Death, taxes, and the Toronto Maple Leafs blowing a 4 goal lead

The long awaited return of Joe Thornton is here! Jumbo Joe was finally back on the ice and we couldn’t be any more excited. His presence and energy is something that is simply unmatched and you know that both the team and fans were thrilled to see him back in blue.
Coming off a loss against the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs were ready to get back in action and back in the W column. As the puck dropped for the first period against the Ottawa Senators, the Leafs were speedy and had a few really good chances to start. A few shots on Marcus Hogberg but nothing to show for it, yet.
The Senators get trapped with a 3-on-2, and with a pass from Joe Thornton to Auston Matthews, the Leafs made it 1-0 just over 6 minutes into the first. Thornton is back and Matthews is still on fire, what’s new?

AUSTON MATTHEWS
Jumbo is back baby! What a pass! pic.twitter.com/TC08hB0w1R
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 16, 2021

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Less than 5 minutes later the Leafs put some pressure on the Senators and with a pass from Jason Spezza …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: A buyers market for defense and the search for secondary scoring

Here we are ten games into the season, and ready to kick off a season filled with trade rumours. Who doesn’t love speculation? Oh, most people. That’s fine. Especially when the Leafs are doing well it’s not always easy to think about upgrades, the playoffs, the expansion draft, free agency, and beyond.
Still, what we’re starting to see is the trade market picking up. And with the Laine/Dubois trade serving as evidence that teams aren’t going to let a 14 day quarantine slow them down, we might as well start considering what the Leafs could be up to.
Speculation around Dermott
While it’s not a locked in trade rumour, there was speculation from Thomas Drance of The Athletic that Dermott could address the need for a defenseman in Vancouver.
Dermott isn’t a dynamic player on the same level as Dunn, but where the Blues want a pick and have no need to take a player in return, the Maple Leafs are looking for a top-nine capable forward. Meanwhile, Vancouver currently has two players — in Gaudette and Virtanen — who scored at a 40-point pace last season currently rotating in and out of the lineup.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Welcoming the distraction of Leafs hockey and looking at the roster by the numbers

Here we are, hours from the start of the new, shortened, and definitely weird NHL season. It’s kicking off with empty arenas, new divisional alignments, and already one team in the midst of a COVID outbreak that has sidelined 17 of their players, and led to an immediate postponement of games. Still, it’s hard to be anything other than excited about hockey right now, even if it is a selfish feeling, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that a nightly distraction of Auston Matthews chasing the Rocket Richard Award, seeing a legend like Joe Thornton in a Leafs uniform, or having Wayne Simmonds punch in the mouth is something that we need.
Of course sports are more than just a distraction, but it’s not unfair to say we missed the distracting part. Knowing that I’ll be able to sit on the phone with my father for three hours, trying to watch a game together, but largely just listening to him talk about how players get too cute with the puck, is comforting. Having this site fill up with pre and post game articles instead of offseason profiles and trade speculation will be nice too.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

First look at the Leafs training camp roster

As discovered on MapleLeafs.com by our own Nick Barden, here is the training camp roster for the Maple Leafs this season.

This looks to be the #Leafs training camp roster, per their website: pic.twitter.com/Cjaf7YfZ4a
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) January 1, 2021

There are a couple of things that immediately stand out from this, and the first one is that David Warsofsky is presently on waivers, and it’s unlikely the Leafs are wanting to make an official announcement until they know he has cleared.
There is also the fact that we know Mac Hollowell is in Toronto and was pictured with Thornton, Matthews, Nylander, and Sandin at Christmas. That might not mean anything and he’ll need to be around this neck of the woods for Marlies camp soon enough, but he might be one of the players that is most noteworthy as an omission from this keep group.
Players like Kossila, Kral, Korshkov, and Hallander seem likely to continue their overseas loans, but with the announcement that Canada has waived the 14 day quarantine for NHL players, they could potentially be last minute additions.
The big ones…
Where are Mikko Lehtonen and Timothy Liljegren? Both of these …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: TLN Rankings recap, Ovchinnikov overload, Koster cashes in

Over the last few weeks, we here at TheLeafsNation have been counting down the Leafs’ top 20 prospects as voted on by our team of writers and that countdown wrapped up today with Nick Robertson coming in at number one. The top three are in a tier of their own as the only prospects to receive an “A” grade but the system is deep overall, with a number of prospects that realistically project as NHL players in some capacity. It was a tight
Check out the full rankings here, and click on a player’s name to view his TLN Prospect Rankings profile:

Rank
Player
Grade
NHL ETA

1
 Nick Robertson
A
0-1 years

2
Rasmus Sandin
A
0-1 years

3
Rodion Amirov
A
1-2 years

4
Timothy Liljegren
B
0-1 years

5
Filip Hallander
B
1-2 years

6
Mikhail Abramov
B
2-4 years

7
Joey Anderson
B
0-1 years

8
Mikko Kokkonen
C
2-4 years

9
Topi Niemela
C
2-4 years

10
Nick Abruzzese
B
2-4 years

11
Joseph Woll
B
2-4 years

12
Roni Hirvonen
C
2-4 years

13
Mac Hollowell
C
1-2 years

14
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
C
2-4 years

15
Ian Scott
C
2-4 years

16
Artur Akhtyamov
C
5+ years

17
Filip Kral
C
2-4 years

18
Kristians Rubins
C
1-2 years

19
Pontus Holmberg
C
2-4 …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Toronto Raptors 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are here! 2020 has been pure madness, but now is the time to make sure all the Toronto Raptors fans you know are happy. The sleigh bells are about to start ringing. I know, you’re probably thinking that you haven’t even started cooking the turkey yet… but the holidays wait for no one. […]
Toronto Raptors 2020 Holiday Gift Guide – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nathan Cunningham / Raptors HQ

FanGraphs has lofty projections for the 2021 Blue Jays

Looking for reasons to feel optimistic? Well, here you go!

Over at FanGraphs, the Steamer projections for the 2021 season have been released and they’re quite bullish on the Blue Jays.
For those who are asking ‘what’s a Steamer?’ it’s FanGraphs’ projection system based on past performance and typical ageing trends. Obviously, Steamer projections don’t all necessarily come true, but it’s widely regarded as one of the most accurate predictors in the industry.
Steamer has 10 (!!!) different Blue Jays with a wRC+ higher than 100 (meaning 10 hitters are projected to be above average). Some interesting notes…

Steamer really believes in Vladdy. He’s projected to slash a .299/.373/.528 line and his projected 144 wRC+ is seventh in baseball, tied with Ronald Acuna Jr. and right behind Freddie Freeman. That kind of breakout from Vladdy would be fantastic.
Though Vladdy is projected to be Toronto’s most productive hitter, Bo Bichette is being projected as their best all-around player. Steamer has Bo producing a nice 119 wRC+ while also being a plus defender, coming out at a team-high 4.1 wins above replacement.
Steamer has also bought into the Alejandro Kirk hype. It’s projecting Kirk will produce a 123 wRC+ over 52 games. It also …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, October 28th: Babies, Fur Babies, and Instagram Madness

Happy Wednesday, gossip hounds. If you’re here, it likely means you either have a sense of unwavering loyalty to yours truly, or you too need a break from the real world to focus on the mundane, trivial fun of hockey gossip and drama.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
Leafs Lads (and Ladies, and Fur Babies)
Our boys in blue were all over Instagram this week cuddling their furry loved ones. First up, this adorable picture of Morgan Rielly and little Zoë, shared by Tessa Virtue on her IG stories:

This picture of Mo and Zoë is Tessa’s favorite on her phone right now and I’m not okay pic.twitter.com/KPqS701UwT
— Mer (@MerOutLoud) October 27, 2020

It’s her favourite, and it might be ours too.
Then, we have our adorable backup goalie Jack Campbell, aka cat dad extraordinaire:

We must protect Jack Campbell at all costs pic.twitter.com/PRufpirALe
— Mer (@MerOutLoud) October 27, 2020

Love those furry friend pics!
Finally, quick shout out to the newest Leaf goalie, Aaron Dell, and his fiancee Nicole, who recently made the move to Toronto. Nicole has been documenting it on IG stories, and if you don’t yet …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

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

The Leafs Nation Guide to Draft Day

It’s finally here. A day filled with expectations that anything is possible, but given the NHL’s recent track record, a day much more likely to be formulaic, with each team making a somewhat predictable selection and our big moments will consist of teams moving up or down a couple of picks in exchange for a second or third round pick. It still will have some excitement. It will still be a chance to have numerous new trade rumours dumped on us. It will still set the table for free agency. It’s fun, but maybe our expectations need to be lower.
In advance of this day we’ve put together a ton of draft related content on TLN since the Leafs return to play was cut short. And if you are looking for something to pass the time until the draft or feel the need to be brought up to speed, this is the post for you. Enjoy the link dump.
First of all, here are the picks the Leafs own:
Toronto Maple Leafs picks set for 2020 NHL Draft

Our own Mark Norman put in work to build a Consensus Ranking out of all the draft rankings. The …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation