Raptors: The 3 non-guaranteed players who should make the roster

Raptors: The 3 non-guaranteed players who should make the roster

The Toronto Raptors know that stocking the rosters with intriguing depth pieces is integral to building a winner, and they were able to win a game or two more than they should have last year when they let players like Yuta Watanabe and DeAndre’ Bembry prove that they should be on the floor more. While […]
Raptors: The 3 non-guaranteed players who should make the roster – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Considering a few other Pro Tryout candidates for the Leafs

It’s almost training camp. Before we know it we’ll get the privilege of hearing about how everyone is in the best shape of their life, and how this year the Leafs have something to prove. While the Leafs attempt to wrap us up in warm cliches they won’t have to answer for until the spring, there is a far less pressing issue to consider, but one that really only remains relevant for the next few days, and that’s whether or not the Leafs should invite anyone else to their training camp on a pro tryout offer.
The Leafs have already extended an invite to Josh Ho-Sang, who as of Monday was scrimmaging on a line with Michael Bunting and John Tavares. He certainly has the potential to fall into the category of being a steal or a worthwhile turnaround project.
When it comes to who is still available to come in on a PTO, the options are pretty limited, and don’t match the excitement of Ho-Sang. The two best options might be the former Leaf options, as Alex Galchenyuk and Ben Hutton might be the most capable players available. Hutton in particular would seemingly address …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #19 Joseph Woll

When you think of Joseph Woll, what do you know of him?
Some look at his 2017 World Junior Championship with USA, where he had two wins, a .934 save percentage and a gold medal. Others may dive deeper into his three seasons with Boston College, and the way he played there. But if you go back more recently, there’s his two seasons with the Toronto Marlies where Woll struggled to get his save percentage above .900.
However, this past season for him looked a little bit different, and I believe the numbers are telling a totally different story.
Position: G
Age: 23
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 203lbs
Drafted: #62 Overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by Toronto Maple Leafs
2020-21 Team: Toronto Marlies, AHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #11
The 23-year-old spent last season moving up and down between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies. It wasn’t because he was ready to be in the NHL, but mainly protection in case of any injuries (and the Leafs needed three goalies).
Woll eventually went back down to the Marlies, where again, he struggled to find a lot of playing time. As a whole, the Marlies iced eight goaltenders last season — some being prospects, one being Frederik Andersen, …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

When will Teemu Kivihalme be in the Maple Leafs lineup?

The 26-year-old named Teemu Kivihalme — do you know him? He’s a defenceman on the Toronto Marlies, who has one more year remaining on his deal. The potential is there, but could his time be running out with the Maple Leafs organization?
Here’s everything you need to know about Kivihalme; how he plays, and where he could end up after what could be the biggest season of his life. Enjoy the video!

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Santiago Espinal is an everyday player

If you follow me on Twitter or know me in person, you know that writing about specific players is my favourite type of article. While all the crazy happenings of trade deadline day unfolded upon us, I released an article on Sem Robberse.

Now, I usually wait a week or two before releasing another article on a particular player, but I feel as if this one cannot wait. The player in question is not a prospect, he’s here and he’s beautiful.
His name is Santiago Espinal and he is the Toronto Blue Jays starting third baseman.
The beginning:
Before deep-diving into why Espinal is the perfect utility player, it has to be noted how the Blue Jays acquired him. Often there are winners and losers in a trade, this one was different though. On June 28th, 2018, the mediocre Blue Jays sent Steve Pearce to the Boston Red Sox for Santiago Espinal.
To his credit, Pearce was a pretty decent player while playing for the Jays. He was versatile and was an above-average hitter in a Blue Jays uniform. Boston would later go on to win the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who was the WS MVP? …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

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 …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson has been dealing with a sports hernia and is going to pitch out of the bullpen

We finally know what’s been up with Big Nate.

The Blue Jays’ No. 1 prospect has been on the shelf since mid-June with what was described at the time as another groin injury. Today, general manager Ross Atkins said that Pearson has been dealing with a sports hernia and the plan is for him to start throwing from the mound next week.
Given where we’re at in the season, there isn’t much time to get Pearson built up, so the team is going to use him as a reliever the rest of the way. I imagine this also partially has to do with the fact the team still desperately needs bullpen help and it’s much, much, muuuuuuuch more likely Pearson can help them there than as a starter.
We saw Pearson pitch out of the ‘pen a couple of times last season. He did so once in late September against Baltimore, in which he tossed one-and-two-thirds innings while picking up two strikeouts, and we saw him again in Game 2 of the wild-card series with Tampa, where he threw a dominant pair of innings with five strikeouts.
Pearson could be a game-changer for Toronto’s bullpen. If you …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

What does a successful July look like for Kyle Dubas?

We all know the run down. Buyouts. The Expansion Draft. The Entry Draft. Free Agency. All of that sprinkled with constant trade speculation and the need to add an Assistant Coach to the Leafs bench. Sure, the trades and coach hiring doesn’t need to happen in July, and Kyle Dubas has already got the ball rolling (slowly) with the re-signing of Travis Dermott, but in what looks like the make or break summer for Kyle Dubas, what would success look like in the busiest three weeks of the GM year?
Here’s what our panel of Learned Elders readily available Leafs writers had to say…
Jori Negin-Shetcher:
It’s going to be an extremely busy month for Kyle Dubas with all of the big events coming up on the hockey calendar for the rest of July, however, there’s a pretty clear path forward for Dubas to put together a positive month as GM. First and foremost, the Maple Leafs need to add some more draft picks for this year’s entry draft. The Maple Leafs only hold three picks at the moment, due in large part to a host of poorly executed trade deadline moves, which is not …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Absolutely, Alek Manoah

Alek Manoah was the 11th overa…
You know what? No. You know who Alek Manoah is, everyone does. 7 IP, 3 H, 10 K, 1 BB, 0 ER. That is Manoah’s pitching line. That’s right. 

Things worth mentioning…
Alek Manoah has pitched like a damn ace this season and tonight was no different. Who cares that he only pitched 35 innings in the minors, a number he eclipsed in seven games in the majors. Who cares that he’s only 23?
His confidence, his composure, his demeanour, Manoah has the making of an ace. 
Walked a guy in the first? Cool, strike out the next two. Springer hit a two-run shot in the Jays’ half of the inning and the game was done, that’s how locked in Manoah was tonight. In the second, he struck out the side with some nasty sliders that should be illegal.
The Jays added more runs giving Manoah the win. In the top of the third, Manoahson literally struck out a guy by hitting him (Vlad just hit a home run as I’m writing this). I call Manoah, Manoahson because in the minors he hit 4 batters while only walking three, very Bob Gibson-like.
In the fourth, he didn’ …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays come out on top after an absolute roller coaster ride with the Orioles

Those are the Baltimore Orioles we know and love. The Blue Jays are back in the win column after a six-run rally in the ninth inning.

Things worth mentioning…
First Inning:
The game started off fun, Semien went yard and then Vlad did the same. Before the game, I bet $5 that Vlad would hit a dinger @4.50. So the extra 17 bucks is much appreciated. Thank you Vlad if you are reading this.
Manoah:
Before the game, I said if Manoah went 6 IP allowing less than four runs and had 7 Ks, I’d shave my head. Unfortunately, Manoah couldn’t do it, meaning Twitter will have to wait until something else happens. Manoah, bless him, didn’t have a great game. However, I have no doubt he’ll bounce back. There are positives from this start, while home runs are bad, he walked only one batter and didn’t give up a hit that didn’t leave the park. He also had 6 Ks, one off his career-high. Alek, if you are reading this, it could be the mechanics, but I assume you’ll watch the tape and throw a perfect game next outing. I have faith in you.
Manoah’s ejection:
Well, …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation