Don’t start calling the Toronto Raptors the Tampa Bay Raptors

Don’t start calling the Toronto Raptors the Tampa Bay Raptors

Like many Canadians, the Toronto Raptors are heading south for the winter. The pandemic has put a damper on many things in our life and not being able to watch the Toronto Raptors at home is one of them. Based on restrictions and being the only NBA team in Canada, it made sense that the […]
Don’t start calling the Toronto Raptors the Tampa Bay Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

Nick Abruzzese is the Leafs 10th ranked prospect

The Toronto Maple Leafs like to acquire players that attend Harvard. First, they drafted Nick Abruzzese in the fourth round in 2019 then later added Alexander Kerfoot from the Colorado Avalanche — both attended the prestigious school.
The 21-year-old dominated in the USHL last year where he had 80 points in 62 games. He followed it up by playing even better at school, where he won the Ivy League’s and ECAC’s Rookie of the Year awards in 2020.
Rank – Grade – NHL Readiness
10TH – B – 2-4 YEARS
Position: Centre
Age: 21
Height: 5’9
Weight: 160 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2019 4th round, 124th overall
What kind of player is he?
The NHL has progressed throughout the years bringing in players who are more skilled and not as big compared to 5-10 years ago. Abruzzese is on the smaller side but if you watch him play, his mind is what brings him to be an excellent player.
He makes everything look easy — whether it’s scoring, making a pass or being wide open for a scoring chance. Abruzzese knows where to be at the right time and if he gets to the NHL, that will be one of the many reasons why.
Looking back at his stats compared to …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

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

Looking at the Leafs competition in an All Canadian Team Division

More and more it seems like there will be an all Canadian team division this season. That could be fun. Canada’s team in Canada’s division, what’s not to love? Well, there might be some stuff, like Oilers fans, Canucks fans, the second hand sadness when the Leafs need to go on the long bus ride to Winnipeg.
As a refresher, here’s how those Canadian teams finished last season:

W
L
OL
PTS
RW
RGREC
RGPT%

EDM
37
25
9
83
31
31-25-15
0.542

TOR
36
25
9
81
28
28-25-17
0.521

WPG
37
28
6
80
30
30-28-13
0.514

VAN
36
27
6
78
27
27-27-15
0.5

CGY
36
27
7
79
25
25-27-18
0.486

MTL
31
31
9
71
19
19-31-21
0.415

OTT
25
34
12
62
18
18-34-19
0.387

At a first glance the main takeaway should be that none of the Canadian teams did particularly well. The Oilers put together the 9th best record in the league last season while playing in a criminally easy division. A division that the Canadian division would inherit three teams from.
Throw in the fact that the Senators were one of the worst teams in hockey, and the Habs made the cutoff for the return to play strictly for the television ratings, and we’re given a division that has maybe two legitimate playoff teams last season (that quickly underperformed in the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs players who have a realistic shot at representing Canada at the 2022 Olympics

It feels like I’m a month removed from being annoyed by TSN and Sportsnet filling time during the draft and free agency discussing their mock rosters for the 2022 Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. Alas, there are no more draft picks, free agents, or trades incoming at the moment, so it’s time that I too take a trip to that content well, and consider what Leafs could be representing their country at the Olympics.
Rather than start with the international players and work towards Canada, it seems much more fitting to kick this off with the country most of our readership will be excited about. Latvia. Canada. And while the Leafs haven’t been fond of drafting Canadians in the past couple of seasons, there are a number of Canadians on the Leafs, and many of them play at a high enough level to be considered.

So both Craig Button and Mike Johnson weighed in with their rosters, and to the joy of Leafs fans it appears that both Morgan Rielly and Mitch Marner would be on their Team Canada rosters. And why shouldn’t they be, statistically the case for both of them is sound.
Morgan Rielly …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six name Gary Soper as assistant coach for inaugural season

It looks like the Toronto Six have hired their first assistant coach.

NEWS: We have named Gary Soper as an assistant coach for the upcoming season
Gary is a Hockey Canada scout and a former Whitby Jr Wolves head coach.
: https://t.co/heASTPTdxG pic.twitter.com/CKeSaeQAWl
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) October 29, 2020

Soper joins Head Coach and President, Digit Murphy, on the bench for their inaugural season in the NWHL.
“This is a great opportunity to get involved with the first NWHL team in Canada,” Said Soper on the Six’s Website. “I am confident with the ownership and the entire management team on their commitment to developing professional female hockey in Canada.”
The newly hired assistant coach spent five years, from 2009 to 2014, with the Whitby Jr. Wolves and led the team to two straight PWHL championships. He’s also been a regional scout in the GTA for Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Program since 2013.
“Gary brings an invaluable wealth of hockey knowledge to the Six,” said President and Head Coach, Digit Murphy, “As a Hockey Canada scout, he has watched many of our players develop over the years and will bring insight into how to maximize the talent …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs prospects looking to shine at the World Juniors this Christmas

It looks like Edmonton will be back for Hub City 2: Electric Boogaloo.
A Hockey Canada press release announces the tournament will get underway on Christmas Day, a day early than the usual Boxing Day start:
For the first time since 2005, the IIHF World Junior Championship, a holiday hockey tradition, will get underway on Christmas Day. Three games highlight the opening-day schedule before Canada’s National Junior Team begins defence of its gold medal against Germany on Boxing Day.
Hockey Canada and the host committee, on behalf of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), unveiled the full tournament schedule Monday. All 28 games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alta., from Dec. 25, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021.
While most Leafs fans will default to cheering for Canada, there’s little doubt that our eyes should be elsewhere as well. The Leafs representation in the tournament is going to be decidedly Finnish and Russian, and while Nick Robertson could be the big focal point, Bob McKenzie is hinting that he might not be attending…

Zegras stayed in ANA to work out/skate there as did Kaliyev in LA and Robertson in TOR. Turcotte is in Germany, where he’s been assigned to play by …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Can the Blue Jays fix Robbie Ray?

For a team that has struggled on defence like the Blue Jays have, getting a strikeout pitcher like Robbie Ray should be a great add. Ray has struck out 12.48 batters per nine this season, his fourth consecutive season over 12 K/9. Though any pressure Ray takes off the defence with strikeouts he gives right back with walks. When you walk a batter an inning like Ray has, you put a ton of pressure on the defence behind you to turn two and make plays. There is little room for error.
It wasn’t that long ago Ray was a really strong pitcher. He was an all-star in 2017 and from ’17-19 he ranked fifth in baseball striking out 31.9% of hitters.
To get Ray back to where he was a couple years ago, the first thing the Blue Jays need to do is get his mechanics under control. Walks have always been a problem throughout Ray’s career. In an effort to improve his command he changed his diet, coming into Spring Training 15 pounds lighter and changed his mechanics trying to be more fluid.
The difference in mechanics is striking:

Robbie Ray 2020 vs. 2019.
Arm Action. pic.twitter.com/KOugMidSt1
— …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Should the Leafs Ditch Marner?

It felt like a match made in heaven.
The Leafs then-Assistant GM Mark Hunter walked up to the podium at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and clumsily said “I’m proud to announce, from the London Knights, Mitch Marner.”
To many the pick was no surprise, both due to Hunter’s familiarity with Marner from his time with the Knights, and also due to Marner being a kid from the Toronto area who grew up a Leafs fan. Marner had just finished toying with the Ontario Hockey League to the tune of 126 points in 63 games in the regular season, followed up by 16 points in 7 games in the playoffs. Those who watched the highlights from Marner’s draft and draft+1 year in the OHL saw a player with hockey IQ pouring out of his ears, who was clearly playing at a level far ahead of anyone else at his age.
Marner made the NHL as a 19-year-old, the same year 18-year-old Auston Matthews and 20-year-old William Nylander became full-time Leafs. That first year was magical: powered in huge part by their young stars, the Leafs went from last place overall the prior season to making the playoffs …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Trent Thornton was placed on the Injured List with elbow inflammation

If you like roster moves, today’s your day.

First, the Blue Jays trimmed their roster from 30 players down to 28 players by sending Santiago Espinal and Jacob Waguespack to the Taxi Squad. A few hours later Waguespack was called back up to the Blue Jays as Trent Thornton got placed on the Injured List with elbow inflammation.
The team doesn’t have any plans for Thornton to have an MRI, so it doesn’t look like anything serious. Thornton said that he felt funny during a bullpen session, so the Jays are ultimately just deciding to be cautious with the young righty.
Having Thornton on the IL could also answer the question of where Chase Anderson is going to play when he returns. It’s expected that Anderson will be activated in the coming days, so he could just grab Thornton’s spot in the rotation. We could also see Thomas Hatch and Anthony Kay in a piggyback role again, though that does weaken Charlie Montoyo’s bullpen options.
We’ll see on Sunday what happens as Tanner Roark is scheduled to start in Boston on Friday and Matt Shoemaker will go on …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation