We Need To Talk About Justin Holl

I remember at the end of January, during the early stretch of the Maple Leafs regular season, seeing a meme about Justin Holl in a reply to the Edmonton Oilers team Twitter account. The Maple Leafs had just beaten the Oilers 4-3 and were off to a blazing 7-2-0 start. The meme made me chuckle, as it read “Thank you for your contribution to Justin Holl’s 2021 Norris Trophy”. Justin Holl had just emerged from the ashes as a top 4 right-handed defenseman for the Maple Leafs, not only providing steady reliability on the back end, but outright winning matchups against the league’s premier players, notably Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl that very evening.
The story of Justin Holl’s ascent has been echoed ad nauseama amongst Maple Leafs fans, oftentimes as a jab at Mike Babcock, who famously scratched the Minnesota native for 71 games during the 18-19 campaign. Holl hung around nonetheless the year after, outlasting even Babcock, and eventually finding his way into the Leafs lineup as a regular beside Jake Muzzin for the Maple Leafs in their top four. The 19-20 season was a breakout campaign for Holl in many respects, as he ranked amongst the …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

A post trade deadline look at how the Leafs are situated heading into the expansion draft

During the Vegas expansion, the Golden Knights did an excellent job of putting together a world class team that could compete immediate. The Leafs were absolutely no help to that cause, losing only Brendan Leipsic to Vegas, and not having to deal any picks or prospects to force the Knights into making that underwhelming selection.
The Leafs were aided by the fact that the key pieces in their roster at the time were all exempt from the expansion draft, and it was more of a challenge to find players worth protecting than it was a situation about worrying who the Leafs would lose. Still there were plenty of Leafs fans who say losing Leipsic as the worst possible outcome, and terrible asset management. This fanbase will never be 100% pleased.
This go around, the Leafs are in a slightly different situation. There are plenty of good young players who are still exempt from the expansion draft. The Leafs can still easily protect the majority of their core. And whomever is selected by the Kraken really only represents a minor inconvenience in how the Leafs will take shape for next season. Still it’s probably worth taking a look at how this …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Waiver Wildness: A Tyler Ennis reunion coming?

During the recent Saturday Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that the Leafs were in the market for an additional forward. Which makes sense given that both Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson are out for a month and some of the healthy forwards are still getting adjusted to Toronto’s system.
Which is why the news of who was placed on waivers this afternoon could not have been better for the Leafs:

Waivers today:
Tyler Ennis (#LetsGoOilers) & Greg Pateryn (#GoAvs).https://t.co/gjOvqcSdnQ
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) January 25, 2021

You may recall that Tyler Ennis played with the Leafs during the 2018-19 campaign and did well by scoring 12 goals, eight assists, and 18 points in 51 games. By many accounts, the players and organization loved him and his hard work earned him a Bill Masterton Trophy nomination. He split time between the Ottawa Senators and the Edmonton Oilers last year and had his best statistical performance since the 2014-15 season as he recorded 37 points in 70 games.
In terms of why the Oilers would want to put Ennis on waivers in the first place, my guess is so that he can shuffle back and forth between the main roster and …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

27 NHL’ers test postive for COVID-19 in training camp

27 players have tested positive for COVID-19 during NHL training camps, the league said.

The tests came from nine teams with the majority due to an outbreak on the Dallas Stars that infected 17 players there. They have been largely asymptomatic and are recovering without complication, the league said.
All of the tests were conducted between Dec. 30 and Jan. 11 on a daily basis. The league said a total of 12,000 tests were administered to over 1,200 players.
This year the league will be providing regular updates on COVID-19 test results and will be including the names of the players. This is a shift in the way the league handled the reporting of tests during their 2020 return-to-play.
There, the league opted to not identify players skirting it by deeming players “unfit to play.”
During the summer series’, no players tested positive inside the bubble, but before teams landed in Edmonton and Toronto, a total of 50 positive tests were found.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
 

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Leafs make their roster cuts

It’s that magical time during training camp, it’s cut day. The Leafs have slashed away at their roster and we now have a bit of an idea of who will be the roster and the taxi squad based on these moves.

Maple Leafs trim training camp roster. #LeafsForever
Details >> https://t.co/Lqu1dWz7wh pic.twitter.com/HfMEj5vVYm
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 11, 2021

So the Leafs are still sitting at 15 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders. From that we can based on the allowed roster size and the Leafs cap situation the Leafs have their taxi squad and roster embedded in this group.
Presumably 21 of these players will be main roster, and either 4 or 5 of them will be on the taxi squad, depending on whether or not Alexander Kerfoot is on the injured reserve.
The surprises here might be that Adam Brooks is part of this group instead of Pierre Engvall, a player that Sheldon Keefe essentially called out following the Leafs Blue and White game on the weekend. Brooks certainly stood out, picking up a goal (as did Engvall), but there’s also this…

Keefe also noted of Engvall’s goal: “I think it might be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors disappointing bench sob

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors disappointing bench sob

During the NBA Preseason, it looked like the Toronto Raptors may be one of the deepest teams in the league, but since the Regular Season started the names this team relies on have disappeared. Nothing about this Toronto Raptors season has been anything close to respectable. Raptors fans knew that the losses of Serge Ibaka and […]
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors disappointing bench sob – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

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

Bruce Boudreau claims his father cursed the Toronto Maple Leafs

During an interview on Leafs Lunch earlier today, Bruce Boudreau confirmed that his father once cursed the Toronto Maple Leafs to never win another Stanley Cup. After being drafted by the Leafs in 1975, Bruce Boudreau bounced between the NHL franchise and its affiliates for the better part of a decade before being let go from the team.
Despite putting up over a point per game in the AHL, and scoring a respectable 69 points in 134 games over six seasons for the Maple Leafs, the young centre was never able to hold onto a regular roster spot and eventually left to play in Europe. Feeling his family was disrespected, Bruce’s father cursed the team to never win a Stanley Cup until he comes back to them. With rumours surfacing that Bruce Boudreau could be joining the team as an assistant coach this season, one has to wonder if his return could reverse the team’s fortunes and lift the supposed curse.

“He said they’ll never win a Stanley Cup until I come back”
Longtime head coach Bruce Boudreau gets to the bottom of why the #MapleLeafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 on #LeafsLunch with @AndiPetrillo and @CraigJButton: His …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Raptors are the closest thing to the 2004 Detroit Pistons

The Toronto Raptors are looking to do the impossible during this postseason, and the closest team that comes to mind with this team is the 2004 Detroit Pistons. No Superstar? No pro… actually there is a problem. Historically in the NBA, the combination of a championship and a superstar player — a player that is […]
The Toronto Raptors are the closest thing to the 2004 Detroit Pistons – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

NBA Scrimmage Grades: Raptors Sloppy in Loss to the Suns

During their previous two scrimmage games, the Toronto Raptors came out looking healthy, well-rested, and ready to defend their championship. That was not the case against the Suns in which the Raptors came out looking tired and played an overall sloppy game where they lost 117 – 106. The Toronto Raptors played their final scrimmage […]
NBA Scrimmage Grades: Raptors Sloppy in Loss to the Suns – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hani Salehi / Raptors HQ