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

Ranking All of the Reverse Retro Jerseys

The NHL has spent the last week teasing their new Reverse Retro theme around the league, and with them finally being unveiled today, the internet surprisingly loves and hates every jersey.
So with that, I’ve decided to rank every jersey based on it’s looks and how well it matches the Reverse Retro theme. Who better to do a ranking on something about fashion than me, someone who’s wardrobe mostly consists of band or meme t-shirts, jeans, and cargo shorts? I’ll put them into tiers to separate them out a bit, but this will also be a true countdown, don’t worry.
 
Disgusting (the insult)
31. New York Islanders
They literally picked a more boring shade of blue than what they had on their already boring jerseys. Like, either use the current jerseys with the fisherman logo, or use the current logo with an all orange jersey, those were their only plays.
But hey, if anything sums up the Lou Lamoriello era of Islanders history, it’s a bad jersey that is also super boring to look at.
30. Detroit Red Wings
Look, the Wings (and the Leafs) were in a tough spot with this one because they only …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Ross Atkins says the Blue Jays were “close on another deal” this week

The Blue Jays kicked off their off-season last weekend by inking Robbie Ray to a one-year deal.

According to general manager Ross Atkins, the team was also close to executing another deal shortly after that signing.

#BlueJays have been busy early. Signed Robbie Ray & per GM Ross Atkins “have actually been close on another deal.” Asked whether it was a trade or free agent, Atkins declined to say.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 12, 2020

As Ben Nicholson-Smith notes, Atkins declined to mention whether this was a trade or a free agent. Let’s put on our detective hats and try to figure out who it might have been.
Given how the market is moving along like a glacier, it’s pretty unlikely that the Blue Jays and somebody else were close to pulling the trigger on a trade, so we can pretty safely assume that it was a free agent the team was closing in on.
Eight players have agreed to contracts so far this off-season. There’s Ray, who signed with the Jays, Kendall Graveman, Josh Harrison, and Mike Tomlin, who are also sticking around with their teams, Jose Peraza and Mallex Smith, who inked minor-league deals, and Marcus Stroman …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pundits are predicting a big off-season for the Blue Jays (and, honestly, anything less would be a disappointment)

The last week of activity has painted a very clear picture of what this off-season landscape is going to look like across Major League Baseball.

To put it bluntly — teams are going to be cheap.
This, of course, is a reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams lost a whole bunch of money last year because games weren’t played in front of live audiences so nobody bought tickets or hot dogs or merchandise at games. There’s also a good chance that fans won’t be at games next season either.
So, after taking a hit in 2020 and planning to take yet another hit in 2021, most owners aren’t going to be interested in committing major dollars to payroll this winter. Simple math.
In the first week of off-season madness, we’ve seen moves that indicate a very frugal winter.
The Oakland A’s didn’t qualify either Liam Hendriks or Marcus Semien. The risk of having to commit to paying either player the $19 million qualification salary in 2021 was enough of a deterrent for the A’s to let two very good players walk to free agency without any draft pick compensation attached to them at all.
The A’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

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

Ross Atkins says the Blue Jays are open to adding a “super high impact” player. Who might that be?

Last week, Ross Atkins talked to the media about where the organization is headed after the team’s successful 2020 season.

Had this year been normal, the goal would have been for the team to play near-.500 ball and take a step forward towards opening its contention window. The Blue Jays, of course, made the playoffs with a 32-28 record thanks to this year’s expanded post-season format and this young group got a much-needed taste of meaningful, competitive baseball.
So, what’s next? According to Atkins, it looks like the organization is poised to make another major off-season splash.
“I think we are in a position where we could add to this team with talent that is condensed in one player and a super high impact,” Atkins said. “We got to the point last year where we felt like the team was competitive enough to move towards winning, and that was a big part of that decision. We’re going to continue to think about how we can build upon this group, and hopefully it’s both complementary as well as making as making a really high impact.
“We need to think about that not just for 2021, but beyond that …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs and Greyhounds, Draft BFFs?

Last year was a quiet draft on the Soo front. No new Greyhounds. A very different story from Kyle Dubas’ first draft as GM where he traded down to select Rasmus Sandin in the first round, and went with overager Mac Hollowell in the fourth round. Both of those picks seem to be solid so far as Sandin is on the verge of making the Leafs roster, and Hollowell has steadily been progressing through his first pro year. There is something to be said for familiarity. The fact that Kyle Dubas can put trust in the organization that is developing the Leafs prospects is significant.
That being said, the Greyhounds need to have players worth drafting, and this year they certainly have a few worth considering.
Ryan O’Rourke-D
O’Rourke is a left shooting defenseman slated for the late first round, but much more likely, the second round. O’Rourke’s size, mean streak, and stay at home play check a lot of boxes for what the Leafs could use down the road, a possible Muzzin replacement in a few years, but alas, trading down for O’Rourke isn’t going to be a popular move in a deep …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 things the Leafs need to do to become Stanley Cup contenders

Last year’s season was an unexpected one. Newly acquired Tyson Barrie didn’t pan out, there were a ton of injuries and the Leafs were a very inconsistent hockey team.
But there’s a list of requirements that Kyle Dubas needs to hit to make sure Toronto is ready to go for next season, as well as the playoffs.
Dubas said he wasn’t done making trades and that’s one place he needs to be perfect in, if he wants success next year. There’s also a few other things on his to-do list, but you have to watch the video to find out.

 

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Jake Allen got traded to Montreal — How Does This Affect The Leafs?

The Leafs made a big trade last week, effectively stealing the spotlight from the playoffs by dealing Kasperi Kapanen to the Penguins. The Canadiens then decided they should do the same thing.

The Habs and Blues hooked up on a deal that sends goaltender Jake Allen to Montreal in exchange for a couple of draft picks.

Canadiens acquire Jake Allen and a 7th-round pick in 2022 from the Blues in return for a 3rd- and 7th-round pick in 2020.
https://t.co/eREQ5RDOI0
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) September 2, 2020

At a glance, this is kind of a hilarious move for the Habs because they now have roughly $15 million tied into their goaltending duo.
If Allen is as good as he was in 2019-20 — he posted a .927 save percentage over 24 regular-season games and a .935 save percentage over five appearances in the playoffs — then this certainly gives Montreal a very, very good goaltending tandem. But, still, it’s pretty wild to see a team acquire a backup with a $4,350,000 cap hit when they already have $10,500,000 tied into their starting goalie.
Anyways, enough about the Habs. The real interesting part of this deal is the aforementioned cap hit.
In making …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

The Daniel Vogelbach era has seemingly come to an end

That didn’t last long.

We learned earlier today that Sam Gaviglio and Brandon Drury were designated for assignment in order to open up room on the roster for the new trade deadline day additions, but, it turns out that Daniel Vogelbach is also on the way out.

#BlueJays announce that Ray and Villar will be active for tonight’s game. Drury/Gaviglio DFA’d, as we already knew, and Waguespack has been optioned to the alternate training site.
— Gregor Chisholm (@GregorChisholm) September 1, 2020

 
Vogelbach was acquired from the Marlines for cash just last week. He got five plate appearances as a Blue Jay and managed to get on base in just one of them. There was really no way that he, Vlad Jr., Rowdy Tellez could co-exist on a roster.
Robbie Ray’s spot on the 40-man opened up when Travis Bergen was sent out the other way and Gaviglio and Drury getting DFA’d opened up room for Stripling and Villar. Before that, Thomas Pannone was DFA’s for Vogelbach, and Trent Thornton was moved to the 60-day Injured List to make room for Taijuan Walker.
But I’m not 100 percent sure about DFAing …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation