Prospect Roundup: Leafs on loan, Hallander heating up

We’ve now moved beyond the exciting, transaction filled part of the offseason into the slog of GM meetings and discussions surrounding the return of various leagues throughout North America, both amateur and professional. There have been vague plans and tentative target dates but everybody knows that the coming season is still very much up in the air for leagues like the the AHL and CHL, as well as the USHL and NCAA. With many NHL prospects on something of an indefinite hiatus, their clubs have been hard at work hammering out loan agreements with teams in Europe that have already gotten their seasons underway. Roster spots are becoming scarce in the European professional ranks, so NHL teams are being forced to prioritize and act quickly if they want to get their young talent into meaningful games before 2021.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev – C – Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
SDA had a disappointing draft+1 season but bounced back last season to the tune of 75 points in 55 games playing alongside fellow Maple Leafs prospect Nick Robertson in Peterborough. The 76th overall pick from 2018 was ticketed for his first tour of duty with the Marlies this season but that will have to wait, with the North …

Read More

Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

What’s next for Nick Robertson after making the Leafs Return to Play roster?

It’s been an exciting few weeks for Nick Robertson to say the least. He’s been through the Maple Leafs’ phase 3 Return to Play training camp and is a part of the 26 player roster, who entered the bubble on Sunday night.
As much as people think Robertson’s situation is crystal clear and he’s made the team, it’s not that simple.
One of the biggest takeaways from the Maple Leafs training camp was that the 18-year-old can play against NHL players. And as we’ve heard before, some teams in the league were hesitant to draft him because of his size, which we now know isn’t a problem.
That was one of the big “what ifs” when Mitch Marner was drafted, too. Yet he has turned out to be one of the NHL’s most dominant wingers.

Today’s @MapleLeafs practice lines and defensive pairings:
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 27, 2020

As the Maple Leafs get ready for their first and only exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens, everyone will be watching to see if Robertson can play against other NHL …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The NHL wants you to binge hockey

Exciting news everyone, from noon until past midnight (or 10am to 11pm for us Mountain timers) you’ll have the opportunity to do nothing but watch hockey.
From Bob McKenzie:
The plan is to play three games a day both in Edmonton and Toronto and the timetable template in local times is to schedule those games at noon, 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Now, keep in mind the two-hour time difference between Edmonton and Toronto. It means basically there’s going to be six games a day spread out over a 15-hour window, if not longer.
That sounds damn good to me and having games in other time zones is paying off.
Of course the immediate question is what about Overtime and Bob McKenzie’s thoughts are:
In the preliminary round, when you’ve got four placement teams in the East and the West – the top four teams in each conference – playing seeding games, there isn’t unlimited overtime. So, what they will do there, they’ll just use regular season overtime and shootout. They would put those games in the 4:00 spot to try and make up time if the first game …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Grades from the Toronto Raptors shootout win against the Wizards

In an exciting 122-118 fast-paced shootout, the Toronto Raptors escaped with a victory over the Washington Wizards. Who stepped up during this critical win? Throughout an NBA season, teams will go through phases. They’ll struggle at points and be clicking on all cylinders at others. And over the course of a physical 82-game season, there […]
Grades from the Toronto Raptors shootout win against the Wizards – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ

Leafs Place 4 on Waivers, Send Down 7 to Marlies

The roster is taking form and some exciting names are still a part of the Toronto Maple Leafs just days away from the opening to the 2019-20 regular season on Oct. 2.
Rasmus Sandin, Egor Korshkov and Timothy Liljegren are some key prospects that are still with the NHL squad heading into the game against the Ottawa Senators. Some are more guaranteed to make the team than others — Sandin essentially forcing his way into the discussion.

Leafs announce alterations to training camp roster.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 28, 2019

With this remaining roster, the Leafs had to place four skaters on waivers and send down a total of seven to the Marlies that did not require waivers.
Defencemen Ben Harpur and Jordan Schmaltz are currently on waivers, while forwards Pontus Aberg and Tyler Gaudet are there as well. The latter played themselves out of the lineup with some poor decision making and inability to play at the speed the Leafs want. While the forwads were impressive, there is just simply not enough roster spots to give out to players on the bubble like Aberg and Gaudet.
Forwards Darren Archibald, Jeremy Bracco, Rich Clune, Adam Brooks, Hudson Elynuik, …

Read More

Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

Leafs cut 6ix

Okay, so it’s not the most exciting of cut days, but I guess it’s something.
Here’s the summary:

#Leafs cut six players from training camp, sending them to Marlies’ camp now:
Nicholas Baptiste, forward Colt Conrad, defenceman Joseph Duszak, defenceman Mac Hollowell, defenceman Jesper Lindgren and defenceman Kristians Rubins
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) September 25, 2019
So Marlies contract, Marlies contract, ELC, ELC, ELC, Marlies contract. That’s the rushed story, but hey, we can give you a bit more analysis than that. At least on the three entry level guys that matter a bit more in the long term.
It’s also worth noting that this puts the Leafs down to 42 players. So basically half of who is left has still gotsta go.
On who is leaving…
Mac Hollowell is the youngest of the departing contract players. He, like the other two ELC players is a right handed defenseman who is going to have an equally tough battle ahead in establishing a role on the Marlies.
He’s got an offensive advantage over the other two, but his size will count against him. He didn’t factor too much into the preseason, but stands to get a good …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Should the Blue Jays extend Justin Smoak?

The Toronto Blue Jays are suddenly an exciting offensive team. Full of young stars that have the potential to carry a team into eventually winning more games than they lose, but beyond the Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio trio, there appears to be a newly found hole in the future infield.
Rowdy Tellez was destined for that position and slotted in there over last winter, but to say his 2019 has been disappointing could be an understatement. Through the last month of the 2018 season, he provided an excellent story with some powerful home runs and what seemed like an unending slugging streak.
But as he was given more responsibility this season, his .222/.281/.421 slash line through a total of 324 plate appearances makes one wonder if he’s really the player that could be in that position long-term when everything is put together for a contending team.
He found a resurgence in Triple-A Buffalo midseason, hitting for an astronomical 186 wRC+ and 1.138 OPS in 109 PA,  but his production returned to what it was before he was optioned down to the minors. Since his return on August 14th, Tellez has a .592 OPS — it is only 10 games of hitting, but his hot streak …

Read More

Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation

Borucki, Bichette closing in on return from injury

One of the rare exciting players during the 2018 season and the Blue Jays’ current top prospect that has not seen the major leagues, are currently closing in on a return from their injuries suffered earlier this season.
Right-handed starter Ryan Borucki suffered an elbow injury during spring training and has not seen any game action since then.

Ryan Borucki “probably a month away” from joining #BlueJays’ rotation per Ross Atkins
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) June 5, 2019

Since moving to the 60-day IL, it was assumed that Borucki would not return to Toronto until early-July at the earliest. When he first suffered the injury, it was announced that he would be only missing his first start of the season, but the timeline has stretched beyond that.
Borucki will throw his third bullpen session this weekend, hopefully on his way back to joining a middling rotation.
Since the arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette has been the prospect to focus on. He dominated spring training with a 1.260 OPS in his 39 at-bats — building the hype and causing fans to wonder when he will be in Toronto.
During a game with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in the early season, Bichette suffered a broken hand and …

Read More

Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation

The Orioles exist to make the Blue Jays seem less bad

Since the Blue Jays and Orioles met in the tense and exciting wild card game back in 2016, that, as we know, featured the legendary walk-off blast from Edwin Encarnacion off of Ubaldo Jimenez, nothing has gone right for either franchise.

From a Blue Jays perspective, the front office did a half-in, half-out thing in which they didn’t sell off the team’s best players, like Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez, and Marcus Stroman to kick off a rebuild, but they also didn’t really do anything for the team to maintain a competitive window. The Jays finished with 76 and 73 wins in 2017 and 2018 respectively, putting forward some ugly, hard-to-watch teams.
The Jays are now fully engaged in rebuild mode and the team is on pace to win just 64 games this season. That would be their first time in the 60-win range since the team won just 67 games back in 2004.
There’s no doubt this has been a tough season to watch. The youth movement we were all hyped about heading into the season has been, uh, rough. Vlad Jr, the jewel of the whole process, has had a slow transition to the Major Leagues and some of the only positives on …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Round 1 Game 4 Postgame: Leafs vs Bruins

This game four in Toronto represented an exciting opportunity for the Leafs to go up 3 games to 1 in this initial playoff series on the road to the 2019 Stanley Cup.
Let’s get right into the action packed game it was.
1st period
The Bruins got off to an early advantage with a powerplay opportunity early to set the tone. On the advantage, just before it ended, Charlie McAvoy finished off a slick passing play for the Bruins to take the 1-0 lead:

McAvoy after strong cycle work on the PP. 1-0 Bruins. #LeafsForever
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) April 17, 2019

Only a few minutes later, the Bruins started to show signs of dominance, with a great pass in front to Brad Marchand for a 2-0 lead:

Marchand tips in McAvoy’s pass in tight. 2-0 Bruins. #LeafsForever
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) April 17, 2019

Frederik Andersen, as he has done all series, was giving his all to hold the Leafs in this one and not let the Bruins run away with the game, including this stellar save on Charlie Coyle:

Andersen comes up large with a glove save to keep the game close. #LeafsForever …

Read More

Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation