5 European Free Agent Forwards the Leafs should sign in 2022

Okay, no team is signing five European free agents in one offseason. There are still at least five forwards worthy of signing in my opinion, defence is a story for another day. I follow six European leagues, the Russian KHL, Swedish SHL, Finnish Liiga, Swiss NLA, German DEL, and Czech Extraliga. I look at u27 players, because the ELC system goes up to age 26 for (some) Europeans.
Since points are the most reliable and repeatable indicator of skill across leagues, I take players points per game and compare it to every FA who has signed out of that league since 2000. This allows me to quantify their point production in comparison to a group of players NHL teams have deemed worthy of a contract. This inherently builds in some of the biases of NHL teams, for example players 6’3″ or taller tend to drag down the average p/g because teams prefer to sign a depth player with size. Therefore I cannot hold the same expectation that an excellent winger like 5’8″ Kristian Tanus will sign as his teammate 6’3″ Joona Luoto did, despite being on pace to triple his point production at age 21.
Those leagues are in their 2nd Euro …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Raptors free agency: 3 cheap veterans to consider signing

Raptors free agency: 3 cheap veterans to consider signing

The 2021 Toronto Raptors free agency blitz didn’t come with a ton of bombast or hype, but they did manage to rebound nicely after losing Kyle Lowry. Masai Ujiri managed to retain Gary Trent Jr. on a solid three-year deal and added some bench pieces like Svi Mykhailiuk on cheaper contracts. Toronto may not be […]
Raptors free agency: 3 cheap veterans to consider signing – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Pablo Lopez should be on the Blue Jays’ radar this winter

With key free agents like Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz expected to become available this off-season, it’s no secret the Toronto Blue Jays will be looking to spend in free agency. But there’s also a very good chance they could be major players on the trade market over the next few months, too.
Considering two-fifths of the Blue Jays starting rotation from this past season is slated to hit the open market following the World Series, addressing those two areas will undoubtedly be one of the many priorities for the front office this winter. Since every hole can’t be filled through free agency, at least for this organization, it seems they’ll be aiming to execute a few impactful trades before spring training rolls around.
While several different teams might be inclined to move a talented starter, on paper, the Miami Marlins – who haven’t been strangers to making blockbuster deals in the past – could prove to be an ideal trading partner once the off-season begins.
Hoping to climb out of the National League’s basement next season, the Marlins have previously been rumoured to be looking to make a giant splash or two in …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Report: Sheldon Keefe signs two-year extension with Leafs

At least one pending free agent is off the table in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs have reportedly signed head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year extension. Keefe, 41, is entering his third season behind the Leafs bench.

Sources say Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has agreed to a 2-year extension. He was entering the final year of his deal. Signed through 23-24 now. More details on Insider Trading shortly on Sportscentre. @TSNHockey @TheAthletic
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 30, 2021

This extension keeps Keefe as Leafs head coach through the 2023/24 season. The three-year agreement he signed when he replaced Mike Babcock during the 2019/20 season was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign.
In his short time in Toronto, Sheldon Keefe has had an incredibly successful regular-season record. His .660 points percentage with the Leafs ranks as the best in Leafs history, ahead of Frank Carroll (1921, .625 PTS%) and Pat Quinn (1999-2006, .591 PTS%). Despite this, the pressure is on following two consecutive first-round exits under his tenure.
The timing of this extension is fascinating. With all eyes focused on the Leafs to perform in the postseason, a preseason contract extension for the head coach could be perceived as curious timing. In reality, …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Why the Leafs should sign development camp invites way more often

Why the Leafs should sign development camp invites way more often

Every year, a large group of undrafted free agents attend development camps and rookie tournaments around the league. Teams bring these players that they have varying degrees of interest in to get a closer look at them, before sending them back to their junior leagues in the hopes of being drafted the next time around.
And with that, every year we see “overage” prospects drafted relatively high. No matter the draft class, you can find numerous prospects that had been passed over in previous drafts selected as high as the top 100. Most just accept this as a reality of the draft, that once the draft is over you have to wait another year to have a crack at bringing these prospects into your organization. This isn’t exactly the case, however.
For NCAA bound prospects and those based in Europe, there isn’t much an NHL franchise can do. NCAA players cannot be signed to NHL contracts, so any NCAA prospect would have to forgo their collegiate career in order to turn pro. It is highly unlikely that an invite would forgo their collegiate career in order to join an organization, especially when these invites are often entering their first …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Predicting where the remaining Toronto Maple Leafs UFA’s will end up

Predicting where the remaining Toronto Maple Leafs UFA’s will end up

We’re well into the NHL free agency period this off-season and there is still a handful of decent names out there that is still un-signed at this very moment. Some players that are currently a UFA were on the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and I honestly wonder where they could all end up. Whether that’s re-signing with the Maple Leafs, signing with a new team, or simply, retiring, if you know who I am talking about.
The Maple Leafs had numerous players that were up for contract this off-season, and as we know, a good chunk of them left Toronto and signed with brand new teams and some that were set to become UFA’s re-signed well before the free agency period (Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.) With that being said, let’s go over the remaining UFA’s from the Maple Leafs and see if we could predict a landing spot for them ahead of next season.
 
Signed UFA’s
Before we start, let’s quickly go over all the notable UFA’s that were in the Maple Leafs system last season that signed with a new team…

Zach Hyman to Edmonton – 7-years x $5.5M
Frederik …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Can Anas Mahmoud carve out a role in the NBA?

Toronto Raptors: Can Anas Mahmoud carve out a role in the NBA?

The free agency period is approximately a week old, and the Toronto Raptors have made several transformative roster moves, led by Kyle Lowry’s departure. With that dust starting to settle, fans have turned their eyes to the Summer League, which includes prospects like Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton, and Anas Mahmoud. The deal with Miami failed to […]
Toronto Raptors: Can Anas Mahmoud carve out a role in the NBA? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Pooper Scooping what’s left of Free Agency

The Leafs are pretty light on cap space, and free agency is light on options, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Leafs are done.
Looking at PuckPedia, the Leafs could send Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks, and Kurtis Gabriel to the Marlies and the Leafs could have $1.2M to spend on an additional forward. Send those three same players down as well as Rasmus Sandin (just to start the year, relax) and Toronto has nearly $2.1M to spend on free agents. All of this is before even entertaining the idea of discussing the usual trade bait of Engvall, Kerfoot, Mikheyev, and Dermott.
There’s also the fact that the Leafs can exceed the salary cap by 10% until the regular season starts, so there is still some flexibility in considering free agent options. It’s just a matter of quality when it comes to who is still available, and arguably yesterday with the signing of Tomas Tatar, the last best free agent is off the board, and it’s time to just scoop up whatever crap is left. Crap being somewhat relative, as a couple of these players aren’t bad, but could come in at significantly reduced rates.
Here …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors free agency: 3 available free agents Toronto should pursue

Raptors free agency: 3 available free agents Toronto should pursue

This Toronto Raptors free agency period hasn’t been as positive as some fans would have liked. Not only did Kyle Lowry confirm that he will move on in favor of a gig down in South Beach, but come lingering uncertainty over their cap space as a result of their sign-and-trade agreement has the Raptors frozen […]
Raptors free agency: 3 available free agents Toronto should pursue – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Can Sam Dekker jump-start his career in Canada?

Toronto Raptors: Can Sam Dekker jump-start his career in Canada?

Few expected the Toronto Raptors to go into free agency with names like Sam Dekker on their mind. After all, considering that Kyle Lowry’s departure seemed imminent and Gary Trent Jr. was also on the market, they needed to make sure their big names were taken care of. With Lowry ready to join the Heat […]
Toronto Raptors: Can Sam Dekker jump-start his career in Canada? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ