The NHL Draft: Consolidated Rankings, Where the Leafs sit, and introducing the Hunter Score

Salt, meet wound. After an incredibly disappointing post season that saw the Leafs in their traditional role of watching the second round from their comfort of their own homes, we now need to address the fact that the Leafs are heading into the NHL Entry Draft with only 3 draft picks and most significantly, without a first round pick. Draft experts will provide some comforting knowledge that this isn’t a particularly high end draft. It’s not a draft that is overwhelmingly deep, and of course with COVID, there are entire leagues like the OHL that didn’t play and others that played shortened schedules in bizarre circumstances. Still the seven regular season games and four post season games of Nick Foligno that resulted in 5 assists and 0 parades probably is creating a nice bitter feeling at the moment.
Still, it’s foolish to completely dismiss any conversation of the entry draft because we don’t particularly like the way the Leafs are situated heading into it. Last year the Leafs also looked to be without a first round pick, and low and behold, the Kapanen trade brought a first back into the mix and Rodion Amirov into our lives. The …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Ross Atkins “optimistic” that Blue Jays will reach 85% vaccination threshold

The Blue Jays are off today after yesterday’s incredibly thrilling opening day victory in New York, so it isn’t a very Good Friday at all!

Elsewhere, Ross Atkins provided injury-related updates for the team, in which he said George Springer could be ready for the team’s “home” opener on April 8, Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson are throwing off of mounds today, and Tom Hatch is throwing again after a brief shutdown.
He also noted that the Blue Jays will be vaccinated when they return to Florida later this month as the state is set to allow anybody over the age of 18 eligible for the shot in a few weeks. Atkins said that he’s “optimistic” that the Blue Jays will be able to reach the 85% threshold of players getting vaccinated that Major League Baseball has established in order to ease their COVID protocols.
Earlier this week, MLB and the Players’ Association sent out a three-page memorandum to players and staff that stated “all players and staff are strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.” If a team has 85% of its players vaccinated, MLB will loosen their COVID restrictions, allowing things like drinking …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Daily Duce: Thinking about free agency, Major League Baseball expansion, and more!

It’s incredibly difficult to talk about baseball right now because, at the end of the day, we don’t know anything.
We know that Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association has a deal in place that covers a handful of key labour-related issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pause such as shortening the draft, giving players an advance on their salaries, and basing service time on last season in the event of a cancelled season, but everything regarding the actual 2020 season is up in the air.
Maybe there’ll be Opening Day games during All-Star Weekend. Maybe there’ll be a wild, quick, 81-game season filled with complete madness. Maybe there’ll be a big, expanded post-season that features 12 or even 16 teams. Maybe there’ll be a World Series played in a neutral location on Christmas. Maybe games will be played on the moon. Maybe there won’t be a season at all. Who knows! We’re venturing into the unknown.
Anyways, let’s try to figure out how the fallout from all of this affects the Blue Jays in the wide array of possible scenarios we could be …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Postgame: The worst piece of crap I’ve ever watched

Okay, let’s get through this incredibly quick. There isn’t a whole lot of good to talk about. Presumably the Leafs players were able to dress themselves tonight. That’s a positive. Tyson Barrie was able to return after being hurt, so he can be traded.
Asides from that, the Leafs managed to swiftly injure former Leafs James Reimer. Later, while already looking terrible they managed to injure Petr Mrazek, an incident that should have put them back into the game as they would be facing David Ayres, a goaltender who works with the Leafs and Marlies in their skills practices, and yes, as mentioned several times on the broadcast, is 42 years old and drives a zamboni.
Things looked encouraging on the first couple of shots as the Leafs quickly put the game to 4-3, but an absolute no show from Toronto in the third period resulted in a 6-3 loss, and David Ayres first win in the NHL.
Good for Ayres, and this is a special night for him, and he should enjoy every minute of it.
As for the Leafs, the amount of shame that should exist in this organization can’t be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation