A new home on the horizon for the Blue Jays?

Christmas has come early for Toronto Blue Jays fans.
Most awoke this morning to the startling news of Andrew Willis of The Globe and Mail reporting the Blue Jays are planning to scrap the Rogers Centre and build a brand new ballpark for the team.
This is something many, many people have dreamed about for years, but considering the ideal location of the current stadium and the hundreds of million of dollars sunk into the Rogers Centre already, starting from scratch didn’t seem feasible.
Now it is, apparently! If this plan does in fact come to fruition, there are tonnes of working parts to figure out, but in the short term, this is incredibly promising for the Blue Jays. Many have been pining for a new ballpark for a long time, and now their prayers have been answered.
Keep in mind that Rogers Centre is the seventh-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball and one of the last stadiums built in the multi-use era. During its unveiling in 1989, the SkyDome aimed to be everything to everyone; from baseball fans, to football fans, to concerts and yes, even Star Trek screenings.
Now that the Argos have moved out and the Blue …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

What will the Leafs reverse retro jersey look like?

There are few times the NHL gets something right. The early days of the Winter Classic, the bubble approach to the Return to Play this summer, and now we might be able to add fun jerseys to that list. The teases and leaks we’ve seen from other teams so far have been encouraging, but that leaves us with an important question, what will be done for the Leafs?
Based on the image above, we can assume two things.

It will be based on the 1970 jersey design.
It will be blue, with either white or grey accents.

The first is appealing because the Leafs haven’t done much with the Ballard era jersey design, likely because of its connection to the Ballard era. The second, at least for me is decidedly less appealing since it’s the same colour scheme we’ve had since the beginning of time. It might not exactly lend itself to a fun design.

Rather than focus too much on what it will probably look like, we’ve asked the writers of The Leafs Nation to tell us what they want the Leafs reverse retro jersey to look like. Remember to tell us who got it …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Lehtonen strikes, Scott ready and waiting, Barabanov lands

With the initial fury of the offseason’s early days behind us, the Leafs’ organizational depth chart is beginning to take shape. Many of Toronto’s most prized prospects are still a year or more away from playing professional hockey in North America, but there are also a number of them that will be fighting for playing time with some of the team’s more recent acquisitions in the NHL and AHL when training camps get underway. There are lots of bodies, both up front and on the blueline, so any extra bit of preparation could be the difference in a camp that promises to feature some serious battles for roster spots.
Mikko Lehtonen – LHD – Jokerit (KHL)
Lehtonen recorded two goals and an assist over his three games this past week, bringing his totals to eight goals and eight assists over 14 games. He is currently the second leading scorer on his team and he is averaging 22:47 of ice time per game – about three minutes more per game than anyone else on Jokerit’s roster. Lehtonen’s abilities on the power play have been well documented but five of his eight goals on the season have come at even strength, helping …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs 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

News and Notes: Leafs complete wild comeback

Leafs fans were treated to Christmas early on Monday night in Toronto as the team pulled off a wild comeback against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. The win gave the Leafs a five-game winning streak and put the team in second place heading into the NHL’s holiday break. Here’s some news and notes heading into the break.

In case you somehow missed it, here’s the Leafs scoring three goals in under a minute, turning a two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead in the third period:

59 seconds 3 gorgeous goals Enjoy #LeafsForever #NextGenGame pic.twitter.com/2AUth7A53S
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 24, 2019

A key cog in last night’s comeback was the Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, and Zach Hyman line. Marner scored the first of three goals in the minute span off of a great pass from Matthews, Hyman fed Tyson Barrie for the second, and Marner then scored the third off of the face-off. All told, those three combined to put up 10 points last night. Since becoming a line during the game against the Red Wings a couple of days ago, they have 18 points over two games.
Auston Matthews spoke after the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Leafs trying to win isn’t making us happy. Maybe they should become trade deadline sellers instead

Is it too early to give up the season? Statistically no, but of course in the world where we have a defending Stanley Cup Champion that was the worst team in the league last January, well, it’s a bit of a hard sell.
I love Freddie Andersen, but I am not expecting a Jordan Binnington-esque run. I’m excited for what Sheldon Keefe will do, but it seems like he might be working through some team issues that Craig Berube didn’t have to. Also, he doesn’t have Jordan Binnington. The reality is the Leafs are in an uphill battle that never really looks as bad as it seems because of the fact that the Leafs have a number of games at hand on their conference rivals which inflates their standings.
Wildcard Race by Points
GP
Pts
Atlantic Division

Boston
28
45
Florida
27
31
Buffalo
28
31
Metro Division

Washington
30
47
New York Islanders
26
38
Philadelphia
28
37
Wildcard

Pittsburgh
28
34
Carolina
28
33
Montreal
28
30
Toronto
30
30
Look at that. Only one point behind second in the division? How can you give up now?
Wildcard Race by Pts%
GP
Pts
Atlantic Division

Boston
28
80.4%
Tampa Bay
25
58.9%
Florida
27
57.4%
Metro Division

Washington
30
78.3%
New York Islanders
26
73.1%
Philadelphia
28
66.1%
Wildcard

Pittsburgh
28
60.7%
Carolina
28
58.9%
New York Rangers
26
55.8%
Buffalo Sabres
28
55.4%


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

You can cross Jake Odorizzi off your free agent wish list

One of the names the Blue Jays had been linked to early on this off-season — and a name many fans had been talking about for months as an ideal fit — is off the free-agent list before things even got rolling. Jake Odorizzi has reportedly accepted his qualifying offer from the Minnesota Twins.

Odorizzi accepting qualifying offer, source tells The Athletic. Back with #MNTwins.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2019

After Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, Odorizzi’s name was towards the top of the list for free-agent starters. Thanks to a bounceback season in which he posted a 3.51 ERA and made his first-ever All-Star appearance, the 29-year-old seemed primed to get himself a nice payday this winter. But instead, he’ll bet on himself, and do it all over again next winter.
This seems like an odd choice for Odorizzi, given that he’s coming off of the best season of his career. But since players can only be qualified once, Odorizzi will be able to head straight to the free-agent market next winter without any draft pick compensation attached to him. It’s also a much, much weaker free-agent market next year for starters, so another year like he had …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Kasperi the Ghost

Is four games into the season too early to have an opinion on the performance of a player? Most definitely.
Am I going to complain about Kapanen anyway? You betcha.
So first let’s take a look at what Kapanen’s first four games have looked like…
Game #
GF
GA
GF%
CF
CA
CF%
CF Rel
xGF
xGA
xGF%
xGF Rel
TOI
1
0
1
0
9
11
45
-17.82
0.48
0.48
50.28
-16.26
12:07
2
0
0

12
11
52.17
3.9
0.24
0.45
35.02
-6.89
12:16
3
0
2
0
15
17
46.88
5.45
0.5
1.02
32.71
-8.38
13:33
4
0
1
0
20
10
66.67
5.8
0.75
0.22
77.45
15.9
13:25
I think it’s worth noting that Kapanen is also on the ice with Tavares and Marner and these numbers are as much theirs as they are his, with the exception of the fact that both Marner and Tavares have seen substantial improvement in special teams situations and Kapanen has not.
So far this year, only 11 of those Corsi For events belong to Kasperi Kapanen, so he’s not even individually responsible for 20% of the shots directed at the net when he’s on the ice. Again those numbers may be skewed by the fact that Tavares and Marner are going to rule the roost, and be responsible for the majority of the opportunities, but given Kapanen’s past output, he’s slid into oblivion on this.
Add in the broken stick incident which …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Mike Babcock is back on his bullshit

It wouldn’t be early August in the hockey world without some random quote that gets attention due to the fact that it made a fanbase mad.
Last year, the Maple Leafs under-performed and that’s just a true statement. They were heading in with arguably the best two-headed monster down the middle — Auston Matthews and John Tavares — and they had very good players still playing for very cheap in Mitch Marner and the aforementioned Matthews.
To not take advantage of this roster with no massive cap obligations that forced reconfiguration in the lineup, should be seen as unfortunate. They were just one game away — maybe one period away — from winning their first opening round playoff series in a very long time.
But of course the coaching decision that led the whole NHL to collectively ask “what the hell are they doing?”, Mike Babcock playing depth players in the last period of Game 7 against the future Stanley Cup Finalist Boston Bruins, was the talk of every fan around the nation.
This is why, when Matt Larkin of The Hockey News put a quote from a future interview with Babcock out into the Twitter world, it just enraged the whole topic …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

Raptors get blown out by Bucks in Game 2, 125-103

Toronto’s fate was decided early in the first quarter, as the Raptors were decimated by an energetic Bucks squad in Game 2. After a disheartening loss in Game 1 where both teams seemed evenly matched, the Raptors were totally outclassed tonight. The Bucks out-hustled, out-shot, out-rebounded, out-assisted and generally outdid the Raptors entirely, providing me with a pointless writing exercise about a 125-103 blowout loss. But please, join me and let’s bask in sadness together!
To start things off, the Raptors made careless error after careless error. In the first six minutes of the game, the Bucks went on a 9-0 run, including two Giannis Antetokounmpo jams, multiple Toronto throwaway turnovers and a Nikola Mirotic three-pointer. It might’ve suggested that Nick Nurse call a timeout at some point before that Mirotic three, but hey, I’m not a professional basketball coach so he must be right. But seriously, the Milwaukee crowd was getting fired up and the Raptors looked flustered; a timeout to settle the troops was much needed.
Marc Gasol was incredibly shaky to start the game, missing his first four shots, fumbling a Kawhi Leonard interior pass and whipping a pass of his own off the rim …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ