Joseph Woll is the Leafs 11th ranked prospect

Much like just about any goalie in professional hockey, Joseph Woll is a question waiting to be answered. There’s a deep desire among the fanbase for him to do well thanks to the endless potential of his name. The fact he’s a Maple Leafs prospect at the most valuable position in the sport is just icing on the cake. 
After spending three years as a starter at Boston College, Woll joined the Marlies last season and is now expected to be among a group of four goalies battling it out for third on the Leafs depth chart. One of the lead storylines heading into training camp will be whether Woll can outduel fellow netminders Ian Scott, Aaron Dell, and Michael Hutchinson for priority on the depth chart. Possibilities are endless for the young American goalie who could find himself on the Leafs taxi squad, platooning in the AHL, starting in the ECHL, or if we’re all lucky – being loaned to the DEL’s Berlin Bears where he can lay claim to hockey’s greatest nickname by becoming the Berlin Woll.
Rank – Grade – NHL Readiness
11TH – B – 2-4 YEARS
Position: G
Age: 22
Height: 6’4
Weight: 203 lbs
Drafted: 2016 3rd round, 62 …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Rob Manfred wants to maintain an expanded playoff field

The 2020 World Series just kicked off.

It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in baseball who posted an insane 43-17 record during the regular season, taking on the Tampa Bay Rays, the second-best team in baseball who went 40-20 during the regular season.
No. 1 vs. No. 1. That’s exactly what Rob Manfred needed to validate the existence of an expanded playoff field. Had this featured two clunky, random teams, like the Marlins and Blue Jays, who really had no business making the playoffs in a normal season, there would surely have been some outrage over the legitimacy of this World Series.
But here we are. Baseball added an extra round to generate some buzz and, when it was all said and done, the two best teams still came out on top.
Ahead of Game 1 in Arlington, Manfred spoke about Major League Baseball’s 60-game season and what’s next for the league. One thing he mentioned was how the expanded playoff field was a success and that it’s something he would like to continue.
“I like the idea of, and I’m choosing my words carefully here, an expanded playoff format,” Manfred said. “I don’t think …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

With the 44th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select…

We are now just a day away from the draft, and while the attention is always focused on the surefire first round prospects, every GM knows that finding NHL players beyond the first round is key to sustaining a successful organization. Over the last few weeks, the team at The Leafs Nation has been previewing potential options for the 15th overall pick but the Leafs have an opportunity to add another high end prospect to their system with the 44th pick as well.
Keep in mind that Toronto drafted Nick Robertson – arguably the top prospect in the organization – with the 53rd pick just last year, and he is already looking poised to be a contributor on the Leafs roster. Now, we shouldn’t expect every second round pick to break into the NHL so quickly but there should be plenty of talent and potential left on the board when it’s the Leafs’ turn to make their selection in the second round.
Many of the names on this list could be gone before the Leafs pick, but players slide down draft boards for a variety of reasons every year. Let’s take a look at some players ranked in the …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Friedman hints that Pietrangelo and the Leafs might not happen, but they have some Plan Bs

With the draft just now to the point where counting down to it in hours doesn’t seem completely ridiculous we near what is without a doubt the most exciting week of the offseason. With that comes a lot more insider information (or noise depending on how you want to interpret it.) On his 31 Thoughts podcast with Jeff Marek, Elliotte Friedman shared some information that might be important to Leafs fans:

Also names Gudas, Vatanen, would those be players they look at? EF also believes if Tanev hits the market, Leafs will definitely be in on him.
Friedman can see them going in on two RHD rather than going all in on one big RHD.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) October 3, 2020

So there’s an absolute ton of information in those two tweets. And a lot more detail in the podcast. We’ll unpack it quickly because I’m sure the information will be completely different in half a day.
Pietrangelo’s preferences
So Pietrangelo wanting to stay in St. Louis is the least shocking thing ever. In the middle of a global pandemic, I can appreciate any player that can make the decision not to relocate. Throw in the fact …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Reese McGuire has been optioned and Caleb Joseph has been added to the roster

There’s a new catcher joining the Blue Jays — it just isn’t the one you were probably hoping for.

The Blue Jays announced today that they’ve optioned Reese McGuire to the Alternate Training Site and that veteran Caleb Joseph has been added to the active roster in his place. In order to fit Joseph on the 40-man roster, Ken Giles has been moved to the 45-day Injured List (which is this year’s version of the 60-day IL).
It isn’t too surprising that McGuire got optioned. He’s having an absolutely putrid season offensively, as he has just three hits over 45 plate appearances. The surprise here is that it isn’t Alejandro Kirk joining the team.
The Jays added Kirk, one of the organization’s top prospect, to the Taxi Squad last week, which seemed to indicate that he might soon be joining the team. Given the fact the Jays have gotten virtually zero offence from the catcher position, it seemed that adding Kirk to the mix could give them a boost offensively.
Instead, it’s the veteran Joseph joining the team. Anybody is an upgrade on …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 Raptors That Performed Well in their Seeding Games

The Toronto Raptors just wrapped up their last seeding game in the NBA bubble in Orlando, and the team continued from where they left off from the regular season. With the Toronto Raptors eight seeding games now complete in the bubble in Orlando we got a good look at the team again and how guys […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 Raptors That Performed Well in their Seeding Games – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

Third base won’t be Vlad Jr’s main position anymore

It was really just a matter of time.

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith, Charlie Montoyo said on Friday that the Blue Jays will shift Vladimir Guererro Jr’s focus to first base and designated hitter. He’ll still be an option at third base, but it’ll no longer be his primary position. Travis Shaw will now be the team’s primary third baseman.

Major development for Blue Jays: Vlad Guerrero Jr. will now focus on first base this spring per Charlie Montoyo
“He’s going to focus on 1B and DH.” Third will be an option, but not his main position anymore.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) July 10, 2020

It always seemed inevitable that Vlad would eventually get pulled away from third but it’s a little bit interesting that it’s happening so quickly. Vlad has only played 824 1/3 innings at third at the Major League level, and while his work in the field certainly wasn’t inspiring, you’d have thought they might have given him another year to try and hack it.
I guess it just became clear that Vlad wouldn’t be a third baseman at the Major League level and …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

What to expect from Nick Robertson this summer

As we all know by now, just over a year ago with their only pick in the 2nd round of the 2019 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected undersized, goal-scoring winger Nick Robertson. Robertson was rated as a first round talent by many, myself included, and was considered to be a really good pick at the time by many draft analysts. Fast forward to today, and the teenage Robertson is slated to be joining the big club for the NHL playoffs.
Like many of his biggest supporters, I expected Robertson to have a breakout season, but I don’t think anyone (myself included) saw one of this magnitude on the horizon. Robertson led the OHL in goals this past season, racking up 55 goals and 86 points in just 46 games. He finished fourth in the entire OHL in points per game, beating out every OHLer drafted ahead of him last June (save for Connor McMichael). Robertson also starred at the World Juniors, scoring 5 points in as many games while playing on Team USA’s top line.  This breakout year had led the Leafs to include him on their taxi squad, and this has many fans wondering if the 18-year-old winger …

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Author: 51Leafs / The Leafs Nation

Apparently the Blue Jays will start the season playing the Rays in Tampa Bay on July 24th

Just after escaping the COVID-19 hellhole known as Florida, the Blue Jays will soon be on their way back to the heart of the beast.

According to Tampa Bay Rays reporter Marc Tompkin, the Rays and Blue Jays will be squaring off at the House of Horrors for Opening Day on July 24.

Hearing #Rays are slated to open season at home against #BlueJays on July 24, and finish at home vs. #Phillies. Schedules have not been finalized, but are close.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 29, 2020

We’ll be seeing quite a bit of the Rays this season. Of the 60 games that the Jays are set to play, 40 of them will be against the American League East, with 10 coming against each divisional rival.
We don’t yet know the schedule, or where the Jays will be playing home games, for that matter, but it’s hilariously ironic that they’ll be headed right back to Florida just a few weeks after getting out.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Friday Future Stars: The 2020 Draft and the Leafs

It just doesn’t seem like June unless we’re talking about the draft. Normally by this time of year our site would be rotten with prospect rankings, profiles, mock drafts, arguments for the Leafs trading up or down in the draft, and the several dozen trade rumours of Leafs dumping players for picks which never materialize but give us the false hope and content we love to keep us interested in what is usually a pretty straight forward and bland process.
That brings us to this year and the mountain of question marks surrounding the draft.
The Draft Lottery
We know it will be held on June 26th, but alas, we might not know who the winner is until the play-in rounds of the rebooted playoffs are completed.
This could potentially be a consolation prize for the Leafs if they are booted in the play-in round by the Blue Jackets.
The format this year is as follows (via NBC Sports)
There will be three different draws. The first will be for the No. 1 overall pick; the second for the No. 2 pick; and a third for the No. 3 selection.
The seven teams done for the year were ranked …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation