3 All-NBA players Raptors star Pascal Siakam is outperforming

3 All-NBA players Raptors star Pascal Siakam is outperforming

The Toronto Raptors haven’t shied away from letting Pascal Siakam be the main offensive force that drives Toronto’s entire operation. The results have not only been acceptable, given Toronto’s 3-2 start, but they’ve been nothing short of jaw-dropping and record-setting. Siakam has averaged 25.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game in the first […]
3 All-NBA players Raptors star Pascal Siakam is outperforming – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 reasons Raptors must be your go-to NBA League Pass team

3 reasons Raptors must be your go-to NBA League Pass team

The Toronto Raptors are just a few days away from opening up their regular season in a year where they will look to improve upon a 2021-22 campaign that featured 48 wins, multiple starters receiving individual honors for their play, and two postseason victories against the 76ers. If you’re not necessarily a Raptors diehard who […]
3 reasons Raptors must be your go-to NBA League Pass team – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Norman Powell looking forward to facing old Raptors teammates

Norman Powell looking forward to facing old Raptors teammates

The Toronto Raptors have very few holdovers from the 2019 championship team still on the roster, as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are among the few who have survived all of Masai Ujiri’s roster purges. Norman Powell was not so lucky, as the Tampa season prompted a trade. Powell was sent to the Portland Trail […]
Norman Powell looking forward to facing old Raptors teammates – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Assessing the roster and making predictions (The final part of our Leafs reader poll)

As I mentioned when we started sharing the results from the poll, I am greatly appreciative of the level of participation we received from our readers on this. I’m hoping that we can have a bit more back and forth like this in the future and begin establishing a bit of a sense of community around this site. Look for us to revisit mailbags as part of that throughout the season, as well as us firing you some questions on social media as well. Perhaps a midseason pulse poll will make some sense or given that its all about the playoffs, we’ll check back on how confident everyone is feeling post trade deadline too.
As for now, this last bit focuses largely on the players as well as some predictions for the upcoming year. As you may remember from yesterday’s post, reliable goaltending is the biggest need for the Leafs, so let’s start by talking about that position.

There are a few ways of slicing this data depending on how you want to feel. 60% said goaltending is the same or better. 53% said it was the same or worse. Or 48% thinks there was no change or it is impossible to know if there was a change at this point. I like to believe goaltending remains as voodoo as ever, but while I can appreciate that there are Jack Campbell fans out there, I don’t think there are too many Leafs fans that will be missing Petr Mrazek. There is also the fact that Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek at $8.8M would have been a tough pill to swallow and some change was required. Now, Jack Campbell and Ilya Samsonov at $6.8M might have been a fine compromise to many and that also points …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Inside the Leafs’ development pipeline: Report from the Rock

The following article contains excerpts from an interview originally conducted in November 2020.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, like any team aiming for long-term success, have heavily invested in prospect development. And in a flat salary cap world, the versatility of good players being able to slot into a lineup for close to league-minimum is more valuable than ever before.
Following in the footsteps of what the Pittsburgh Penguins established years ago with the Wheeling Nailers, the Leafs made a commitment when they established an affiliation agreement with the Newfoundland Growlers in 2018 that the ECHL club would be seen as a true development program for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and beyond. This agreement made the Growlers the entry-level point of a true three-tier development system, as opposed to just another ECHL team where careers would go to die, or players banished from an AHL club would wind up to play out their contracts in obscurity.
The process is slow, naturally, but it has begun to bear fruit. Defenceman Kristians Rubins played three games for the Leafs this past season after beginning his tenure within the organization on an ECHL contract with the Growlers in the team’s inaugural season. Timothy Liljegren is technically a Growlers alumni, as he played a single game with the tea …

Read More

Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Profile: Trent Palmer

The third-rounder from the 2020 draft is making some waves this season.

Trent Palmer is quickly becoming one of the most successful prospects in the Blue Jays minor league system. In just two seasons, he pitched at three different levels and had success at each of them.
Background:
The success didn’t just randomly show up at the pro level. The Minnesotan pitched three seasons at Jacksonville University. He posted a 3.52 ERA in 133 innings pitched. Palmer has always had a high K/9, as it sat at 10.6 in college, while his BB/9 was a solid 3.6.
Even in summer league action, Palmer put up some impressive numbers. In 49 innings pitched in two seasons, Palmer has an impressive 1.84 ERA, as well as a 10.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. The pedigree was obviously there.
So when it was the Jays turn to pick in the third round of the 2020 draft and Palmer was still on the board, the Jays selected the 6’1 righty 77th overall pick. According to MLB, the slot value for the 77th overall pick was $805,600 in 2020, yet Palmer was signed to a bonus of $847,500.
Palmer’s start:
As per usual, there was no 2020 minor league season, meaning that Palmer didn’t pitch his first professional game until the 2021 season.

RHP Trent Palmer, #BlueJays 3rd round pick in 2020, just pitched a seven inning no-hitter for single-A Dunedin
— Mitch Bannon (@MitchBannon) August 20, 2021

With the Low A Dunedin Blue Jay …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays just lost to Kansas City’s Triple-A team

Yikes.

The good vibes that came from the series sweep of the Phillies were violently dashed tonight as the Blue Jays fell to the Kansas City Royals 3-1.
The Jays failed to capitalize on a night that had lots of promise; Kevin Gausman making his return to the mound, the aforementioned sweep of the Phillies, and an opportunity to register another sweep before the All-Star break against a very inferior opponent.
Although he didn’t have his best stuff, Gausman still managed to provide the Jays a quality start and keep them in the game. Outside of the 6th, Gausman allowed at least one baserunner in every other inning. The Royals got to Gausman in the 5th, as Edward Olivares cashed in a lead-off double by Nicky Lopez. The very next batter, Bobby Witt Jr. deposited a Gausman fastball into the left field seats.
Gausman’s line: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K’s. While Gausman kept things afloat, the offense wrote a different story.

Angel Zerpa, he of the 4.36 ERA with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, is through four scoreless innings here at Rogers Centre. So, there’s that. #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@GregorChisholm) July 15, 2022

The Blue Jays failed to get much going against Royals hurler… *checks notes* …Angel Zerpa. Matt Chapman smashed a solo home run off of Zerpa in the bottom of the 5th to get the Jays on the board, but that was the only thing that made the Royals pitcher …

Read More

Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

3 takeaways as Raptors’ Summer League schedule nears end

3 takeaways as Raptors’ Summer League schedule nears end

The Toronto Raptors are just one game away from officially wrapping up their Summer League grind. With star youngsters like Christian Koloko and Dalano Banton on full display on the Las Vegas circuit, many had Toronto’s games circled on their July calendar. Toronto has had mixed results in their first three games, to say the […]
3 takeaways as Raptors’ Summer League schedule nears end – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Staff Picks: Who we like for the Leafs in free agency

Here we are on the eve of free agency, and 25 hours away from the madness truly beginning. It seems like the last chance for us to weigh in on who are targets are before we start justifying who was actually signed. That’s why the question posed to the TLN writers this week is, “Who is your free agent target and why?”
Dylan Strome by Michael Mazzei
I believe the Leafs should focus their efforts on the non-tendered RFAs that are set to hit the open market, and the top choice for me is Dylan Strome. He has been making strides in his game despite Chicago mishandling him and barely giving him consistent playing time. The underlying metrics imply that he is a solid player and is more than deserving a a permanent roster spot, but Chicago apparently doesn’t think the same way and did not give him a qualifying offer. He should come at a reasonable price and would be a solid addition to the middle-six both this coming year and going forward given that he is right in the middle of his prime. He could be a hidden gem in free agency this summer and he is my choice for top target for the Leafs to acquire on July 13.
Eric …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs have acquired Matt Murray from the Senators

Over 24 hours after the initial report from Elliotte Friedman, the Matt Murray trade is now official.

TRADE: We have acquired goaltender Matt Murray & two draft picks from Ottawa in exchange for future considerations. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 12, 2022

The Leafs also acquired a third-round pick in 2023 and a seventh-round pick in 2024 in exchange for future consideration. Ottawa will be retaining 25% of his salary for the final two years, bringing his cap hit to roughly $4.68 million.
This comes mere days after the Leafs made the move to dump Petr Mrazek’s salary cap in Chicago while Jack Campbell appears all but likely to be hitting the open market on Wednesday (with reports suggesting that he will likely be joining the Oilers).
Murray is coming off a bit of a bounceback campaign statistically speaking as he recorded a .906 SV% and a 3.05 GAA despite going 5-12-2 in only 20 starts. He recorded an SV% above .900 for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign, although his GAA has been above three in his two seasons with the Senators.
There are plenty of risks that come with the move, given his injury troubles over the past two seasons, this is also a goalie who has proven himself to be a solid option when he’s on his game. Murray made an immediate impact in his first two seasons by helping the Penguins win two straight Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 while being reliable throughout his other postseason runs.
After spending the majority of the opening quarter of the 2021-22 campaign on IR with a head and neck injury, Murray seemed to have found his groove during a 12-game stretch that saw him post a .932 SV% and a 13.78 GSAx. Had it not been for his last two games where he gave up a combined 13 goals against the Lightning and Coyotes, he would have finished the season with a .920 SV%. The latter game not only saw his numbers take a massive drop, but he also suffered a season …

Read More

Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation