Malgin qualified, Vehviläinen heading overseas, and other RFA notes

In a two week window filled with interesting events, restricted free agent qualifying day might not be the sexiest. It is underrated fun though, especially when most of the RFAs of significance have already been sorted out. Travis Dermott was signed pre-expansion draft so the Leafs had the opportunity to protect four defensemen and leave Dermott exposed. Now the Leafs have either a pretty good defenseman in Dermott, or a pretty decent trade chip.
Of their RFAs, Joseph Woll was likely the prospect of the most significance, and while people are starting to raise concerns about his AHL success, the slower development curve for most goaltenders makes adding Woll back a no brainer as well.
That brings us to today, and the remaining players, Denis Malgin, Nic Petan, Joseph Duszak, and Veini Vehviläinen. Taking a quick look at this list you can make a case for it being nice having any of these players back because they aren’t bad, but they aren’t players you are going to lose sleep over if Toronto moves on from them.
The first bit of news came today with Vehviläinen’s decision to return to Europe and play in the Swedish …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BREAKING: Montreal confirms their prospects are all busts

In a shocking turn of events the Montreal Canadiens have boldly declared that three of their most touted youngsters aren’t good enough to take NHL jobs away from the likes of Paul Byron, Ben Chiarot, and the trash filled husk of Corey Perry.

Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed Tuesday that Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Cole Caufield and Alexander Romanov won’t be in the lineup for Game 1 in Toronto: | #StanleyCup
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) May 18, 2021

While the decision could very well be based on lack of talent, there is also the possibility that the Canadiens deem the youngsters too inexperienced to accept the merciless beating that they will receive over the next four games.
The move to sit the three young players comes as no surprise as the Canadiens have had more playoff riots than successfully developed prospects in this century. It seems like their development has slipped through the cracks, which would actually be something quite easy for Cole Caufield to do, as he is roughly the size of a Pomeranian.
The decision comes less than two weeks after the Leafs prematurely ended the career of another Habs “can’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The NHL Draft and Awards have been postponed

To the surprise of nobody, a handful of key NHL events have been postponed until further notice. This includes the NHL Scouting Combine, the NHL Entry Draft, and the NHL Awards Ceremony.

The @NHL has announced the postponements of the 2020 NHL Scouting Combine, the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards and the 2020 NHL Draft. #NHLCombine #NHLDraft #NHLAwards
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 25, 2020

Just like with everything else involved with the leagues COVID-19 pause, we have no idea when these events will end up taking place, or even if they will. If the 2019-20 season gets completely cancelled, the draft will likely have to take place over the phone and the league will have to do without an awards ceremony. Perhaps they could do some kind of TV-only special.
As I said, this happening really is no surprise. The league is on pause right now until at least mid-May as the United States Centre for Disease Control and Protection has issued a restriction on large gatherings. The goal for the NHL, it seems, is to still carry out everything involved with the 2019-20 season, including playoffs, the draft, and awards ceremony, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Mighty Yankees fall to Grichuk, Blue Jays in penultimate meeting

In yet another surprising turn of events, the Blue Jays (now 59-91) miraculously took two of three from the 98-53 Yankees this weekend, finishing off with a 4-2 record against New York and Boston this week. With timely hitting and (occasionally) flashy defence, the Blue Jays sharply manoeuvred their way through the iron wall that is the New York Yankees roster, despite having numerous players struggle heavily throughout.
Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from this weekend’s Yankees-Blue Jays series at Rogers Centre:
The Good
Bo Bichette (5-for-10, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB) had himself another fantastic series, with Brandon Drury (3-for-8, 3 R, 2 2B) shockingly contributing offensively as well. Elsewhere in the lineup, Randal Grichuk (4-for-12, 3 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI) had a monster finale, and the duo of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2-for-3, 2B) and Richard Urena (2-for-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI) was productive as well, despite Urena making a sloppy fielding error Sunday.
On the mound, Jason Adam (0.1 IP, H, 0 R/ER), Buddy Boshers (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, BB), Wilmer Font (3.0 IP, H, R/ER, 4 SO, W), Sam Gaviglio (3.0 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 4 SO), and Ken Giles (2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, SO, SV) all pitched well …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation

Kawhi’s buzzer-beater ends the Sixers in Game 7; Raptors win 92-90

In a perfect turn of events, the Raptors won Game 7 against the Sixers on a last second shot by their best player, Kawhi Leonard. Literally unbelievable. The Raptors only had to win. They didn’t have to win with grace, or aplomb, or anything approaching beauty. They just had to have more points than the Philadelphia 76ers after 48 minutes of Game 7 action; the whole team could then bundle up their collective performance as one more memory. Even if the Raptors decided to all shoot terribly, even if it looked at times like they would never hit another three, even when Philly took the lead — especially then — none of it mattered, if they could hold on until the end.
That Toronto’s Game 7 win would come on a buzzer-beating shot from Kawhi Leonard, a long two on the baseline that bounced and hung on the rim for what felt like a million years, was just perfect poetry. It was magic the universe seemed to draw up just for the Raptors and the city of Toronto. The other 47.999 minutes, all the ups and downs, the whys and whats and how-could-yous, all of it, just melted away.
The Raptors had a Game 7 in …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ