Pre-2022 Blue Jays Top Prospect Countdown – No. 6: Spencer Horwitz

In 2018 and 2019, the Jays found three prospects chosen in the 20th round or later who could impact the major league roster in a few years. Vinny Capra went 20th in 2018 and Nick Fraze went 22nd in 2019. Two rounds later, the Jays drafted their 6th best prospect, Spencer Horwitz

Other than Horwitz, name me a Blue Jays first baseman in the system who could potentially back up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Personally, I can’t come up with one. I’ve written about Spencer before, mainly focusing on his 2021 season. However, I’ll go further in depth about his career as a whole.
Background:
As mentioned earlier, Horwitz, a left handed batter, was drafted in the 24th round of the 2019 draft. This could be because his college stats didn’t jump off the page. He slashed .288/.387/.850 in three seasons with Radford University. However, through his three years at the school, you notice a trend starts to appear.
In his freshman season, he walked 23 times and struck out 32 times in his 206 plate appearances. He followed that up with 34 a piece in his sophomore season in 2018. In his last season, his junior season, he walked 45 times while only striking out 29 times.
In his first professional season, he slashed .330/.395/.866 with three home runs with the FCL team. His BB% sat at 9.9% wh …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Armoni Brooks has earned 2022-23 contract with Raptors

Armoni Brooks has earned 2022-23 contract with Raptors

The Toronto Raptors found it almost impossible to fill their final roster spot due to the presence of Goran Dragic on the roster. When he was traded away for Thad Young, the Raptors freed up enough financial wiggle room to make a 10-day signing in the form of Armoni Brooks. After a solid first season […]
Armoni Brooks has earned 2022-23 contract with Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs officially end the Nick Ritchie experiment, trade him to Arizona

The Toronto Maple Leafs have found a new home for Nick Ritchie.
The struggling forward was traded to the Arizona Coyotes along with a conditional second-round draft choice in exchange for defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin and forward Ryan Dzingel.
Arizona will choose either Toronto’s third-round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft or Toronto’s second-round selection in 2025 NHL Draft, according to the Maple Leafs’ press release of the trade.
The Maple Leafs signed the 26-year-old Ritchie to a two-year contract with $5 million this summer. Starting this season on the team’s top line alongside stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Ritchie quickly fell out of favour with the club.
He had two goals and nine points in 33 games with the club.
On Jan. 7, the Maple Leafs waived Ritchie after he fell outside of the team’s top 12 forwards. He continued to practice with the club as part of the team’s taxi squad, a COVID-19 temporary provision that expired after the NHL All-Star Game. Immediate after provision expired, Ritchie reported to the Marlies where he scored one goal.
The Leafs get a pair of players in return for Ritchie while removing the $1.375 million he occupied on the team’s salary cap as part of his burial in the AHL.

The #Leafsforever acquired Lyubushkin (1 yr $1.35M) …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Nick Nurse should not consider changing Raptors starting lineup

Nick Nurse should not consider changing Raptors starting lineup

The Toronto Raptors found out just how fleeting momentum in the NBA can be. Just a few days after seeing an eight-game winning streak snapped, Nick Nurse has now lost two straight games. The Raptors were thoroughly pummeled by the New Orleans Pelicans in a 30-point loss. A lineup that features Fred VanVleet and Gary […]
Nick Nurse should not consider changing Raptors starting lineup – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Report: Maple Leafs to sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to three-year contract

It appears the Leafs have found their partner for Jack Campbell. Kevin Weekes of ESPN and the NHL Network is reporting that the Leafs will sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a three-year deal once free agency opens at noon. Frank Seravalli of DailyFaceoff has since reported that Mrazek’s contract is expected to carry a cap hit in the neighborhood of $3.8 million.
Adding Mrazek as a replacement for the departed Frederik Andersen will see the Leafs spending around $1.2 million less on the goaltending position than they were paying the tandem of Andersen and Campbell last season.

Sounds like Petr Mrazek is expected to join the #Leafs on a three-year deal in the $3.8 million AAV neighborhood.@DFOHockey @Sportsnet
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 28, 2021

Mrazek, 29, was injured and played just 12 games for Carolina last season, posting a 2.06 GAA and a .923 SV%. In 277 career regular season games, he has a 2.61 GAA and a .910 SV%.
The Czech native will presumably share the crease with Campbell next season, giving head coach Sheldon Keefe the option to run with the hot hand in the case that one of them struggles. The move also ensures that the Leafs will have an NHL-caliber goaltender signed beyond this season …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors should look into trading for Canadian Brandon Clarke

Toronto Raptors should look into trading for Canadian Brandon Clarke

The Toronto Raptors found it very prudent to lean on a Canadian backcourt during the latter half of the 2020-21 season, as the standout play of Chris Boucher and the surprising production Khem Birch tallied when he came to Toronto gave this squad a boost. Might they add yet another compatriot to the fold in […]
Toronto Raptors should look into trading for Canadian Brandon Clarke – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays have signed Marcus Semien to a one-year deal

It looks like the Blue Jays have found their infielder.

According to *checks notes* 1990s All-Star infielder Carlos Baerga, the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year deal with Marcus Semien worth $18 million.

Yes please! Hope it’s true. https://t.co/fN5veh8Xj8 pic.twitter.com/zTkfVuxKgJ
— Brendon K (@_bkuh_) January 26, 2021

And then here’s Jeff Passan confirming the report…

Infielder Marcus Semien is in agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays on a one-year, $18 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 26, 2021

Interesting! As we know, the Blue Jays have a pretty glaring need in the infield. There are questions about both Bo Bichette and Vlad Jr. at shortstop and third base respectively, more so with the latter than the former.
Semien isn’t a great shortstop, but he’s a better glove at third than Vlad, and he could also fit nicely at second, which would open the team up to shuffling Cavan Biggio around the diamond as a super-utility guy.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Semien and why he would be a worthwhile buy-low option (and that’s exactly what this one-year contract ended up being)…
In 2019, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How a wasted pick in Frederik Gauthier was salvaged

The other day we found out our beloved Goat, Frederik Gauthier, is parting ways and likely heading to the Coyotes on a PTO. I guess, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone, but with him heading to UFA in the first place, it seems like the Leafs were ready to cut ties with the center.

Sounds like former TOR C Frederik Gauthier is weighing a PTO w/ARIZ. The Coyotes are looking for a centre.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 22, 2020

Gauthier had a very interesting tenure with Toronto for someone who maxed out as a fourth line center, but then again, your career is always going to be interesting when you play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It also shouldn’t be surprising when you’re a first round pick. In 2013, the then-Dave Nonis led Leafs selected Gauthier with the 21st pick, and aside from the Leafs themselves and some of the MSM who still had an old school mindset, it was a widely panned pick. Not only were there players like Andre Burakovsky and Shea Theodore still available to take, it was pretty well known that Gauthier’s ceiling was a bottom six center, and that was if …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The return of the Mac (Hollowell) to playing hockey (but in Finland)

The Leafs found a home for another Marlie in Europe. This morning they announced that Mac Hollowell is off to Finland…

The @MapleLeafs have loaned defenceman Mac Hollowell to TUTO (Mestis). #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 28, 2020

The Mestis is the second tier league in Finland below the Liiga, but given that top tier leagues are going to be difficult to place AHL players in, finding a team that has ice time for any prospect is a plus.

SEASON
TEAM
LEAGUE
GP
G
A
TP
PIM

2015-16
 Soo Greyhounds
OHL
58
1
20
21
23

2016-17
 Soo Greyhounds
OHL
63
3
20
23
19

2017-18
 Soo Greyhounds
OHL
63
12
44
56
18

2018-19
 Soo Greyhounds “A”
OHL
64
24
53
77
62

2019-20
 Toronto Marlies
AHL
34
3
9
12
25

 Newfoundland Growlers
ECHL
19
3
10
13
21

Hollowell had a solid first year of pro hockey, and I’d have to imagine the Leafs want to make sure he’s given every opportunity to build on that.
This move follows the Leafs decision to send Semyon Der-Arguchintsev to Torpedo of the KHL earlier this week, and now Hollowell, Der-Arguchintsev, Kral, Lehtonen, Korshkov, and Hallander are all Leafs prospects playing overseas, in addition to that Joe Thornton guy who is kicking around Switzerland.
 

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Play-In Game #5

Welcome to the beginning of the end!
Post-game highlights can be found here.
Blue Jackets 1st Goal – Zach Werenski (Unassisted)

Zach Werenski is the 5th @BlueJacketsNHL defenseman to score a goal with the team facing elimination. The others:
Kris Russell: Game 4 of 2009 CQFFedor Tyutin: Game 6 of 2014 R1Markus Nutivaara: Game 4 of 2017 R1Jack Johnson: Game 4 of 2017 R1#NHLStats #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/8tYqFsyiox
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) August 10, 2020

Blue Jackets dump the puck into the Leafs zone, Dermott retrieves the dump-in and reverses it to Hyman on the right wing boards. Hyman gets pressured by Jenner and the puck ends up on Werenski’s stick at the point. Werenski walks in and fires a wrist-shot on net that deflects off of Tyson Barrie’s glove and past Andersen.
The Blue Jackets trademark forecheck helps to create this goal. When Hyman receives the puck along the boards,he’s trying to skate with it back behind the Leafs net. Jenner hits Hyman, knocking the puck loose. Hyman actually regains control of the puck, but then whacks it up the boards to the point to Werenski.
As a minor hockey coach, one of my biggest pet …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation