A big strike zone helped Martin Perez carve up the Blue Jays on Sunday

Winning the first two games of the series was an absolute must for the Blue Jays. John Schneider had planned for a bullpen day on Sunday, and the Blue Jays were facing Martin Perez, the Rangers’ ace in the series finale.

Toronto couldn’t overcome the above, as they fell to Texas 4-1 and failed to sweep the series.
Perez was dealing, which should come as no surprise since he has been having a career season with the Rangers. He was a hot topic at the trade deadline, as he was a name that floated around trade talks with a few teams including the Blue Jays. Perez threw six innings, giving up six hits, one run, two walks, and striking out seven.
Perez was solid, but he also got a few beneficial calls from home plate umpire Rob Drake. Multiple Blue Jays hitters were displeased with Drake’s strike zone, mainly Bo Bichette. Bichette went 1-for-4 on the day, but in all three of his at-bats resulting in outs, he took issue with at least one of Drake’s calls. This included his strikeout looking in the top of the 3rd, in which Bichette stopped to have a back-and-forth with Drake explaining that he felt differently about Drake’s Doug Eddings-esque strike zone. Bo was …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

The 3 Marlies who need to have a breakout season in 2022-23

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011, the Toronto Marlies are looking for a different outcome this year.
Last season saw an inexperienced team, as a number of players made their true AHL debuts. (The COVID season skewed stats and wasn’t as competitive due to the NHL’s taxi squad.)
This year is a completely different story, though. While there were no excuses from players or management for a missed playoffs, it was clear that experience played a massive part in the result.
With a majority of the team now having at least one year of experience in professional hockey, the real work to become a playoff team begins. As does the road to developing players so that they can one day play for the Maple Leafs.
There are a few players who need to have big seasons — three of which who’ve gotten one full year of the AHL under their belts.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
With one more year remaining on his entry-level contract, the 21-year-old sits atop the list of players who need to have a breakout season.
Just one year ago, Assistant General Manager and head of Player Development for the Maple Leafs, Hayley Wickenheiser, said that Der-Arguchintsev’s route to success would begin with gaining muscle in the weight room.
He had plenty of success early on in …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Cubs withstand Blue Jays rally, take series finale 7-5

Although the Jays took the first two games of this series against the Cubs, it was clear that Chicago wasn’t going to be an easy out. Both games required Toronto to come back from early deficits, and tonight, the early deficit was a little too much to handle. Chicago jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and never trailed to avoid the sweep in a 7-5 win.
It was another rough go for Mitch White, who allowed 6 runs over 4 and 2/3 innings, elevating his ERA to 4.67. White ran into trouble early on, as Cubs batters forced deep pitch counts. White threw 70 pitches in the first three innings, and similar to his other starts with the Blue Jays, had a lot of traffic on the bases.
The Cubs countered with a bullpen game, throwing a total of seven pitchers at the Blue Jays offense. Although the Jays were able to have a little bit of a rally, the likes of Manuel Rodriguez, Mark Leiter Jr., Michael Rucker and others kept the Blue Jays from ever taking the lead. Three of the Blue Jays top 5 batters in the order – George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Bo Bichette, combined to go 0-12 on the night.


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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #17 Filip Král

Král got his first taste of AHL action in 2020-21 after spending the majority of the season playing for Kometa Brno in the top Czech professional league, notching a respectable 21 points in 48 games before his 10 game audition with the Marlies. This past season was his first full campaign in the AHL and the only defenceman on the Marlies’ roster to suit up in more games for the club was Joey Duszak.
Taking on a regular role for the Marlies, Král finished inside the top-15 in scoring among AHL rookie defenders with three goals and 18 assists while averaging almost 19 minutes of ice time over 58 games.
It was an up and down season for Král, but he gained valuable pro experience and showed signs of progress over the course of the year, climbing into the top 20 of TLN’s prospect rankings after being unranked last summer.
Filip Král
LHD | Toronto (AHL) | Age: 22 | 6-foot-2 | 194 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2018 5th Round, 149th Overall | 2021 Ranking: Unranked
While Král’s individual raw production was modest, the Marlies scored a lot when he was on the ice. Unfortunately, they also gave up plenty …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Notes and quotes from Day 1 of Maple Leafs development camp

Development camp is finally here! For the first time in three years, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hosting their development camp in the regularly slotted time frame in July with both CHL and NCAA prospects in attendance, in addition to a few others from the professional ranks.
The Leafs Nation’s Nick Barden is attending development camp, so be sure to check out his recap from Day 1.
The Leafs had multiple availabilities on a busy Day 1 of dev camp, including the head of the player development department, Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser, as well as Toronto’s first picks in the 2021 and 2022 drafts in Matt Knies and Fraser Minten.
Without further delay, let’s dive into things.
Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser
On her promotion to Assistant General Manager
“Nothing changes in the day-to-day of what I’ve been doing here the last year and a half. It’s obviously a huge honour to be working here with the Leafs. I love what I do every single day, it’s been great.”
It’s not a surprise to see that despite the promotion to Assistant General Manager, Hayley Wickenheiser’s role remains essentially the same with the Maple Leafs. The promotions of Wickenheiser, Ryan Hardy, and Darryl Metcalf were less about assigning new tasks and more about re-organizing the titles in the organization.
On Matt Knies’ decision to go back to the NCAA
“Physically, [Matt Knies] is a big boy. He’s got all the tools. There’s a lot of respect that goes to the players to understand where they are at this point in time in their career and what t …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign Dennis Hildeby to his entry level contract

We have our first signing of the day, and it’s one of the Leafs 2022 draft picks, goaltender Dennis Hildeby.
The Leafs press release:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed goaltender Dennis Hildeby to a three-year, entry-level contract. The average annual value of the contract is $843,330.

Hildeby, 20, skated in seven regular season games with Färjestad (SHL) during the 2021-22 season, posting a 1.93 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
Hildeby was selected by Toronto in the fourth round (122nd overall) of the 2022 NHL Draft.
The Järfälla, Sweden native will attend this year’s prospect development camp, opening on Sunday, July 17th at the Ford Performance Centre. The full development camp roster and details will be announced soon.
So this is really great news as Hildeby, a draft overager is well on his path to the NHL and has some promising numbers (and height at 6’6) to show for it. He is still under contract with Färjestad for two more seasons, so there aren’t any guarantees on when he’ll come over, but at least there seems to be a commitment that it will happen in a couple of years.

The Hildeby signing also puts the #Leafs up to 42 contracts already. A bit of a strange signing to happen now given the new NHL-SHL transfer agreement states as a non-first round pick under the age of 24, he has to be offered to his SHL club before joining the #Marlies
— Kyle Cushman (@Kyle_Cush) July 13, 2022

POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs select Fraser Minten with the 38th pick in the 2022 NHL Draft

With their first pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Leafs have selected center Fraser Minten from the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL. Minten, 6’1″ and 185 pounds, put up 20 goals and 35 assists in 67 games for the Blazers this past season.

The Leafs take Fraser Minten from the @blazerhockey with the 38th overall pick!
Thoughts on the pick? pic.twitter.com/peNfQC6WSV
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) July 8, 2022

Minten is one of the youngest players available in this draft but he is almost one of the most physical. He bears some similarities to last year’s second-round pick, Matthew Knies, in that he is a highly competitive player with a great shot who really put it together in the second half of his draft year.

Fraser Minten really does have terrific two-way skills. His speed, strength, and ability to protect the puck in stride allows him to transition the puck with give and go plays real easy. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/ZU7dn5c88m
— Joel Henderson (@dathockeydoe) April 6, 2022

Not only does Minten finish his checks with consistency but he knows how to use his strength to make plays off the wall and into the middle of the ice to open up space for himself or his teammates. At this point in his development, he is a bit of a straight-line player but there is plenty of growth potential with this pick.
Minten may not have a dynamic quality in his game but he has a well-rounded skillset and projects as a solid complementary forward who can bring energy and chip in with some secondary offense.
We will have more on the Leafs’ picks following the conclusion of the draft. Stay tuned.
 
(Statistics from EliteProspects.com)
More From TheLeafsNation.com:
Nick Richard’s 2022 NHL Draft Rankings: Final Edition by Nick Richard
Leafs trade down to 38th in order to dump Mrazek’s toxic contract by Jon Steitzer
Maple Leafs plan in goal becomes a little clearer after shipping Mrazek to Chicago by David Alter
POINT …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Actual picks, newfound cap space, and goalie woes headline day two of the draft for the Leafs

First the bad news, the Leafs once again end the first day of the draft without making a selection. The good news is the Leafs did end the first day without Petr Mrazek and freed up $3.8M in cap space. They’ll also still be picking 38th overall and have the opportunity to select a first round caliber player who just didn’t quite make the cut. It’s not a bad piece of business by Kyle Dubas and the Leafs, but the Petr Mrazek situation still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but that could just be from wanting the immediate payoff of a first round pick last night. 

Based on the pick value model I’ve been using for the last few years, the difference in value between pick 25 and 38 is equivalent to a late 7th.
So the Leafs paid roughly a 7th to offload Mrazek’s $3.8m cap hit with 2 years remaining. https://t.co/mNCbd2AMKq
— Earl Schwartz (@EarlSchwartz27) July 8, 2022

After trading Mrazek ($3.8M), #leafsforever have $10.2M Cap Space with 17 Players (10F/6D/1G) on Projected Roster.
RFA: Engvall, Kase, SandinUFA: Blackwell, Mikheyev, Lyubushkin, Campbellhttps://t.co/hB3guL96pk
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 8, 2022

The Leafs cap situation is now revised to see the Leafs sitting with about $12.6M in space (we won’t gift Kallgren, Abruzzese, or Clifford roster spots just yet) to fill 4-5 forward positions, including Pierre Engvall, one defensive position (Rasmus Sandin), and two NHL goaltenders. That is still pretty tight even if the Leafs primarily need bottom six forwards, a cheap backup, and two should be reasonably priced RFAs.
Despite that, the $5.5M of cap space represented by Justin Holl and Alex Kerfoot could be explored today. No specific mention of either player has co …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors fans will love Otto Porter Jr. after first press conference

Raptors fans will love Otto Porter Jr. after first press conference

The Toronto Raptors were unusually busy in the first few hours of free agency, as they resigned Chris Boucher and Thad Young within the first 120 minutes. They immediately pivoted to addressing the lack of shooting by taking Otto Porter Jr. away from the champion Golden State Warriors. Porter signed a two-year deal using a […]
Raptors fans will love Otto Porter Jr. after first press conference – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

2 pleasant surprises from Raptors initial Summer League roster

2 pleasant surprises from Raptors initial Summer League roster

The Toronto Raptors will play their first organized basketball in months when the Las Vegas Summer League properly kicks off. After drafting Christian Koloko and acing the undrafted free agent market, the Raptors are ready to unleash a new crop of young players on the league. The roster has some question marks on it (Why […]
2 pleasant surprises from Raptors initial Summer League roster – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ