Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry

Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry is in the final year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors, and they’ll have to think about his future as a Raptor. Now that Giannis Antetokounmpo has officially signed the super-max extension to stay in Milwaukee, the Toronto Raptors have a lot of questions not only heading into this upcoming season but […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hani Salehi / Raptors HQ

Staturday Weekly Column #4: 2020-21 Leafs Roster Improvements by Goals Above Replacement Model

Kyle Dubas went into this offseason with a ‘no holds barred’ mandate of getting this team over the hump in this upcoming season. Using short-term contracts to veterans, low-cost contracts to the team’s young RFAs, and new contracts to exciting European talent, the Leafs’ roster appears to have improved significantly. We’re ever so close to seeing this new team in action, so it’s gotten me curious to see the significance of these transactions.
To answer the question of “how significant?”, we can use the Goals Above Replacement model developed by EvolvingHockey that we discussed in an earlier edition of Staturday.
Basically, EvolvingHockey put a bunch of statistics into a box, and figured out how many goals that would be worth, relative to what a “replacement level” player (i.e. a call-up from the minors just filling in) could do.
As a manager, Kyle Dubas will be hoping that each of his players has a positive Goals Above Replacement (GAR) season in 2021. But we don’t just have to hope; we can actually attempt to predict whether this will happen or not.
See, EvolvingHockey also developed an Expected Goals Above Replacement (xGAR) model to predict the results of …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs prospects Kokkonen, Hirvonen, and Niemela named to Finland’s preliminary World Juniors roster

Kyle Dubas and the Leafs’ scouting staff have zeroed in on Finland in recent years, selecting six Fins over the course of the last two NHL drafts. When Finland announced their preliminary roster for the upcoming World Junior Championships on Friday morning, three of those draft picks found their names on the list.

Finland’s preliminary WJC roster has been announced. pic.twitter.com/dr2uyQAndG
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) December 4, 2020

Mikko Kokkonen, selected in the third round of the 2019 draft, represented Finland in last year’s tournament and it is expected that he will be a part of the team’s leadership group while playing the role of shutdown defenseman as he does for Jukurit in Liiga. Through 18 games with Jukrit this season, Kokkonen has registered three assists while leading the team in ice time and maintaining their best shot share numbers as well. He came in 8th on TLN’s Prospect Rankings countdown this week:
Mikko Kokkonen is the Leafs 8th ranked prospect

The Leafs traded down from the 44th pick in the 2020 draft, landing Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela at 59th and 64th overall, respectively. Hirvonen has been hot as of late, and is now up to five goals …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Roni Hirvonen is the Leafs 12th ranked prospect

To no one’s surprise, Kyle Dubas traded down in the 2020 NHL draft by using the Leafs 44th to acquire the 59th and the 64th overall pick. With the 59th pick, the Leafs drafted Finnish forward, Roni Hirvonen. The TLN consensus ranked Hirvonen in 12th amongst Leafs prospects. I personally was the highest on Hirvonen as I ranked him 6th. For what it’s worth, I strongly considered having him at number five over Mikhail Abramov and could see Hirvonen making that jump into the top five Leaf prospects in my rankings in the future.
After seeing the Leafs hit (what certainly seems to be) a home run with their 2019 second-round pick, Nick Robertson, the expectations for Hirvonen (the Leafs 2020 second-round pick)might be higher than usual. The Leafs are proving that second-round picks are valuable and even though Hirvonen might not progress as fast as Robertson, I do think he has a bright future ahead of him.
Rank – Grade – NHL Readiness
12TH – C – 2-4 YEARS
Position: C
Age: 18
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2020 2nd round, 59th overall
What kind of player is he?
Like many of the Leafs prospects, Hirvonen’s overall hockey IQ is what drives his game. …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

Mac Hollowell is the Leafs 13th ranked prospect

In Kyle Dubas’ final OHL draft, with his 2nd to last pick, he selected Mac Hollowell. He was only 5’8″ and 169 lbs when the Greyhounds snagged him 237th overall, but he would wind up cracking the OHL the season after he was drafted.
When it came time for Hollowell’s NHL draft in 2017, his name was not called. The diminutive defenceman was struggling to get top 4 minutes thanks to the deep roster Dubas left behind when he joined the Leafs. It wasn’t until the 2017-18 OHL season when Hollowell started turning heads, assuming a larger role for the Greyhounds while Rasmus Sandin and Conor Timmins were at the World Juniors or injured.
Kyle Dubas was handed the Leafs reins ahead of the 2018 draft, and he made short work of acquiring the Greyhound’s two top scoring defencemen. The Leafs selected Sandin 29th overall, and Hollowell 118th overall. It’s worth noting that Hollowell was projected closer to the 6th round, but the Leafs took him in the 4th. Not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Dubas shows his confidence in the evasive RD.
RANK – GRADE – NHL READINESS
Position: RD
Age: 22
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2018 4th …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is the Leafs 14th ranked prospect

The Leafs selected SDA in the 3rd round in 2018, Kyle Dubas’ first draft as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. SDA came with an odd amount of hype right off the bat, as many prospect gurus were quick to point out that he was a small, skilled player that had a chance at being a high-end skilled player, or having almost no shot at all, quite similar to Jeremy Bracco when he was drafted in 2015. Bracco didn’t work out, but SDA still has plenty of years in him to show that he can be an impact player.
His play since has been somewhat inconsistent, a big part as to why this hype has since gone down a bit. His draft +1 season was disappointing, but he also followed it up with a stellar 2019-20 season playing alongside fellow Leafs prospect Nick Robertson. He’s likely to be staying in Russia where he’s currently playing, but there’s a chance he could end up coming back to North America and play somewhere in the Leafs system once the season resumes, either with the Newfoundland Growlers or the Toronto Marlies, so his first full professional season might be the most important …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: considering Malachi Flynn

Toronto Raptors: considering Malachi Flynn

The Toronto Raptors have an aging Kyle Lowry and uncertainty with free agency looming with Fred VanVleet at the point guard spot. Malachi Flynn of San Diego State University could be the team’s future at the point guard position. The Toronto Raptors possess two of the best point guards in the NBA today. Kyle Lowry […]
Toronto Raptors: considering Malachi Flynn – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

A Halloween edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ newest signings

Kyle Dubas has been busy over the last couple of days working to get two players signed to contracts. One is Joey Anderson, who was the other piece in the Andreas Johnsson trade. The other was Michael Hutchinson, who most recently was on the Colorado Avalanche, playing playoff hockey.
Are the signings good and what do they mean for the future of the Maple Leafs? Well, both likely won’t be on the Leafs unless Anderson makes it next season. Hutchinson will likely be sent down to the Toronto Marlies and will play there next season, if there is one.
These are two interesting signings though. And here’s why (Happy Halloween!):

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

What scares you the most about the Leafs?

There’s a good possibility that Kyle Dubas has a sense humour and thought that bringing back Michael Hutchinson the day before Halloween would scare Leafs fans. I think it did, only when we realized that when there’s three NHL goaltenders between him and the net that there was nothing to be afraid of.
Though that doesn’t mean there aren’t other frightening things about the Leafs at the moment, so we asked our panel of experts to share what scares them about the Leafs.
Nick Richard
The Leafs roster was decidedly not scary last season and while they’ve addressed that to some extent with additions like Wayne Simmonds and Zack Bogosian, I’m still still concerned about how much of that “dog” mentality can be developed by the core of this team. Having those guys will certainly add an element that this team was missing but it will be all for naught if the big guns can’t become tougher to play against as well. That doesn’t mean Nylander and Marner have to fight or throw big hits, but it does mean they need to have some more push back when teams lean on them …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: All 3 possible outcomes for Kyle Lowry this season

Toronto Raptors: All 3 possible outcomes for Kyle Lowry this season

Kyle Lowry is entering the one-year deal of his contract and the Toronto Raptors have to decide what they’ll want to do with him this season. Before you say anything, yes, I love Lowry and wouldn’t want to trade him for anything. His number will be on a banner one day and he is the […]
Toronto Raptors: All 3 possible outcomes for Kyle Lowry this season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ