Trying to understand why Jimmy Vesey plays every night

Okay, so I went into looking at Jimmy Vesey’s stats fully expecting that there would be a huge difference between the eye test on him and the numbers. My eyes when it comes to Vesey are strained. Generally it’s hard to tell that he’s even in the lineup, but at some point he’ll find himself in the right position and he’ll create an opportunity, and then it serves to remind you about how you haven’t noticed him the rest of the time he was playing, which has been around 12 minutes a night.
Injuries to Simmonds, Thornton, Hyman, etc. have certainly made it easier to see why Vesey is the lineup right now, but the 12 minutes part still remains a bit perplexing, because, well, he hasn’t been good. And with Nic Petan showing that he can work well with Travis Boyd, and Jason Spezza, Alex Barabanov might be beginning to find his footing in the NHL as well, Alex Galchenyuk waiting to make his Leafs debut, and of course Nick Robertson and Joey Anderson sitting on the Marlies waiting for their next opportunity, it’s starting to hurt my brain trying to establish why …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Chris Boucher helps Toronto overcome slow start, beat mighty 76ers

Raptors: Chris Boucher helps Toronto overcome slow start, beat mighty 76ers

The Toronto Raptors came into their matchup against Joel Embiid and the hyped Philadelphia 76ers on an incredible high, as they avenged their loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves right before sweeping Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Carrying that momentum would be a difficult ordeal, however. Not only does Philadelphia have an MVP candidate in Joel […]
Raptors: Chris Boucher helps Toronto overcome slow start, beat mighty 76ers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: 3 trade rumors that aren’t good for Toronto

Raptors: 3 trade rumors that aren’t good for Toronto

The Toronto Raptors have stormed back into the playoff picture following a 2-8 start, as the likes of Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, and OG Anunoby helped snap the Raptors out of their offensive funk. With several other Eastern Conference competitors looking to make some additions, the Raptors could be aggressive at the trade deadline. The […]
Raptors: 3 trade rumors that aren’t good for Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs look to add to division lead vs. Habs

Going into tonight’s game, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an eight point lead over the Montreal Canadiens for the division title, but the Habs have three games in hand. This game could be the difference between having a 0 point lead if the Habs win their games in hand or having a four point lead if they do, and any chance to help cement your chance as the division winner should hopefully be capitalized on.
The Leafs head into tonight’s game after a three game series against the Ottawa Senators, where they took five of a possible six points, and did it in the most frustrating way possible, blowing a 5-1 lead on Monday night, barely squeaking by on Wednesday night, only to finally blow them out on Thursday night. They’re currently on a two game win streak as a result, and have managed to only lose in regulation once in their last 13 games, going 10-1-2 in the process.
The Habs have had the week off after last Saturday’s game against the Leafs, which saw them get the tying and go ahead goals in the third period on route to a 2-1 win. That ended a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Marlies’ season set to begin, Niemela returns to action, Miettinen earning accolades

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Rasmus Sandin finally got into a game for the first time in close to a year this week, playing just five minutes and registering an assist in a 3-1 victory over Vancouver. While he is still on the outside looking in when it comes to regular playing time with the Leafs, it appears as though there is finally a path for Sandin and several other Leafs prospects to get plenty of ice time with news that the Marlies will begin their AHL season next week.

The AHL announces the Toronto Marlies’ first game will be on Feb. 15 in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose. #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) February 9, 2021

There has been plenty of discussion surrounding Sandin’s lack of playing time but another top prospect and former first round pick, Timothy Liljegren, is also coming up on an entire calendar year since his last real game. With a looming expansion draft, he could factor into the Leafs’ plans as soon as next season and getting him back into regular game action will be imperative as he looks to prove himself capable of holding down an NHL job.
Joey Anderson, acquired from the New Jersey Devils in …

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Author: Nick Richard / 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

Leafs look to have another strong game against Canucks

Going into their four day break, there were many concerns that the Leafs performance was a bit deceiving do to their xGF numbers and reliance on the power play for their offense. But after a bit of rest and a strong game against the Canucks that saw them dominate for all three periods, there’s a bit less concern.
We saw a pretty entertaining first game in this three game series against the Canucks, as all the Leafs big guns showed up, highlighted by Matthews’ two goals and Marner & Nylander’s three point games. But there was no bigger story than Jason Spezza’s hat trick, which I bet you probably didn’t have on your bingo cards for this season.
The Leafs look to continue this strong play from the big guys and the depth players tonight, while the Canucks look to put an end to a three game losing streak. Of their six wins, only two of them have come against teams with an above .500 record, while three of them have come from the Senators. They’ll be looking to get a win against one of the few competitive teams in the division.
Lineups
Toronto Maple Leafs



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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Raptors mock draft: B/R projects Florida State’s Scottie Barnes to Toronto

Raptors mock draft: B/R projects Florida State’s Scottie Barnes to Toronto

While the Toronto Raptors are charging back into the postseason picture on the back of a more balanced offensive attack, they are still very much in contention for a high draft pick. While the recent hot streak is encouraging, this roster still has some incredibly huge holes that Masai Ujiri needs to fix, and Florida […]
Raptors mock draft: B/R projects Florida State’s Scottie Barnes to Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays are going to score a lot of runs. But can their pitching hold up?

After the team snuck into a playoff spot due to the expanded post-season field, the expectation for the Blue Jays’ front office this off-season was to make a big splash.

They delivered by signing George Springer, the best outfielder on the market, to the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history, and they doubled down by adding a former MVP finalist in Marcus Semien.
In a matter of days, a good lineup became a very, very good lineup.
The Blue Jays scored the seventh-most runs in baseball in 2020 (5.03 per game), and the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox were the only teams in the American League who scored more than they did. The team produced at a high level despite having one of their most dynamic hitters, Bo Bichette, miss half of the season due to injury and despite having some black holes in the lineup like Travis Shaw and Joe Panik.
Inserting Springer, who has slashed an elite .284/.376/.576 line over the past two seasons, is a massive boon in itself, but replacing Shaw and Panik at-bats with Semien and a healthy Bichette makes the Blue Jays’ lineup one of the best in baseball.
According to FanGraphs, the Blue Jays …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays 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