off against a determined Bucks squad in Milwaukee. Once again, we were lucky enough to discuss the series with Kyle Carr of Brew Hoop:
Kawhi is playing visibly hobbled, while other Raptors are finally stepping up and hitting their threes. Even though Giannis Antetokounmpo mentioned post-game that Milwaukee will continue with the same defensive strategy, what are the pros and cons of shifting the Bucks’ defense to focus more on containing perimeter shooters?
I’m not sure what defense Milwaukee threw out there in Game 4. All season long they played more of a zone drop scheme with a little bit of switching every once in awhile. In Game 4 it was more Jason Kidd-esque in which they were over helping and doubling the post and allowing Toronto to make the one extra pass for an open shot.
While Giannis said Milwaukee will continue with the same defense, I think there will be some adjustments and potentially more switching to prevent open looks for guys like Norman Powell, who I am 100,000 percent …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ