Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry

Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry is in the final year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors, and they’ll have to think about his future as a Raptor. Now that Giannis Antetokounmpo has officially signed the super-max extension to stay in Milwaukee, the Toronto Raptors have a lot of questions not only heading into this upcoming season but […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hani Salehi / Raptors HQ

Mac Hollowell is the Leafs 13th ranked prospect

In Kyle Dubas’ final OHL draft, with his 2nd to last pick, he selected Mac Hollowell. He was only 5’8″ and 169 lbs when the Greyhounds snagged him 237th overall, but he would wind up cracking the OHL the season after he was drafted.
When it came time for Hollowell’s NHL draft in 2017, his name was not called. The diminutive defenceman was struggling to get top 4 minutes thanks to the deep roster Dubas left behind when he joined the Leafs. It wasn’t until the 2017-18 OHL season when Hollowell started turning heads, assuming a larger role for the Greyhounds while Rasmus Sandin and Conor Timmins were at the World Juniors or injured.
Kyle Dubas was handed the Leafs reins ahead of the 2018 draft, and he made short work of acquiring the Greyhound’s two top scoring defencemen. The Leafs selected Sandin 29th overall, and Hollowell 118th overall. It’s worth noting that Hollowell was projected closer to the 6th round, but the Leafs took him in the 4th. Not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Dubas shows his confidence in the evasive RD.
RANK – GRADE – NHL READINESS
Position: RD
Age: 22
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2018 4th …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs 2020 NHL draft recap

The final major event in what has been the longest year in hockey history has come and gone, with the draft itself feeling like the longest in the NHL’s history too. Relying on all the hard work done by Kyle Dubas and his scouting staff over the last calendar year, the Leafs added 12 new prospects to their organization when the 2020 draft was all said and done.
1st round (15th overall): Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

Year
Team
League
GP
G
A
P

2019-2020
Salavat Yulaev Ufa
KHL
21
0
2
2

Toros Neftekamsk
VHL
5
1
2
3

Tolpar Ufa
MHL
17
10
12
22

2020-2021
Salavat Yulaev Ufa
KHL
10
3
2
5

Toros Neftekamsk
VHL
3
1
1
2

The Rodion Amirov selection was met with disappointment and frustration from some fans, stemming from the belief that the Leafs should have drafted a player that filled a more pressing need on the roster. The fact is that any player drafted at that point is highly unlikely to step into the NHL immediately, never mind address a pressing need for their team.
In Rod the Leafs trust

Amirov had been ranked right around the middle of the first round for most of the year leading up to the draft and the Leafs grabbed the best …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Even Boston’s bad pitching couldn’t help the Blue Jays’ bats

The final score of 5-3 was generous to the Blue Jays. Too bad there was nothing else going on in Toronto last night to distract from that long, frustrating slog.

Things worth mentioning…

Heading into the game, this really, really looked, on paper, like a game where the Blue Jays’ bats could finally explode. The Red Sox had allowed five or more runs in nine of their twelve games so far this season, which presented an opportunity for baseball’s worst offence to score some runs. But, unfortunately, the game isn’t played on paper.
Toronto managed eight hits and six walks, but they could only cash in three runs. They didn’t manage a single hit with runners in scoring position and the team grounded into four double plays. Boston’s starter, Ryan Weber, had allowed nine earned runs over seven innings of work this season (without a single strikeout!) and the Jays could only manage a couple of runs off of him. After that, the Sox bullpen held the Jays to one run over six innings.
Adding to the frustration last night was how many outs the Blue Jays handed to the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pierre Engvall replaces Frederik Gauthier on the fourth line

Saturday afternoon’s practice was the Leafs’ final tune-up before heading into the bubble to begin their quarantine at the Royal York Hotel. Sheldon Keefe only made one change to the lineup, and that was on the fourth line.

#Leafs lines at practice:
Nylander-Matthews-HymanMikheyev-Tavares-Marner Robertson-Kerfoot-KapanenClifford-Engvall-Spezza Gauthier
Rielly-CeciMuzzin-HollDermott-Barrie Sandin-Marincin
AndersenCampbell
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) July 25, 2020

Pierre Engvall, who saw Nick Robertson surpass him on the depth chart, now slots in between Kyle Clifford and Jason Spezza. It makes for quite an intriguing trio of players with different playstyles, providing Keefe with a new option for the bottom-six.
Meanwhile, Frederik Gauthier has not really stood out during training camp but provides value with his size, forechecking, and his prowess on the faceoff. Unfortunately for him, Engvall has the same height with a better upside offensively speaking and is a year younger. It will be interesting to see how the lines play out and where both Engvall and Gauthier will be placed on the roster.
According to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, Keefe is still formalizing the makeup of the bottom-six, partially because of Robertson’s performance at camp. The lines above look close to what the Leafs …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Madness: Final Four

It’s safe to say the voyage to the Final Four to determine the greatest fan favourite Leaf has gone exactly as expected. Sundin, Matthews, Bower, and Clark are all names you’d expect to see here. Beating out Gilmour, Sittler, and Keon to do so wasn’t a particularly easy thing to do, but here we are.
We have one multi Stanley Cup winner, but he’s the only cup winner on the list. In fact, Bower is the hardware King of the group, as he also has a pair of Vezinas to his name.
Mats Sundin leads the way with the most All-Star appearances, and has a Mark Messier Leadership award to his name. Both he and Bower are also in the Hall of Fame, so there’s that too.
Wendel Clark is a two time All-Star and one of three first overall draft picks on the list, one of two with the selections being made by the Leafs. Like Matthews, he had a great pace for hitting 50 goals, but never got there, making Sundin officially the only 50 goal guy left in the bracket.
As for Matthews. Well, the story isn’t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Absolutely, the Leafs Madness: Final first round matchups

It’s the end of week one and we’ll close out the final two regions of our first round today. We’ve got Your Grandpa’s Leafs (the Leafs that won cups) and the False Hope Leafs (the Leafs that regularly lost in the Conference Finals). Arguably this makes up the best 75% of the franchise’s history.
Here’s are the tournament results so far…

And now your matchups…

Your Grandpa’s Leafs Region
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) March 20, 2020
Seems like a tall order for Ace Bailey to go up against probably the most universally loved Leaf, but we’ll see how this plays out.

Your Grandpa’s Leafs Region
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) March 20, 2020
Barilko is a big part of the Leafs history, but on the other hand there’s a picture of Turk Broda eating pancakes in his crease.

Your Grandpa’s Leafs Region
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) March 20, 2020
This is a very personal matchup for me. As it’s my Dad’s favourite player (Mahovlich) up against his favourite hockey story to tell me growing up (the legend …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Grades following gutsy road win over Utah Jazz

The Toronto Raptors, on the final night of what’s been a gruelling, five-game road trip, gutted out a 101-92 win over the Utah Jazz but saw a key player go down with a serious injury. The good news: the Toronto Raptors won another game, their fourth in a row, to finish their five-game road trip […]
Toronto Raptors: Grades following gutsy road win over Utah Jazz – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Hell yes, Larry Walker is a finally a Hall of Famer

Better late than never. On his 10th and final time on the Hall of Fame ballot, Canadian legend Larry Walker has been voted into Cooperstown with 76.6 percent of votes.

In doing so, Walker became the second Canadian ever to be inducted to baseball’s Hall of Fame, joining Fergie Jenkins who was voted in back in 1991. Walker is undoubtedly the best Canadian baseball player of all-time and it’s a huge win for Canadian baseball to finally see him get enshrined in Cooperstown.

STAND UP, CANADA!
MAPLE RIDGE, BC NATIVE LARRY WALKER IS HEADED TO COOPERSTOWN!
CONGRATS @Cdnmooselips33! #HOF2020 pic.twitter.com/8UYBJ7SIYi
— Baseball Canada (@baseballcanada) January 21, 2020

Hall of Famer Larry Walker wearing a Hall of Fame shirt. pic.twitter.com/yiik3GQzkH
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) January 21, 2020

This was Walker’s final go-around on the Hall of Fame ballot. If he didn’t get voted in this year, there was a decent chance he never would, unless the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee got him in. This is a pretty monumental shift for Walker, as he managed just 34.1 percent in 2018 was nearly voted off the ballot with 10.2 percent in 2014.
Walker was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

‘Our actions speak louder than words’: Anthony Alford worries about himself, but not just himself

As he stood calmly in front of reporters on the second and final day of the Blue Jays’ annual Winter Fest event, Anthony Alford was preparing to answer some of the same old questions. Mostly, he’d probably have to address his offseason progress, his attitude towards the upcoming campaign, and the rather disappointing decline of his prospect stock, all of which seem almost synonymous with him at this point in his career.
He’d been asked these questions before, many, many times, and he’ll undoubtedly be asked them through spring training and well into the 2020 season.
But, before speaking of his own development and progress, he was asked about the evolution of the team’s young core, namely Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio.
“I think they’re talented athletes, but they’re even better kids,” he said with a smile. After thinking for a moment about what he just said, he laughed sheepishly, “I say ‘kids’ like I’m so much older than them.”
In a way, he is significantly older than them, at least in baseball terms. At 25, Alford is …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation