Kristians Rubins is the Leafs 18th ranked prospect

Kristians Rubins left home in Latvia as a 15 year old to pursue his hockey dreams. He was headed to the Swedish VIK Vasteras system. His late birthday (December 11, 1997) meant he had just turned 16 when he was selected to Latvia’s WJC-18 team. The following season, when he was turning 17, Rubins represented Latvia in both the WJC-18 and WJC-20 D1A, where he had 4 points in 5 games.
From a very young age Kristians Rubins has been playing up to a high competition level, and earning the trust of his coaches. As a 6’4″ LD, that can take him a long way in this sport. Sparing some of the details for later on in this prospect ranking, Rubins possesses many of the attributes that makes modern big-bodied defencemen successful. The winding path he took to gather those attributes is why he is relatively unheard of.
RANK – GRADE – NHL READINESS
18TH – C – 1-2 YEARS
Position: Left Defence
Age: 22
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 220 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: No
What kind of player is he?
Just looking at his height and weight, you can infer he’s a shutdown defenceman. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but Rubins was not always that way. He comes from a …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

The return of the Mac (Hollowell) to playing hockey (but in Finland)

The Leafs found a home for another Marlie in Europe. This morning they announced that Mac Hollowell is off to Finland…

The @MapleLeafs have loaned defenceman Mac Hollowell to TUTO (Mestis). #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 28, 2020

The Mestis is the second tier league in Finland below the Liiga, but given that top tier leagues are going to be difficult to place AHL players in, finding a team that has ice time for any prospect is a plus.

SEASON
TEAM
LEAGUE
GP
G
A
TP
PIM

2015-16
 Soo Greyhounds
OHL
58
1
20
21
23

2016-17
 Soo Greyhounds
OHL
63
3
20
23
19

2017-18
 Soo Greyhounds
OHL
63
12
44
56
18

2018-19
 Soo Greyhounds “A”
OHL
64
24
53
77
62

2019-20
 Toronto Marlies
AHL
34
3
9
12
25

 Newfoundland Growlers
ECHL
19
3
10
13
21

Hollowell had a solid first year of pro hockey, and I’d have to imagine the Leafs want to make sure he’s given every opportunity to build on that.
This move follows the Leafs decision to send Semyon Der-Arguchintsev to Torpedo of the KHL earlier this week, and now Hollowell, Der-Arguchintsev, Kral, Lehtonen, Korshkov, and Hallander are all Leafs prospects playing overseas, in addition to that Joe Thornton guy who is kicking around Switzerland.
 

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Remembering Marc Gasol’s role in the 2019 Toronto Raptors title

With Marc Gasol’s decision to go back home and play in Spain, it seems appropriate to look back on all the reasons he was a valuable piece to the 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors. Before Marc Gasol, there was Jonas Valanciunas. The Lithuanian big man was always a fan favourite, and for years he manned the paint […]
Remembering Marc Gasol’s role in the 2019 Toronto Raptors title – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kyle Oliveira / Raptors HQ

News and Notes as the Blue Jays host the Marlins in Buffalo

Home sweet alternate home!

After a two-and-a-half week slog on the road, the Blue Jays have finally been able to settle down at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. Tuesday night will be the team’s long-awaited home opener, and it’ll also be the first big-league game played in Buffalo in well over a century.
The cardboard cutouts in attendance will be getting one hell of a treat in this two-game series as the Jays are sending Hyun Jin Ryu and Nate Pearson to the mound to christen the newly-renovated Sahlen Field. Facing the Blue Jays will the Miami Marlins, who, for some reason, own a sparkling 7-3 record this season.

The #Marlins just won a baseball game with:
•A SP who had never pitched above high-A making his MLB debut •An Olympic speedskater starting at second base •17 players on the 10-day IL •One player with above a .300 average (and he only has 9 ABs)
They are 7-1.
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) August 8, 2020

I really can’t explain why the Marlins have gotten off to such a hot start. Looking up and down their lineup, nobody is really tearing the cover off the ball, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

We got our hopes up, and the Leafs got shut out.

In a win or go home game five the Leafs kinda blew it, and that’s putting it nicely.
After the epic comeback of game four spirits were high among Leafs fans! Going into the final game of the series, it made sense that this feeling carried over for most. We had Saturday to process and waited all day Sunday in anticipation of what was to come. A lot was kept hush hush up until two hours before the game where we saw something that had the potential to be a game-changer.

The @MapleLeafs have activated forward Andreas Johnsson from injured reserve. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 9, 2020

Andreas Johnsson back ahead of schedule. With him in, that meant Robertson was out of the mix and the lines got a decent shuffle.

Here’s how the blue & white line up tonight. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/EERIFIge4K
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) August 9, 2020

The first forty minutes were a whole lot of nothing. Columbus’ Zach Werenski scores the first goal of the game at 6:29 in the first. The Leafs later took a too many men penalty served by Nylander. The second consisted of a terrible cross-checking penalty …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays announce 30-man roster for Opening Day

We don’t know where our home is going to be, but we know our roster.

The Blue Jays announced their 30-man roster for Opening Day on Friday, per the team’s Twitter account…

There are only a few surprises, none of which are really major.
Nate Pearson isn’t on the roster, but he’ll be travelling with the team on its Taxi Squad. So, as soon as his service time has been manipulated, he’ll “join” the team. Also on the Taxi Squad is Ryan Borucki, which suggests that he isn’t going to be the Jays’ fifth starter off the hop. One (or both?) of Anthony Kay or Thomas Hatch, who are on the 30-man roster, will presumably be Toronto’s fifth starter until Pearson gets added.
A.J. Cole and Brian Moran, two non-roster invitees to spring training, have been selected to the active roster, meaning they need to also be added to the 40-man roster. Cole, who had a pretty strong showing in Cleveland last year, seemed like a lock to be added, but Moran is a bit more of a surprise.
I had …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs interested in Namestnikov and the Canucks interested in Barrie according to TSN

We are in the home stretch of trading season, and that means even when our eyes should be focused on the Leafs playing the Penguins, trade rumours are happening in the background. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of what we have for you tonight…
Namestnikov

Dreger reporting on TSN that the Leafs are among teams that have asked about Namestnikov
— 51Leafs (@51Leafs) February 20, 2020

Namestnikov not dressing for the Senators tonight. Don’t believe a deal is done, but this is asset management.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 20, 2020
That’s certainly something. Namestnikov is a pending UFA making $3.25M this year, and has 25 points in 54 games. Along with Malgin, he represents a potential backfill for Andreas Johnsson, modest addition for the playoffs, or a safety net if the Leafs want to move on from Kapanen or Kerfoot in the coming days. Namestnikov would be somewhat of a depth acquisition not costing the Leafs a ton, and based on the minor league trades from yesterday, we know the Senators and Leafs have been talking to each other.
Barrie

Bob McKenzie said the Leafs will move Barrie if they get a D man back in return …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Andreas Johnsson suffers injury in loss to the Stars

The Leafs suffered a 3-2 loss at home last night to the stingy Dallas Stars, but the game wasn’t the only thing the team lost. Andreas Johnsson suffered a knee injury that will reportedly not be a short-term issue.

Johnsson awkwardly collided with teammate Kasperi Kapanen in the first period and left the game favouring his knee…

#LeafsForever Andreas Johnsson leaves for the room after this collision with Kapanen pic.twitter.com/wL3OITLd22
— Here’s Your Replay (@HeresYourReplay) February 14, 2020

Losing Johnsson is yet another blow to a Leafs team that has struggled mightily with injuries this season. There hasn’t really been a point in 2019-20 in which the Leafs have iced their ideal lineup.
Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott were out at the start of the season, John Tavares got hurt in mid-October, Mitch Marner got injured right when he returned to the lineup, Ilya Mikheyev suffered his hand injury in December, and Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin both got injured in January, while the former is still out of the lineup. Johnsson also spent a month on the shelf earlier in the season.
While losing Johnsson isn’t as big of a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Takeaways from Toronto Raptors distressing loss vs Portland Trail Blazers

The Toronto Raptors dropped a home game to the Portland Trail Blazers in a contest they absolutely should have won. What did we learn from the game? Looking to steady the ship during a period of turbulence caused by a myriad of injuries to their important players, the Toronto Raptors took on the Portland Trail […]
Takeaways from Toronto Raptors distressing loss vs Portland Trail Blazers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Grades from Toronto Raptors tough overtime loss to Miami Heat

The Toronto Raptors dropped their first home loss of the season in a tough game against the Miami Heat. How did everyone grade in the defeat? At long last, the King has returned for the Toronto Raptors. After Serge Ibaka returned against the Utah Jazz in a game the Raptors absolutely dominated, Kyle Lowry made […]
Grades from Toronto Raptors tough overtime loss to Miami Heat – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ