Nylanderthals! – Rate That Leafs Game

I would like to first off congratulate Michael Hutchinson on his first win this season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 34 of 37 saves for the net-minder who was traded to Colorado last year is pretty good and honestly, I’m happy he’s back.
He wasn’t the story in this game though (there were a few). I’ll start off with Auston Matthews who has 16 goals in 17 games and is riding a 15-game point streak, which is bananas. Mitch Marner also had a phenomenal game and we’re lucky to see both of Matthews and Marner on the same team.
Joe Thornton is next on the list. He had three points in this game and actually set a record (watch the video to find out). Overall, this was the perfect game that the Leafs could’ve came back with. Although there were some close calls they got the win and are still in first place in the entire NHL.
Oh, and if you didn’t know — according to Anthony Stewart, we who like William Nylander are now labelled as ‘Nylanderthals’!
I hope you enjoy my video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Galchenyuk a Leaf, Granlund a target, and a possible goaltending upgrade

Nothing kills a weekly rumours column like having a trade the night before. Not a whole lot to speculate on when the Leafs have actually done some adding. The Leafs were in the market for a top six winger, and depending on how loose your definition is of top six winger, that’s what they acquired in Alex Galchenyuk. Though that’s leaning heavily into the pre 2019-20 part of Alex’s resume. In a much more accurate sense the Leafs acquired someone who if he finds his game, he could be a top six winger, maybe even a center, although that has never gone well for Galchenyuk. In reality the Leafs acquired the modern day Richard Panik, which isn’t a bad thing, but it likely wasn’t the move the Leafs are truly exploring.
Mikael Granlund and others
Via Spectors Hockey:
Friedman didn’t elaborate but the consensus around the league suggests Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund fits the description. He could become available if the Predators continue to struggle. The winger signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Predators. Mirtle indicated the Leafs had an interest in him during the offseason but lacked the cap space to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Where do the Maple Leafs go from here? – Rate That Leafs Game

Every year something like this happens. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a massive lead and then they blow it. Maybe it’s good that it happened this early into the season, right?
I don’t want that question to be answered.
The only thing I want right now is for the Maple Leafs to show us that they’re not this team. To show us that they’re better than giving up a four-goal lead to one of the NHL’s worst teams. If they prove us wrong, it’ll be amazing.
If they don’t — I’m ready to yell, scream and throw chairs like I almost do in this one. I hope you enjoy the video.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Thornton returning, Sabourin dressing, and interesting names on waivers

Today didn’t seem like a particularly lazy Sunday for the Leafs today, as they have made some significant changes to their lineup following their disappointing collapse against Montreal, and heading into a three game series with the Sens, who on paper are terrible, but on ice somehow manage to step up against the Leafs.

#Leafs lines at practice:
Thornton-Matthews-Marner Hyman-Tavares-NylanderMikheyev-Kerfoot-EngvallVesey-Spezza-Sabourin
Rielly-Brodie Muzzin-HollDermott-Bogosian Marincin-Lehtonen
AndersenHutchinson
SRS: Petan, Boyd, Barabanov
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 14, 2021

So that’s different. We see Thornton back on the ice, and with his opening night linemates in Matthews and Marner. The three of them were beginning to click at the time of Thornton’s departure, and seeing what they can do together again seems like a decent idea.
Hyman joining the Tavares and Nylander line is pretty great as well, given that neither Vesey or Mikheyev had anything to offer in their limited time with the second line.
The third line reabsorbs Mikheyev, but remains an uninspired collection of players who serve to remind us that forwards don’t always equal offence.
And the fourth line features Jimmy Vesey who should be in danger of falling out of the lineup following another performance like the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

More Transactions: Derek Fisher DFA’d, Joe Panik returns on a minor-league deal, and Ken Giles signs in Seattle

If you like transactions, no matter the magnitude, the last 24-ish hours were very exciting.

First, the Blue Jays put an end to the Shun Yamaguchi experiment, designating him for assignment and ultimately opting to eat a little over $3,000,000 in order to open up some more roster flexibility. Yamaguchi had a clause in his deal in which he could reject an assignment to the minors, making him a bit of an anchor on the roster.
In a corresponding move, the team claimed pitcher Joel Payamps off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox. Payamps has some pretty solid numbers over his minor-league career. In 2019, he posted a 3.89 ERA with the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A team over 15 starts. In four big-league appearances, all as a reliever, Payamps has allowed three earned runs over seven innings.
Given the Blue Jays’ bevy of starters slated to pitch in Buffalo and push for gigs on the Blue Jays, I would imagine that Payamps is going to be used as a reliever. He can also still be optioned, so he could remain stretched out in Triple-A. Regardless, having that flexibility makes him a better fit on the roster than Yamaguchi.
After all of that, the team inked …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays sign David Phelps, DFA Shun Yamaguchi

It looks like the Shun Yamaguchi era is over.

The Blue Jays designated the swingman for assignment on Wednesday night and announced that they had claimed Joel Payamps off of waivers from the Red Sox.

ROSTER MOVE: We’ve claimed RHP Joel Payamps off waivers from the Red Sox.
To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Shun Yamaguchi has been designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/SLpYEjaglg
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 11, 2021

Ending the Yamaguchi experiment isn’t all that big of a surprise. He had a rough time in 2020, posting a 8.06 ERA over 17 appearances, and while there’s some hope he could rebound in a normal season with a normal spring training, the fact Yamaguchi can reject an assignment to the minors makes him a difficult obstacle on the 40-man roster.
I can’t imagine anybody will claim Yamaguchi and take on his $3,175,000 salary, so the Blue Jays are more than likely going to be on the hook for that.

As @Feinsand reports, #BlueJays have signed right-handed reliever David Phelps to a big-league deal, per source. They’ll be making another roster move this afternoon.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) February 11, 2021

And, on Thursday morning, the Joel Payamps era came …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Ilya Mikheyev scores first goal of the season in Leafs win – Rate That Leafs Game

It really feels like we’re on top of the world, doesn’t it?
The Toronto Maple Leafs win yet again. This time defeating the second-best team in the North Division — the Montreal Canadiens. I’d say this was one of the tougher games the Maple Leafs have had this season and that was expected.
Josh Anderson scored first for the Canadiens before Toronto would score three-straight from Travis Dermott, Justin Holl and Ilya Mikheyev. Frederik Andersen had a shaky start, but finished the game smoothly. Auston Matthews continued his dominance, but not in scoring goals as the 23-year-old has points in 11th-straight games. Even Jake Muzzin wanted in on the action tallying three assists.
The Maple Leafs play Montreal again on Saturday, so you better be ready. I definitely am.
Here’s my latest video — discussing this game and what the Maple Leafs should do going forward. I hope you enjoy (and subscribe too).

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Marcus Semien to a one-year deal

It looks like the Blue Jays have found their infielder.

According to *checks notes* 1990s All-Star infielder Carlos Baerga, the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year deal with Marcus Semien worth $18 million.

Yes please! Hope it’s true. https://t.co/fN5veh8Xj8 pic.twitter.com/zTkfVuxKgJ
— Brendon K (@_bkuh_) January 26, 2021

And then here’s Jeff Passan confirming the report…

Infielder Marcus Semien is in agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays on a one-year, $18 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 26, 2021

Interesting! As we know, the Blue Jays have a pretty glaring need in the infield. There are questions about both Bo Bichette and Vlad Jr. at shortstop and third base respectively, more so with the latter than the former.
Semien isn’t a great shortstop, but he’s a better glove at third than Vlad, and he could also fit nicely at second, which would open the team up to shuffling Cavan Biggio around the diamond as a super-utility guy.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Semien and why he would be a worthwhile buy-low option (and that’s exactly what this one-year contract ended up being)…
In 2019, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Grading Nick Nurse after first month of the season

Raptors: Grading Nick Nurse after first month of the season

The Toronto Raptors looked like they were destined for a major regression in 2020-21, as Nick Nurse couldn’t get his troops to muster the same effort on both sides of the floor as they did in 2019-20. Given the looming COVID-19 pandemic forcing them to relocate to Tampa in addition to the loss of both […]
Raptors: Grading Nick Nurse after first month of the season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs without Matthews tonight, and Thornton to miss a month

Yesterday it seemed like it was just going to be a maintenance day for Auston Matthews. He was a little sore when he took the ice for practice, left early, and rather than reshuffling the lines, Adam Brooks took his place between Jimmy Vesey and Mitch Marner. The fact that Marner hadn’t been shuffled onto either the Tavares or Kerfoot line kept me calm for the past twenty four hours. This morning it’s hitting a bit different…

Sheldon Keefe confirms Auston Matthews it OUT tonight for #Leafs vs. Oilers. Upper body soreness. Day-to-day.
Joe Thornton has a rib fracture, will miss at least a month.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 22, 2021

Now in a 56 game season there will be injuries, and rather than Matthews playing and aggravating what’s causing the soreness, taking a game or two to recover doesn’t seem like the end of the world. It would be nice to see an honest matchup between McDavid and Matthews after the boring outing on Wednesday night, but luckily we’ll get seven more opportunities this year.
It will be interesting to see what the Leafs new lines look like tonight, but my guess is we see Marner …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation