Roni Hirvonen is the Leafs 12th ranked prospect

To no one’s surprise, Kyle Dubas traded down in the 2020 NHL draft by using the Leafs 44th to acquire the 59th and the 64th overall pick. With the 59th pick, the Leafs drafted Finnish forward, Roni Hirvonen. The TLN consensus ranked Hirvonen in 12th amongst Leafs prospects. I personally was the highest on Hirvonen as I ranked him 6th. For what it’s worth, I strongly considered having him at number five over Mikhail Abramov and could see Hirvonen making that jump into the top five Leaf prospects in my rankings in the future.
After seeing the Leafs hit (what certainly seems to be) a home run with their 2019 second-round pick, Nick Robertson, the expectations for Hirvonen (the Leafs 2020 second-round pick)might be higher than usual. The Leafs are proving that second-round picks are valuable and even though Hirvonen might not progress as fast as Robertson, I do think he has a bright future ahead of him.
Rank – Grade – NHL Readiness
12TH – C – 2-4 YEARS
Position: C
Age: 18
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2020 2nd round, 59th overall
What kind of player is he?
Like many of the Leafs prospects, Hirvonen’s overall hockey IQ is what drives his game. …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

The NHL vs. NHLPA dispute is a predictable mess

Step 1: Calm down any panic by shiftly reaching an agreement on a Collective Agreement
Step 2: Briefly return to play and execute that return to play better than anyone would have expected you too.
Step 3: Spend freely during free agency.
Step 4: Realize the virus you needed to go away to sell tickets didn’t magically go away.
Step 5: Panic because you had no Plan B for Step 4.
Before the summer return to play the NHL and the NHLPA managed to pull off what was once considered impossible and they agreed to a Collective Agreement without the loss of games or a cancellation of the season. Of course we’re still seeing cancelled games and a threatened season, but it’s somewhat refreshing to not have it entirely labour relations related, until now.

NHLPA Board call wrapped up around 6:30 pm ET, went about 2 1/2 hours. No votes taken. Just a discussion. But sources say feeling on the call was that players aren’t keen on changing salary deferral/escrow rates from what was already agreed to in June CBA. More discussion needed
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 18, 2020

The NHL views this as a timing issue. The players are only entitled to 50 % of HRR. The more …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The NBA’s projected start and how it affects the Leafs and the NHL

During any offseason, we are usually counting down the days until our favourite sport(s) return for another year of exciting action. This year has changed that and instead of eagerly awaiting the start of a new campaign, we are instead wondering what the start date will be.
While a certain election was continuing to dominate the headlines, the NBA voted to approve a projected start date of December 22 and compile a 72-game schedule.

The NBPA player rep vote has completed, approving a December 22 start/72-game regular season, source tells ESPN. Next up: NBA/NBPA finishes financial terms on amended CBA, which will take into next week. Expect trade moratorium to be lifted shortly prior to Nov. 18 Draft.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2020

They are now the latest league to try and determine the beginning of the 2020-21 season after the OHL and AHL did the same just last week. While all of this is contingent on the state of affairs with COVID-19 cases remaining on the rise, it gives fans a clear picture of the duration of the current offseason.
But how does this affect the Leafs NHL?
It has been well documented that the NHL has been trying to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs select Topi Niemela with the 64th overall pick

Through a well calculated move to trade down from the 44th pick, Kyle Dubas added an early third round pick which he used to select Finnish defenceman Topi Niemela. The right handed defender was ranked in the middle of the second round by most major scouting outlets, with some listing him at the back end of the first round. Niemela played 43 games for Karpat in Liiga last season, picking up one goal and six assists as a 17 year old blue liner in Finland’s top professional league.

Solid hit from Topi Niemela.. Hugo Styf was not styf enough.
*I still like Hugo Styf. He had a few very solid games when I was watching Wallinder. One of the youngest player in the draft too. Could be a decent late 3rd, 4th round pick. pic.twitter.com/jHxEBpH6gp
— Yannick St-Pierre (@DraftDynasty1) February 8, 2020

Niemela is an outstanding skater who plays a very mature defensive game for his age and makes smart plays with the puck on his stick. He has good edges, as well as top speed, allowing him to maintain tight gaps and attack opposing puck carriers. Niemela isn’t a flashy player but he does a great job of …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Best Leafs Trades Since 1967 Countdown – No. 5: Flipping Francois Beauchemin for Jake Gardiner and Joffrey Lupul

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be counting down the best and the worst trades the Toronto Maple Leafs have made since 1967. 

It was a difficult choice deciding how to kick off the list of best trades that the Leafs have made since 1967. There’s a pretty clear top-four, but there are also plenty that you could argue deserve to be in this No. 5 slot for a variety of reasons. Anyways, I landed on one that features Brian Burke turning a veteran free agent signing into talent that would help the team through the rest of the decade.
When Burke arrived in Toronto in November of 2008, he promised to bring truculence to the team. The following summer, in his first off-season at the helm, he delivered on that promise.
Burke handed out multi-year free-agent contracts to rugged, shut-down defencemen Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin, seemingly solidifying the team’s paper-thin blueline. He also added fighters Colton Orr and Jay Rosehill in free agency and acquired Garnet Exelby in a trade. No more Mr. Nice Guy!
Unfortunately, the truculent Leafs weren’t very good. In fact, they were really bad. They finished the 2009-10 season …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Worst Leafs Trades Since 1967 Countdown – No. 5: Paying the price for Wendel Clark nostalgia

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be counting down the best and the worst trades the Toronto Maple Leafs have made since 1967. 

Before I get into this one, it’s important to preface that Wendel Clark is one of the most important players in Toronto Maple Leafs history.
There’s a joke that runs around with younger Leafs fans that’s some kind of variation of “your crazy uncle thinks that Wendel Clark is the greatest Leaf of all-time.” There’s a reason that people think that way. He more than deserves the cult following he has from a generation of Leafs fans.
You can quite simply split the history of the Leafs into two parts: the pre- and post-Ballard days. In their first half-century as a franchise, the Leafs won 13 Stanley Cups. In their second, well, they haven’t won anything. This split right down the middle boils down to Harold Ballard’s ownership of the team, which began in the early 1970s.
During the 70s, the Leafs still showed some semblance of being a contender. They had great players like Darryl Sittler and Borje Salaming …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

MLB’s newest economic pitch again aims to make the players look bad

Since MLB’s revenue-sharing plan was shot down, the league has since countered with a brand-new proposal that would see the highest-paid players take massive pay cuts to compensate for the inevitable lost revenues of a shortened 2020 season without fans in stadiums.

To backtrack a little bit, back in mid-May, MLB put together a proposal for the Players’ Association that would have seen the owners and the players split the revenue from the season down the middle. The season would be 82 games, the playoffs would be expanded, teams would only play geographical rivals, and the designated hitter would be universal. None of those details matter very much. What’s important here, naturally, is money.
It seems like years ago at this point, but, back in March when the season was originally delayed due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the league and the players agreed to a labour plan that, among other things, would see players earn a pro-rated percentage of their salaries in the event of a shortened season. So, hypothetically, if the 2020 season was cut in half, a player would make half as much as they were supposed to. Simple enough.
Since that …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t want to see the season cancelled

The NHL season shutting down is something that league commissioner Gary Bettman is “not… even contemplating.”

Bettman made the comments Tuesday to members of the San Jose Sharks’ business alliance.
“I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done,” Bettman said, via Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. “I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but cancelling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”
“States are re-opening, cities are re-opening,” Bettman said. “And if we do the right things, I think we’ll be able to finish the season.”
The news comes as the league continues to contemplate the best way for the 2019-20 season to be completed. Suggestions now continue to circulate the league having NHL hub cities where teams will gather and play out some form of the rest of the season.


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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: It is time for Gasol to come off the bench

With Marc Gasol going down with multiple injuries and Serge Ibaka playing lights out, the Toronto Raptors need to lock in Ibaka as their number one center. The NBA season may be on pause for the time being, but every coach should keep the mindset that it’ll be resumed at some point. That means preparing […]
Toronto Raptors: It is time for Gasol to come off the bench – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Dana Ryan / Raptors HQ

What we learned from Pascal Siakam and DeMar DeRozan on IG Live

Pascal Siakam and DeMar DeRozan recently got down to talking on IG Live. What did we learn from the conversation between two Toronto Raptors greats? Despite the lack of basketball, the power of the internet is still giving us an opportunity to watch basketball players interact with one another. In this case, we got to […]
What we learned from Pascal Siakam and DeMar DeRozan on IG Live – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ