Toronto Raptors: 3 things Raptors players must work on this summer

Toronto Raptors: 3 things Raptors players must work on this summer

It’s been two years since the Toronto Raptors won the championship. Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol are all in Los Angeles, and Kyle Lowry might be joining them soon. If the Raptors are committed to rebuilding with the guys left on the roster, the players will have a lot of opportunities to prove […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 things Raptors players must work on this summer – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kahfeel Buchanan / Raptors HQ

Bob McKenzie has the Leafs as a front runner for Michael Bunting

You know it’s free agency season when you have Bob McKenzie stepping away from the lake to chase down rumours about a player with 26 NHL games to his name.
Nevertheless, Michael Bunting has been a favourite free agency target of the writers on this site, and Leafs nation at large so news like this is encouraging…

Michael Bunting — 10 G in 21 GP with ARI this season — is the rare Group VI free agent. All the logical speculation is on him being reunited with his Soo Greyhound GM (Kyle Dubas) and head coach (Sheldon Keefe) in TOR but multiple teams interested. @TSNHockey
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 27, 2021

The fact that there is competition for Bunting is the first thing to take away from this. And there’s likely a lesson being learned from what Florida was able to accomplish by taking a chance on players like Duclair and Verhaeghe last season.
A lot of Bunting’s appeal, besides the fact that he isn’t going to cost a ton comes from the fact that he’s been considered a bit of a Brad Marchand lite. A skillset that hasn’t really been present on the Leafs since Nazem Kadri departed. There’s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs trade Greenway to the Bruins for Future Considerations

Not the blockbuster you would have hoped for, but it’s something resembling Leafs news today…

TRADE
To Toronto Maple Leafs #LeafsForever Future Considerations
To Boston Bruins #NHLBruins D James Greenway (Signing Rights)https://t.co/6YFJlipItk
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 26, 2021

James Greenway is an unsigned NCAA free agent who’s rights are about to expire on August 15th. He’s a big 6’5 defenseman, and the brother of Jordan Greenway of the Minnesota Wild. He’s been in the Leafs organization for a while, and had a setback where he left the University of Wisconsin for the USHL, and then joined the University of Maine. There isn’t a whole lot in his history that says he was going to be an AHL contributor let alone a NHL player for the Leafs, so letting him walk isn’t the end of the world.
On the other hand the Leafs just let a giant defenseman walk to the Bruins for nothing so you know how it’s going to play out. At least they got Future Considerations.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Deadline Primer: The Rotation

Before we get started, it’s important to point out that the starting rotation options for this trade deadline are bleak at best. The likely strategy for most teams looking for pitching help will be to add to the bullpen, and The Blue Jays should be no different. But let’s have a look at some of the potential targets if Ross Atkins and the front office do decide to venture into a heavy seller’s market.

In 2020, the team added Taijuan Walker who had barely pitched in the two and a half years before becoming a Blue Jay. The acquisition cost was next to nothing, and the additions of starters-turned-relievers Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling were likely in the same vein. Walker went on to make six starts in a Blue Jays uniform and performed extremely well, exceeding all expectations. A similar, low-risk-high-reward move could be in the cards for The Jays this trade deadline, however, The Jays rotation is much more solidified this season than it was last.
Robbie Ray has emerged as the clear-cut ace of the staff, and despite a rough patch, Hyun-Jin Ryu appears to be getting back on track. A top of the rotation …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Leaflets: Thoughts heading into Draft Day

It’s Draft Day!!! Woooooooooo. A magical night where anything seems possible, except for the Leafs doing anything. With Kyle Dubas’ repeated vocal support for the top of his roster, there is absolutely no chance that the Leafs find their way stumbling into the first round. At best they might do something that sets them up a bit differently for Saturday, but watching the draft tonight is just hoping for as many teams as possible to reach with their picks and provide the Leafs with the best possible talent pool to work with tomorrow.
Change needs to be made beyond the free agents
The Leafs have no shortage of vacancies created due to departing free agents, but that doesn’t seem like it should be the extent of the changes being made, and there is a need for additional funds to improve the Maple Leafs. As things sit right now, sticking only with the returning Leafs on the roster, the Leafs have just over $10M to address 4 roster spots (3F and 1G) and up to three reserve spots. At best they can comfortably chase a $7M if they plan on cheaping out the rest of the way. The fact that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Deadline Primer: The Bullpen

Oh how we love to get our hopes up, it’s a Trade Deadline tradition, after all. However, heading into the 2021 Trade Deadline, things feel a little bit different. The Blue Jays boast one of the game’s most feared lineups to go along with one of the game’s deepest farm systems. It’s the perfect recipe for a little trade deadline drama.

The biggest hole for this club since the very beginning of the season has been in the bullpen, and although Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards have done well to come in and bolster, it’s very to say that GM Ross Atkins will be on the hunt for at least one more reliever. In 2020, The Jays were in a similar situation, as they approached the expanded playoff with minimal concern for falling out. They went out and acquired starting pitching depth in Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling and used them to lengthen the bullpen. I would suspect another bulk reliever to be added to fold sooner than later to upgrade over Anthony Kay as the first man out and push relievers like the aforementioned Cimber and Richards back down towards the back end.
Tim …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs preseason starts September 25th

It’s the day before the NHL schedule comes out, there’s an expansion draft going on, and you are probably more interested in the entry draft, free agency, and whatever trades Kyle Dubas might have up his sleeve. Still, a preseason schedule is still news, so here we are joyfully dumping it on our website for you to reference.

Preseason dates are set #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 21, 2021

Following a year that saw the Leafs only play against Canadian teams, I can’t think of anything I’m less enthused about than seeing that continue, but I assume there’s some recognition of the ease of limiting border crossings when possible, and that’s what drove this situation.
It also gives us a time frame for when we’ll start watching actual hockey again, which is nice and I can’t wait to read way too much into how the Leafs will do from these games.
The regular season will be released tomorrow, and we’ll take a much more meaningful look at that. I promise.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 reasons the Toronto Raptors shouldn’t draft Scottie Barnes

3 reasons the Toronto Raptors shouldn’t draft Scottie Barnes

It’s long been an assumption that with the No. 4 overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors will select one of either G League guard Jalen Green, USC center Evan Mobley, or Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, who looks like the favorite. However, Florida State standout Scottie Barnes has slowly been gaining […]
3 reasons the Toronto Raptors shouldn’t draft Scottie Barnes – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Around the NHL: The Canadiens may have made the Cup Finals, but the franchise is probably doomed going forward

Around the NHL: The Canadiens may have made the Cup Finals, but the franchise is probably doomed going forward

It’s always weird writing articles like this, because criticizing a team for being good is a very weird stance to take. Making the Stanley Cup Finals is something that only two teams can accomplish in a season, and it’s a lot of hard work to get there. Depending on the trajectory of the franchise, it’s a sign of hope that you’ll be a contender for years to come, especially if it was the talent and ability of the team that got you there. Just look at the Tampa Bay Lightning making the Cup Finals in 2015, and six years later, they have two Cups to their name.
That said, there are two key phrases in that paragraph that mean the most in these kinds of runs: “the trajectory of the franchise” and “the talent and ability of the team”. That Tampa team made that Cup finals as a young, up and coming team poised for years of success, making that deep run with a solid 1-2 goalie tandem in Bishop and Vasilevskiy, a strong blueline with Hedman and Stralman at the helm, and a talented forward group led by Stamkos and the “Triplets Line” of Johnson, Palat, …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation