Grading the Maple Leafs’ draft and free agency signings

So, here we are. Four days after free agency and seven days after the NHL draft. Are you having fun yet?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have made a few key additions during free agency along with drafting a great bundle of prospects. It’s been an interesting yet different free agency, but one that I can say the Maple Leafs succeeded in. Bringing in toughness and adding a few defenders, it looks like Toronto is moving closer and closer to contention.
Yet I still don’t believe they’re done yet.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

#Intrigue Could Johnsson or Muzzin play in Game 5?

The Leafs picked a historic win in Game Four, and hockey history says don’t mess with a winning lineup. That being said, there were 56 minutes of hockey that weren’t going great before things took a positive turn for the Leafs, and perhaps they could use some help tonight.

The @MapleLeafs have activated forward Andreas Johnsson from injured reserve. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 9, 2020

Jake Muzzin is out of quarantine inside the NHL bubble and skated this morning.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 9, 2020

So, yeah, those are some good players to have at the Leafs disposal in an all or nothing situation. The question remains, who stays in and who comes out?
Arguably those answers would be pretty easy too, and Marincin and Mikheyev would come out, as Marincin is Marincin and Mikheyev hasn’t been particularly good in against Columbus. Watching a game might not be a bad idea for him.
As interesting as adding Johnsson and Muzzin would be, we just know what we’ve seen from those two tweets and certainly Sheldon Keefe isn’t letting it be known what he is planning.
Nothing like a little pregame intrigue before …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Five Takeaways from the Leafs exhibition game vs Montreal

It’s been over four months and I must say, it’s great to have hockey back.
Last night, the Leafs took on the Montreal Canadiens in a pre-season game. Despite it being July, the game was competitive and both teams looked good in stretches. In general, it’s tough to take too much away from one “exhibition game” but with that said, this was the first and only tune-up before the playoffs start. Sheldon Keefe and the Leafs needed to be in playoff mode, which gives us reason to find value in the different things we noticed.
Here are my five takeaways from the 4-2 victory for the Leafs. 
1. Nick Robertson belongs in the NHL
Two of the biggest questions heading to this game: Will Nick Robertson look like he belongs in the NHL despite being 18 years old? And more importantly, will he look like one of the Leafs’ best 12 forwards? My answers: Yes, and yes.
Robertson didn’t score but he was noticeable on many of his shifts thanks to his work ethic off the puck.
This clip below was probably his most memorable. It was expected that Robertson would …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / 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

Leafs re-sign Jake Muzzin for 4 years

Buzzing for four more years!
Jake Muzzin has signed a four-year extension. #LeafsForever
Details >> https://t.co/lIkeg622wr pic.twitter.com/3zyPXdHiDY
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 24, 2020
We knew it was coming and now it’s here. At the price we were promised for the term we were promised.
Muzzin has been the Leafs best defenseman south of the center line for the past year, and that’s probably not something they could easily walk away from, even it comes with significant dollars and term for a 31 year old defenseman.

This extension includes $16.8 million in signing bonus. https://t.co/GCqEYnFfgp
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 24, 2020
As we can see, there is a ton of signing bonuses, which will probably help the Leafs trade him after that last bonus is paid, but also likely makes the contract pretty buyout proof. As bizarre as it seems to be looking at how to get out of a contract on a good player, that’s pretty much the nature of how any contract on a 30+ year old needs to be.

Jake Muzzin’s extension in TOR includes a no-movement clause for next season before converting …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Stock Take, plus Kyle Lowry is the best in the East

The Toronto Raptors split the difference in four games this week, but whose stock rose and who fell during the action? What goes up…must come down. The Toronto Raptors lived by that familiar saying this week, splitting their four games in half with two wins and two losses. The two wins came at the start […]
Toronto Raptors: Stock Take, plus Kyle Lowry is the best in the East – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Top 5 performances from a sub-par week four

Week four saw the Toronto Raptors finish with an underwhelming 1-2 record as they finished out their Western Conference road trip. What five Raptor performances stood out the most from this week? This week presented the Toronto Raptors with a few familiar faces as players like Lou Williams, Delon Wright, Patrick Patterson, and Kawhi Leonard […]
Toronto Raptors: Top 5 performances from a sub-par week four – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Aditya Chandran / Raptors HQ

Kasperi the Ghost

Is four games into the season too early to have an opinion on the performance of a player? Most definitely.
Am I going to complain about Kapanen anyway? You betcha.
So first let’s take a look at what Kapanen’s first four games have looked like…
Game #
GF
GA
GF%
CF
CA
CF%
CF Rel
xGF
xGA
xGF%
xGF Rel
TOI
1
0
1
0
9
11
45
-17.82
0.48
0.48
50.28
-16.26
12:07
2
0
0

12
11
52.17
3.9
0.24
0.45
35.02
-6.89
12:16
3
0
2
0
15
17
46.88
5.45
0.5
1.02
32.71
-8.38
13:33
4
0
1
0
20
10
66.67
5.8
0.75
0.22
77.45
15.9
13:25
I think it’s worth noting that Kapanen is also on the ice with Tavares and Marner and these numbers are as much theirs as they are his, with the exception of the fact that both Marner and Tavares have seen substantial improvement in special teams situations and Kapanen has not.
So far this year, only 11 of those Corsi For events belong to Kasperi Kapanen, so he’s not even individually responsible for 20% of the shots directed at the net when he’s on the ice. Again those numbers may be skewed by the fact that Tavares and Marner are going to rule the roost, and be responsible for the majority of the opportunities, but given Kapanen’s past output, he’s slid into oblivion on this.
Add in the broken stick incident which …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Schmaltz, Harpur, Aberg, Gaudet clear waivers, sent to Marlies

All four skaters that were put on waivers yesterday have cleared and been assigned to the Toronto Marlies.

The @MapleLeafs have assigned forwards Pontus Aberg and Tyler Gaudet and defencemen Ben Harpur and Jordan Schmaltz to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) September 29, 2019

Pontus Aberg and Tyler Gaudet were signed as free agents this summer as the Leafs were looking to bolster their forward depth and try to find some diamonds in the rough of the free market.
Neither impressed too much in the pre-season, but both are very capable depth players on different teams. Aberg has most recently found himself in the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks organizations, scoring a total of 12 goals and 25 points through a total of 59 NHL games between the two clubs. The 26-year-old winger last spent more than 5 games in the AHL back in the 2016-17 season, where he scored 31 goals and 52 points in 56 games for the Milwaukee Admirals. He might be too good for that league.
Gaudet is more familiar with the AHL and will hopefully be a powerful depth piece for a Marlies team that hopes to continue their deep playoff runs the past couple of seasons.
On the back end, defencemen …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation

Celebrating the Toronto Raptors in the Finals, live on a Saturday night

After winning four straight games, the Raptors are going to the 2019 NBA Finals against the Warriors. But before all of that happens, Toronto got to celebrate. It was hard not to notice the line. Almost four hours before tip-off, Raptors fans were already snaking around the Scotiabank Arena, from the entrance to Jurassic Park in Maple Leaf Square, along the building’s southern edge, up Bay Street, across Front Street, all the way back to University Avenue and beyond. This, even as the humidity began to break and the clouds rolled in; and despite the day’s earlier rain and the thunderstorm warnings issued by Environment Canada.
Toronto would not be denied its day in the sun though. In the hour or so before the official start of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Raptors one win away from destiny, the thunderstorm warning was called off, every public space around the arena was filled, and Toronto was ready.
The game itself played out as many Raptors’ contests have so far this post-season. The team didn’t quite make it easy on themselves, falling into a 15-point hole, and looking every bit like a squad preparing for a seemingly …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ