5 Random Leafs thoughts to close out March

It’s the end of March. The weather is getting nicer, baseball is back, and in a normal year we’d be in the final days of the regular season and gearing up for the playoffs right now. Instead here we are still trapped in the pre trade deadline world, where my LeafsPR twitter notifications are keeping me on top of Scott Sabourin’s movements more than providing me with much in the way of trade news. C’est la vie. At this point we can probably assume that something will happen, and there are less than two weeks left for that to happen. The Leafs play tonight, as far as we know there haven’t been any mysterious scratches from the lineup, so we’ll wait another day for a trade. Here are a few stray thoughts to consider heading into April.
1. Would a powerplay point shot change things for the Leafs?
It’s no secret the Leafs powerplay has suffered of late, and to the credit of Sheldon Keefe, after Leafs fans calling for it all year, he’s finally getting around to loading up the first unit and putting Nylander, Marner, Matthews, and Tavares on the ice …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: 2 pros and cons of trading for LaMarcus Aldridge

Raptors: 2 pros and cons of trading for LaMarcus Aldridge

The Toronto Raptors have been getting carpet-bombed with trade rumors over the last few weeks, as they have both been classed as buyers and sellers given the constant Kyle Lowry buzz. The Raptors have been heavily linked to a few different big men, including San Antonio Spurs greybeard LaMarcus Aldridge. After nine seasons with the […]
Raptors: 2 pros and cons of trading for LaMarcus Aldridge – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs look to put out the Flames and get back on the scoreboard

A mere 48 hours after getting shutout by the Flames on Monday night, the Leafs head into the rematch with some much-needed reinforcements.

Sheldon Keefe on #Leafs injured parties:
Zach Hyman WILL play tonight. Nic Petan out.
Everyone else is still out.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 24, 2021

The Leafs surely missed Zach Hyman two nights ago as the Leafs loaded top line failed to find the back of the net while also hurting the overall depth. Hyman should help restore some balance and provide Toronto with some much-needed offensive reinforcement.
Sheldon Keefe told the media that Frederik Andersen is “progressing well” but did not provide an update as to when we can expect him to be reinstated into the lineup. Along with Jack Campbell still not cleared to return, that means we can expect Michael Hutchinson to make his second straight start (more on him in a bit).
Kristen Shilton reported that the Leafs might be going with their Reverse Retros for tonight’s tilt as the Leafs tweeted out a picture of John Tavares wearing the jersey for the Game Day post. Going into the game, the Leafs have a record of 1-0-1 when they don the Reverse Retros …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: LeBron’s Courtside Karen interaction could change things for Raptors, NBA

Raptors: LeBron’s Courtside Karen interaction could change things for Raptors, NBA

While NBA players and fans occasionally getting into some verbal altercations is by no means extraordinary, the negative interaction between a star player and a fan that made waves on social media could serve as a sobering lesson that both the Toronto Raptors and the league as a whole must learn from. The incident involved […]
Raptors: LeBron’s Courtside Karen interaction could change things for Raptors, NBA – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Prematurely judging the Leafs

A tenth is when we can start getting judgy, right? I mean really we’ve all already been reactionary and judgy about the Leafs at points in this young season already, so why not formalize it six games in and start talking about who has impressed and who has disappointed? We all have opinions, so we’ve decided to air them publicly before enough games have been played for the numbers to be statistically meaningful. We can go 100% gut on this, so I’ve asked The Leafs Nation contributors, who has impressed and who has disappointed so far…
Brendan Mori:
Impressed:
John Tavares – JT looks like a completely different hockey player this season. Last season, Tavares had a laundry list of things come up, including the birth of his first son, being named captain of the team, suffering an injury at the World Championships, breaking his finger early in the season and seeing his head coach get fired in November. One year later, Tavares looks more like the player he was in his first season with the Leafs. He is flying around the ice once again, making nifty plays and lifting his linemates. Tavares also looks a lot more comfortable …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Daily Duce: A George Springer decision could be coming soon, Taijuan Walker talks about pitching for the Blue Jays, and more!

Daily?!?!

There’s quite a bit going on right now! Before getting into the things that might happen, let’s talk about the stuff that has happened…
On Monday night, the Blue Jays signed Tyler Chatwood to a one-year deal worth $3 million, pending a physical. It’s an interesting buy-low option given the team plans to use him out of the bullpen rather than as a depth starter.
And then, on Tuesday, it was reported that the Blue Jays and Kirby Yates were close to a deal and that the former Padres closer was visiting the team’s complex in Dunedin. Of course, nothing has been signed yet, but adding Chatwood and Yates to the bullpen in the span of a couple days would be a pretty significant swing for the Blue Jays.
Assuming the team operates with an eight-man ‘pen, it would look something like this…

Kirby Yates (R)
Rafael Dolis (R)
Jordan Romano (R)
Julian Merryweather (R)
Tyler Chatwood (R)
A.J. Cole (R)
Shun Yamaguchi (R)
Ryan Borucki (L)

It looks like Ross Stripling is penciled into the starting rotation, but that can obviously change. There are also a handful of names like Anthony Kay, Jacob Waguespack, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Chris Boucher needs to start over Aron Baynes at center

Raptors: Chris Boucher needs to start over Aron Baynes at center

The Raptors’ Chris Boucher should be getting more minutes than Aron Baynes. The Toronto Raptors have built the back end of their roster with a motley crew of outcasts and G League darlings that Nick Nurse and company have molded into quality NBA players. Chris Boucher, a former G League MVP, could be the next […]
Raptors: Chris Boucher needs to start over Aron Baynes at center – 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: Things to watch for against New Orleans Pelicans

Toronto Raptors: Things to watch for against New Orleans Pelicans

The Toronto Raptors are getting ready to face Zion and the Pelicans for the second and final time this season. The Toronto Raptors started their season off with a loss against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 23. A new year and 11 days later, the Raptors are facing the Pelicans again tonight. The Raptors […]
Toronto Raptors: Things to watch for against New Orleans Pelicans – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

AHL Board of Governors approve new start date to 2021 season

We are finally getting information on a real start date to the AHL season, according to the AHL.

.@TheAHL Board of Governors has approved the structural framework for an AHL season that will begin on February 5, 2021. pic.twitter.com/l5Yk0z2rht
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) December 30, 2020

Back in October, American Hockey League President and CEO, Scott Howson announced that the AHL anticipated a February 5th start date, and it seems like they’re keeping their word.
As the NHL starts their season on January 13th, it seemed like the AHL had to follow suit. If there was no AHL season, teams would be hit hard, and with most team’s revenue coming from fans in the stands, it’s still a good sign for the league that there’s hockey being played.
The AHL’s new season begins three weeks after the NHL’s start date. By then, teams will be able to re-call players, send down players and there will be more understanding to everything, really.
“Details are still being worked out, but this step allows our teams and their National Hockey League partners to better determine their plans for the coming season. We look forward to dropping …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six have signed All Star Forward Emily Fluke

The Toronto Six are making waves and getting ready for the 2021 NWHL bubble season to begin by signing Emily Fluke to the team today, as the NWHL announced on its Twitter page:

As @TheTorontoSix roster grows so does their rivalry with Boston @FlukeEmily has signed with the Toronto Six for Season Six!
https://t.co/WeWPT3mpoV pic.twitter.com/Lfj79I4kxU
— NWHL (@NWHL) December 14, 2020

Emily Fluke is an American forward, born in Bourne, Maine, who has been in the NWHL for three seasons, competing with the Connecticut Whale and, most recently, the Boston Pride. The Pride were on their way to competing for the 2020 NWHL Championship Isobel Cup against the Minnesota Whitecaps, but the game was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. The Pride were named in-season champions, and Fluke played a significant role in getting them there, but the Isobel Cup was not awarded.
Prior to the end of the 2019-20 season, Fluke participated in the NWHL’s All-Star game, competing with Pride teammates Kristina Putigna and Kaleigh Fratkin for Team Packer against Boston Pride scoring leader Jillian Dempsey’s team, who ultimately won the All Star game. In the skills competition, Fluke was a part of …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation