Raptors: 3 bold predictions for Christian Koloko in 2022-23

Raptors: 3 bold predictions for Christian Koloko in 2022-23

The Toronto Raptors made a very strong draft choice at No. 33 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, as they addressed their lack of tremendous height by adding 7-1 Arizona center Christian Koloko. Considering how many prognosticators expected him to be picked in the first round, the Raptors were regarded to have pulled off quite […]
Raptors: 3 bold predictions for Christian Koloko in 2022-23 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs hoping to be the team that unlocks Victor Mete’s potential

Following his selection in the 2016 draft, Victor Mete has been on a path that had him viewed with more potential than most fourth round selections. At 19 he made the Habs opening night roster. He’d follow that up with making the Canadian World Junior team, an accomplishment that now seems to be viewed more as a curse than an achievement. And the next two seasons would still see Mete used as an NHL regular, although never really establishing himself with a role with meaningful minutes. In short, he seemed rushed to the NHL.
Given his early arrival in the NHL, Mete also had an early arrival at waivers eligibility, and the Senators were all too happy to take a chance on a once regarded prospect at a discount price. Unfortunately, Mete’s time in Ottawa involved a further step away from NHL regularity and resulted in spot duty throughout his time in the capital. He seemed to be moving further away from the promising role he seemed destined for in Montreal.
It seemed entirely possible that it was time to write off Mete, but there is something to be said for a little exploration of talent. Montreal’s defensive reputation of late has been geared towards us …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Top 3 African-born players in Toronto Raptors franchise history

Top 3 African-born players in Toronto Raptors franchise history

The Toronto Raptors used the No. 33 pick in the NBA Draft on Cameroonian-born center Christian Koloko. With Masai Ujiri as dedicated to growing the game of basketball in Africa as anyone and Pascal Siakam in place as the team’s star, African talent is making up the bedrock of this organization. Only 74 players who […]
Top 3 African-born players in Toronto Raptors franchise history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Realistic projections for Scottie Barnes in second season

Raptors: Realistic projections for Scottie Barnes in second season

The Toronto Raptors made one of the best draft picks in franchise history when they were somehow able to turn the seventh-best lottery odds in the 2021 NBA Draft into the No. 4 overall pick and Florida State star Scottie Barnes. Toronto’s versatile forward beat out Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham for Rookie of the […]
Raptors: Realistic projections for Scottie Barnes in second season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Prospect #5: Fraser Minten brings potential and projectability to the Leafs

Ahead of the draft, I was of the belief that the Leafs should be targeting more NHL projectability with their early picks rather than just swinging on higher upside prospects who provided less certainty in their overall projections. Last year’s selection of Matt Knies in the second round – a player with a relatively safe floor who still possessed some offensive upside – was a step in that direction, and the early returns have certainly exceeded expectations.
The Leafs went in a similar direction with their first pick of the 2022 draft after trading out of the first round, and while it was a bit of a reach in relation to most public draft rankings, the selection of Fraser Minten at 38th overall also offered an intriguing balance of potential and projectability.
One of the youngest players in the draft, Minten was a bit of a late riser in the lead-up to the draft, at least in terms of the buzz surrounding his name. Still, he went off the board much earlier than many were expecting, and the Leafs stood pat to select him rather than taking the chance and trading down again, illustrating the organization’s belief in the player.
Given Minten’s age, his already solid base of skills, and the fact that he has only been playing high-level hockey for a relatively short time, Kyle Dubas and the rest of the Leafs’ front office belie …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

TLN Prospect #9: Leafs betting on Nick Moldenhauer to be the latest steal out of Chicago

Selected in the third round of the 2022 NHL Draft out of Chicago in the USHL, Nick Moldenhauer is a player who Toronto’s front office was plenty familiar with even before they drafted him. The Leafs’ connection to the Chicago Steel has been well documented; they drafted Nick Abruzzese out of that program in 2019, 2020 sixth-rounder Joe Miller has spent the last two seasons with the club, former Leafs scout Noelle Needham is now an associate GM for the Steel, and Toronto’s assistant GM Ryan Hardy honed his craft as Chicago’s general manager for three seasons before joining the Leafs.
That familiarity likely played a big part in the organization’s comfort level in selecting a player who had a productive but difficult season. Moldenhauer missed the beginning of the season with a “mono-like” virus that forced him to spend time in the hospital, leading to significant weight loss. Already behind the eight ball following his recovery from that illness, the Mississauga native was dealt another devastating and nearly life altering blow. On his first shift of the season, he was clipped up high with a skate blade and suffered a gash that ran from his chin to his ear. He underwent surge …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Profile: Trent Palmer

The third-rounder from the 2020 draft is making some waves this season.

Trent Palmer is quickly becoming one of the most successful prospects in the Blue Jays minor league system. In just two seasons, he pitched at three different levels and had success at each of them.
Background:
The success didn’t just randomly show up at the pro level. The Minnesotan pitched three seasons at Jacksonville University. He posted a 3.52 ERA in 133 innings pitched. Palmer has always had a high K/9, as it sat at 10.6 in college, while his BB/9 was a solid 3.6.
Even in summer league action, Palmer put up some impressive numbers. In 49 innings pitched in two seasons, Palmer has an impressive 1.84 ERA, as well as a 10.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. The pedigree was obviously there.
So when it was the Jays turn to pick in the third round of the 2020 draft and Palmer was still on the board, the Jays selected the 6’1 righty 77th overall pick. According to MLB, the slot value for the 77th overall pick was $805,600 in 2020, yet Palmer was signed to a bonus of $847,500.
Palmer’s start:
As per usual, there was no 2020 minor league season, meaning that Palmer didn’t pitch his first professional game until the 2021 season.

RHP Trent Palmer, #BlueJays 3rd round pick in 2020, just pitched a seven inning no-hitter for single-A Dunedin
— Mitch Bannon (@MitchBannon) August 20, 2021

With the Low A Dunedin Blue Jay …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

3 2023 NBA Draft prospects Raptors should start scouting

3 2023 NBA Draft prospects Raptors should start scouting

The Toronto Raptors came out of the 2022 NBA Draft with another role player added to the roster in Arizona center Christian Koloko. Adding someone with his defensive prowess despite lacking a first-round draft pick is something only an executive like Masai Ujiri could pull off. The Raptors have possession of their 2023 first-round pick, […]
3 2023 NBA Draft prospects Raptors should start scouting – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #19 William Villeneuve

The pandemic NHL Draft was one of the most interesting — the Maple Leafs and every other team in their own war room drafting players in October rather than June.
Toronto had 12 picks back in 2020, the most they’ve had in a draft since 1996. A number of good players were picked but the one we’re going to focus on today is William Villeneuve.
This is the first time he’s cracked the top-20 of The Leafs Nation’s Prospect Rankings and the 20-year-old is ready for his first year of pro. Villeneuve just finished his final season of junior, winning the Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs at home.
William Villeneuve
RD | Saint John Sea Dogs | Age: 20 | 6-foot-2 | 181 lbs | Shoots: RAcquired: 2020 Draft, 122nd overall | 2021 Ranking: N/A
There’s a lot to look at with Villeneuve as a prospect. He’s got the size, at six-foot-two, but his weight still isn’t where it might need to be for pro. Yet that may be one of the only downsides to the 20-year-old’s last season in junior, and future as a pro.
One of the ways he’s able to shine is being a smart two-way defenceman. Villeneuve, in 64 games with the Sea Dogs this season, had eight goals and 46 assists for 56 points — all of that while still …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #20 Max Ellis

When you lack draft capital as the Toronto Maple Leafs have over the past two seasons, making just eight selections over that span, one way to supplement the prospect pool is to dip into the undrafted free agent market.
Enter Max Ellis, the lone undrafted NCAA signing for Toronto this spring.
Ellis makes his debut on the TLN Prospect Rankings just inside the Top 20 after his impressive breakout season at Notre Dame. While his team-leading 16 goals and 28 points would suggest a straightforward, productive season for the 22-year-old winger, there is a lot more to Ellis’ season that makes him a fascinating new entry to the prospect pool.
Max Ellis
RW | Notre Dame (Big-10) | Age: 22 | 5-foot-9 | 165 lbs | Shoots: RAcquired: UDFA Signing, 4/8/22 | 2021 Ranking: N/A
Entering the 2021-22 season, Max Ellis had an opportunity to earn a spot on Notre Dame’s top line. The Fighting Irish were in need of a new top contributor following the departure of Alex Steeves, funnily enough to the Maple Leafs organization. Ellis had a good year in 2020-21, scoring 16 points in 24 games in his first full year of NCAA action after being limited to just eight games as a freshman, but was mainly used in a secondary role.
With Steeves moving on and no notable freshm …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation