Raptors sign Otto Porter Jr. after solid season with Warriors

Raptors sign Otto Porter Jr. after solid season with Warriors

The Toronto Raptors managed to hit a home run on the first day of free agency, as they were able to retain Chris Boucher and Thad Young on long-term contracts. Masai Ujiri immediately pivoted his attention to finding bench upgrades, culminating in luting Otto Porter Jr. away from the Golden State Warriors. Porter is signing […]
Raptors sign Otto Porter Jr. after solid season with Warriors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Bluelines: The last non-elimination game of the series

The Leafs are back home, and thankfully the final minutes of Game Four provided a lot of hope for their return. They aren’t the team that was getting shelled 5-0. They are now the team that rallied to 5-2 and picked up another in between a pair of empty net goals. It’s progress, but another reminder that Tampa is not a team that will let up.
The return home means the Leafs are the favourite again
The Leafs Moneyline tonight is -131, with the Lightning at +110. Still putting both teams fairly close, as they should be. The Leafs going back to having the last line change should hopefully maximize what the Leafs can get out of the Kampf line, and have Brodie and Muzzin on the ice at the right times.
Believing in John Tavares
There’s something to be said for home ice, and ideally, the Leafs take advantage of it by having the Lightning match to the Matthews line, the Kampf line matching to the Stamkos line, and freeing up John Tavares to play against some bottom-six competition with a pair of hot hands in Mikheyev and Kerfoot. The challenge might be establishing a cycle without William Nylander, but if this group can set up, Tavares has a good chance for a down low reward. A goal from J …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Bluelines: The final regular season road game

We’re in the home stretch and soon the regular season will be in the rearview mirror. That feels more bittersweet now that it would be nice to give Michael Bunting some recovery time before the playoffs start, but nevertheless, we’ll soon be stepping away from lame-duck hockey and into the most meaningful games of the year. That’s exciting.
Leafs at +105
It stands to reason the Leafs are the underdogs heading into the game tonight. They played last night, they lost Bunting in the process, and they are likely heading back to Erik Kallgren in the net. It’s also up for debate that someone like Matthews should even be playing tonight given that he’s probably not at 100%. It’s a tough one to see the Leafs winning tonight, and maybe the Capitals with a +205 spread is the best option.
Panthers at -125 to win over the Lightning
Since the Panthers beating the Lightning is an important one to watch in order for the Leafs to clinch 2nd in the Atlantic, I’m including the odds there too. Any kind of win helps, but a win in regulation means the Leafs just need to push the Caps to overtime in their game.
Matthews hitting 60 at +400
It’s not a certainty that Matthews will even be in tonight, but if he is and he score …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to stop blaming the umpires: A lesson in pitch framing

You may or may not like this article, but blaming the home plate umpire for a loss is not the way to go.

Don’t get me wrong, some calls are pretty atrocious, but in reality, the Twitter account “Umpire Scorecards” is incredibly misleading. I’ve spoken about it before, but framing is a super important aspect of a catcher’s game.
Why pitch framing:
Remember when everyone was mad at Kirk when a Robbie Ray wild pitch snuck by him with a runner on third? While blocking is easier in the traditional stance for catchers, I’d argue that framing is a lot more important. 
While the traditional stance would have been more useful in this scenario mentioned above, stealing strikes that are actually balls leads to more strikeouts and balls in play. As the game has moved away from the stolen base, we’ve also moved away from the need to throw out runners (which the traditional stance helps).
Every team is looking for a pitcher that strikeouts the batter, and pitch framing helps a lot in this regard.
The first seven games:

Data and visualization via Umpire Scorecards on Twitter. 
Thus far, there have been four different catchers that the opposing pitcher has pitched to. In the first game, it was Mitch Garver of the Rangers. Jonah Heim caught the last two games of that series. In the Yankees series, Kyle Higashioka caught the first three games with Jose Trevino catching the game on Thursday.
We’ll use “Catcher Framing Runs” which essentially converts how many pitches in the “shadow zone” (or just outside the strike zone) were converted for strikes. Last season, Reese McGuire led the Blue Jays with a +4. Danny Jansen, who is an above-average defender, had a +1, while Alejandro Kirk had a -1 CRS.
Garver and Higashioka caught a combined four games and their Catcher Framing Runs both sat at +3, which is well above average. Trevino ca …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs officially end the Nick Ritchie experiment, trade him to Arizona

The Toronto Maple Leafs have found a new home for Nick Ritchie.
The struggling forward was traded to the Arizona Coyotes along with a conditional second-round draft choice in exchange for defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin and forward Ryan Dzingel.
Arizona will choose either Toronto’s third-round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft or Toronto’s second-round selection in 2025 NHL Draft, according to the Maple Leafs’ press release of the trade.
The Maple Leafs signed the 26-year-old Ritchie to a two-year contract with $5 million this summer. Starting this season on the team’s top line alongside stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Ritchie quickly fell out of favour with the club.
He had two goals and nine points in 33 games with the club.
On Jan. 7, the Maple Leafs waived Ritchie after he fell outside of the team’s top 12 forwards. He continued to practice with the club as part of the team’s taxi squad, a COVID-19 temporary provision that expired after the NHL All-Star Game. Immediate after provision expired, Ritchie reported to the Marlies where he scored one goal.
The Leafs get a pair of players in return for Ritchie while removing the $1.375 million he occupied on the team’s salary cap as part of his burial in the AHL.

The #Leafsforever acquired Lyubushkin (1 yr $1.35M) …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

What’s next for Josh Ho-Sang?

Josh Ho-Sang is returning home without a medal in his pocket, and now the discussion shifts to whether he rejoins the Toronto Marlies or if an NHL team comes calling.
Prior to the Olympics, the 25-year-old fielded a lot of questions about his NHL future, saying he’d want to have a discussion with Maple Leafs GM, Kyle Dubas, before he made any move to a NHL team.
“I have the utmost respect for Toronto and for me, I think that, I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done and I would definitely take that into consideration, very, very heavily.” Said Ho-Sang prior to the Olympics. “Even if I got an offer from another team, I would like to have a respectful conversation with Kyle [Dubas], thanking him and discuss it with him before I would accept anything because like I said, I have so much respect for that man and what he’s done for my hockey career, and I’ll never forget it.”
It was a three-point campaign for Ho-Sang at the Olympics. When I looked at the way he played, I wasn’t all that surprised. The 25-year-old played just as good as he has with the Marlies.
The Olympics are always the difficult event where teams try to come together so quickl …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Summarizing the current Newfoundland Growlers roster chaos

The Newfoundland Growlers have just returned home from a lengthy road trip and if I had to sum it up in one word, the word would be chaotic.
Following the team’s last home game on Dec. 12, they were thrust into an early and extended holiday break due to COVID-19 outbreaks and potential exposures on teams they were due to face. On New Year’s Eve, they were finally able to return (an overtime loss) before promptly going into yet another extended break, following the rescheduling and cancellation of some home games.
Cut to Friday, January 21st, the team reassembles in Kansas City to begin a seven-game road trip through the Midwest and things get strange right from the beginning. The captain, James Melindy, is not joining the team for unspecified personal reasons. Starting goaltender Keith Petruzzelli and winger Jeremy McKenna are called up to the Marlies, but in their place come winger Gordie Green and defencemen Ben Finkelstein and Noel Hoefenmayer, as well as Maple Leafs/Marlies practice goalie Andrew D’Agostini, who is promptly signed to a contract, and USports goaltender Brett Epp is set to be his backup.
And the first game of the road trip is a 9-4 win, the most goals in a single game in Growlers’ history, featuring five power play goals, two shorthanded goals, and two pl …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner help lead the Maple Leafs to victory after a sloppy start from Jack Campbell

The Toronto Maple Leafs were back on home ice to host the New Jersey Devils in a back-to-back, home and home tonight in Toronto and tomorrow night in New Jersey. Following their 7-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings on the weekend, the Maple Leafs were without a doubt looking for a much better start to tonight’s game after coming off of the gates very slow in the previous game. Well, that wasn’t the case and the Devils looked like the much more engaged team on the ice through the first 10 minutes of the first period.
The game opened up with a Devils goal from Pavel Zacha with a shot that just squeaked past Campbell and the rest was downhill from there. The Devils scored six minutes later from Jesper Boqvist and you could start to see that it just wasn’t going to be Campbell’s night tonight. Auston Matthews then got the Maple Leafs on the board with a shot from the high slot that beat Schmid and now they’re only down by one. However, Andreas Johnsson comes down the left-wing and rips one past Campbell and his night ended there with allowing three goals on nine shots. Although, Matthews decided to carr …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Pistons Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 14

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Pistons Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 14

The Toronto Raptors finally took home a 2022 loss in a very tight matchup against Phoenix, and it came right before a long road trip. Luckily, the latest Raptors odds have them in line to grab a victory against a team that is competing for the No. 1 pick in the draft. Toronto will take […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Pistons Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 14 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

3 Pistons players the Raptors should consider trading for

3 Pistons players the Raptors should consider trading for

The Toronto Raptors may have lost at home to former coach Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons, but that doesn’t change the fact that these two teams are heading in different directions. The fact Detroit is on such a divergent path could help convince the Raptors to make some trades. While Toronto seems content to […]
3 Pistons players the Raptors should consider trading for – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ