Scottie Barnes beats out Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year

Scottie Barnes beats out Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year

The Toronto Raptors surprised everyone when they won 48 games and made it to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference during what many expected to be a rebuilding year. The development of Scottie Barnes has been one of the main reasons for this sudden burst of energy that pushed Toronto to the playoffs. […]
Scottie Barnes beats out Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Alek Manoah is going to become the Blue Jays’ ace this season

Happy Manoah Monday to everyone that celebrates this very special day.

I started writing for Blue Jays Nation in the middle of May 2021. One of the first articles I wrote was about Manoah’s debut. If you follow me on Twitter or read my articles, you know that I am big into reporting news about prospects.
At the start of the Triple-A 2021 season, I saw pure domination from the 24-year-old righty that I had never seen before. In just 18 innings pitched for the Bisons, he posted a 0.50 ERA, 2.25 FIP, and a K/9 of 13.50. 
However, he only walked three batters (1.50 BB/9) while hitting four batters. Last season, I gave Manoah the nickname “Manoahson”, as he hits batters for intimidation tactics, much like the late great Bob Gibson. He’s the kind of pitcher who just has a special presence on the mound. 

New ATL with @bnicholsonsmith — Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah talks about a challenging upbringing, learning how to succeed in the majors, self-doubt, dreams, food, and more
: https://t.co/2WlGThthXi: https://t.co/vsx7oVUjQ9
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) April 11, 2022

Despite his lack of experience in the minors (35 innings pitched), I, along with many other Jays fans, were calling for the big man to be promoted. His Major League debut on May 27th did not disappoint.
Like this season, his first MLB game of the season was against the New York Yankees in the Bronx. You couldn’t have asked for a better debut, as he pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. That was a wildly impressive result in a stadium that isn’t easy to pitch in, especially for a rookie. 
Was it a flash in the pan? Of course not. Manoah finished …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Knies contract watch, Robertson running hot, Leafs sign Ellis & Rindell

With the Frozen Four coming to a conclusion, everyone in Toronto is awaiting a decision on whether Matthew Knies will turn pro or return for another year of college hockey but the Leafs didn’t sit around twiddling their thumbs last week, signing a couple of other prospects to entry level deals.
In addition to bringing in a couple of new recruits, the Leafs’ system saw a pair of players earn NCAA All-American honors, and a handful of other prospects had their seasons come to an end.
Let’s get to it.
Matthew Knies | W | Minnesota (NCAA)
Matthew Knies contract watch is officially underway after his Gophers were defeated by Minnesota State in the national semifinal. The Leafs’ 2021 second-rounder got his club out to an early lead but that was all the scoring Minnesota would be able to muster in their final game of the season.

Matt Knies and Bryce Brodzinski head in on a 2-on-0 rush and Knies finishes it to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Loochly1ke
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) April 8, 2022

Though it didn’t end the way he had hoped, Knies had a monster freshman season on one of the NCAA’s best teams. He finished the campaign with 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 33 games – good enough for fifth-best among all NCAA players drafted in 2021, just behind first-round picks Kent Johnson and Matthew Coronato. With that kind of production and the way he was able to impose his physical will as a first-year college player, Leafs fans are understandably excited about the idea of Knies turning pro thi …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Why Greg Moore is the right head coach for this Marlies team

The Marlies are a development team now and I believe everyone should understand that.
When Kyle Dubas was hired as the Maple Leafs GM, he left his Assistant GM role with a different plan in mind — to make the Toronto Marlies a team solely focused on producing NHL caliber players.
That meant the departures of many veterans last summer.
More changes happened at that time, as Dubas promoted Laurence Gilman to Senior Vice-President and Governor. At the same moment, he brought in Ryan Hardy to manage both the Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers.
Hardy is someone that Marlies head coach Greg Moore worked alongside with the Chicago Steel of the USHL a few years back. These two are very good at developing prospects, especially when they’re working together.
“We’re here to develop players for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said Hardy of the Marlies back in October. “I’m sure there’ll be some ups and downs as we get acclimated here and putting younger players, first-year pro, in some new spots.”
Throughout this season and last, there’s been a lot of criticism over Moore, specifically, as a coach. Whether it be lineup decisions or on-ice choices, a lot of Marlies fans aren’t happy.
Looking back at some moments, there was one instance where Moore left Nick Robertson off a 6- …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Curtis Douglas is playing his way into a contract with the Maple Leafs

Curtis Douglas is playing his way into a contract with the Maple Leafs

While everyone discusses who the Maple Leafs might trade for ahead of the deadline, one Marlies player on an AHL deal is making a case for himself to be signed by Kyle Dubas.
Curtis Douglas is having a season with the Toronto Marlies.
The six-foot-eight centreman has tallied 26 points over the span of 46 games this season, while spending a majority of his time in the bottom-half of the lineup.
Coming into this year, one of Douglas’ major goals was to build up his skating. With his size, if he was able to level up that skillset, he would become a much more dangerous player.
After most practices, the 22-year-old would be seen working with Maple Leafs’ Skating Consultant, Randi Milani, trying to better his skating. While putting that together with his size and utilizing all of his tools he has, Douglas has become as effective as ever.
“I think he’s a player, I’ve told him that personally,” said Marlies defenceman Alex Biega of Douglas. “I think he’s slowly gaining that confidence. He reminds me of a guy like Paul Gaustad, that just wins draws, he’s big and heavy, he’s not afraid to fight and be an intimidating factor on the ice.
“I think you’re seeing right now his game just evolve from just a …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Jack Campbell could end up starting both tonight and tomorrow night

Like anyone on a Friday, everyone is asking Sheldon what he’s up to this weekend. For some reason, he’s being weird and cagey about it, like he’s got something to hide about his plans this weekend. Specifically, he’s not revealing which goaltender will start Saturday night’s game. Here was his quote from today:

Full quote from Keefe on goalie plan for Saturday: “We’re going to focus on today. Jack’s going to play today. We have a plan, of course, but we’re holding until we have all the information before the next game that we’re just going to focus on tonight’s game.” https://t.co/MPnrDxrmlV
— David Alter (@dalter) November 12, 2021

We know that Jack Campbell is getting the nod for this evening’s tilt against Calgary, but for tomorrow’s game against Buffalo, all we know is that they “have a plan”.
With Joseph Woll backing up Campbell in Petr Mrazek’s absence due to a re-aggravated groin injury, it was assumed that he would get his first NHL start on Saturday. And that could very well still be the case. But with Keefe acting like my relationships in my early 20’s and refusing to commit, …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Winners and Losers from tight victory against Pacers

Raptors: Winners and Losers from tight victory against Pacers

The Toronto Raptors needed everyone from starters like Precious Achiuwa and OG Anunoby as well as bench players like Svi Mykhailiuk to step up on Saturday night. They were playing a desperate Indiana Pacers team that was coming back home after some brutal road losses, and that desperation helped them play a very physical game. […]
Raptors: Winners and Losers from tight victory against Pacers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Tunesday: the Leafs beginning we kinda saw coming

Welcome everyone to the first regular-season edition of the Not Enough of Blue playlist! This one is short and sweet but encapsulates the fan feelings well. Beginning to the end of these first two weeks, the outcome was predicted by many. Everything is linked down below, so feel free to listen while you read!
After what felt like forever without fans and real cheering, the time has come for a new reality. Fans are back and their presence, as well as their energy, can breathe new life into this team. First up and representing our home opener we have Applause-Lady Gaga.

“I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause”

Morgan Rielly is ready to feel all the good feelings again. Truly I think we all live for the applause. We are 100% ready to see this team dominate, and they should be ready to hustle.
In the chorus, Lady Gaga sings,

“Give me that thing that I love (I’ll turn the lights out)
Put your hands up, make ’em touch, touch (Make it real loud)
Give me …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Significant injuries, Topi Niemelä continues to score, and the Growlers are back!

We’re fully into the hockey schedule as everyone in the Leafs organization have their regular seasons underway. With the Marlies kicking off last weekend and the Newfoundland Growlers starting their season on Thursday night, there will be lots more prospect content coming up.
We’ve got good news and bad news on this week’s edition of the Leafs Prospect Roundup. Let’s get the bad out of the way first. Depending on who you still consider a prospect, the Leafs two top prospects are injured and are set to miss significant time.
Rodion Amirov remains out, Nick Robertson to miss extended time
It was a short-lived strong start for the Marlies as they opened with a 5-1 victory against the Manitoba Moose, only to fall 5-0 the following day and see their most dangerous offensive piece hobble to the locker room.
Nicholas Robertson was electric in the season opener, scoring two assists and looking great alongside Kirill Semyonov and Josh Ho-Sang. In the second game, though, a relatively innocuous play resulted in Robertson landing awkwardly on his leg.

Here’s another look at Nick Robertson’s injury: pic.twitter.com/uRniSTVgQl
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) October 17, 2021

It didn’t …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Leafs get an outdoor game, but unfortunately it’s against the Sabres

Good news everyone, the Leafs will be playing outside again this year. The bad news is it will likely be against a Jack Eichel-less Buffalo Sabres team in Hamilton.

The 2022 Tim Hortons NHL #HeritageClassic will feature the @MapleLeafs and @BuffaloSabres on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field, in Hamilton, Ont. Info: https://t.co/S1v1ewXgdd pic.twitter.com/bn8twg6A6q
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) September 16, 2021

The game counts as a Sabres home game, so you can hold back any possible outrage over having to drive to Hamilton for a Leafs game instead of it being in Toronto, this is just shaving some time off the drive to Buffalo for Leafs fans who normally make that trip, and saving people the inconvenience of the border crossing, which ironically the home team fans will have to put up with. It being a Sabres home game seems like it will be so in name only, as Leafs fans generally take over the arena in Buffalo anyways, and in this scenario it seems very unlikely their fans will outnumber the Leafs fans.
This also marks the first time that an American team has been involved in the Heritage Classic, let …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation