Sam Mitchell has correct take on Raptors’ postseason potential

Sam Mitchell has correct take on Raptors’ postseason potential

The Toronto Raptors are now locked into the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference after just one season in the lottery. Nick Nurse has this team humming despite some lackluster bench depth and injury concerns that had many predicting they would be no more than a play-in team. The Raptors are not going to […]
Sam Mitchell has correct take on Raptors’ postseason potential – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leafs sign Mikko Kokkonen to three-year entry level contract

The Leafs locked up their fourth-round pick from the 2019 draft over the weekend when Nick Abruzzese officially turned pro by signing a two-year entry level contract and on Wednesday, the team announced that they had also signed 2019 third-rounder Mikko Kokkonen to a three-year ELC. Kokkonen’s deal carries an AAV of $846,666.

We’ve signed defenceman Mikko Kokkonen to a three-year entry-level contract beginning in the 2022-23 season. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 30, 2022

Kokkonen spent the 2021-22 Liiga season playing for the Lahti Pelicans organization after playing parts of five seasons with Jukurit’s Liiga club. He has also represented Finland twice at the World Junior Championships and was named one of the top three players for the 2021 bronze medal-winning squad.
Known as a defense-first player, Kokkonen plays a composed and quiet game on the back end. He moves the puck efficiently but hasn’t been much of an offensive driver at the Finnish pro level, placing priority on his defensive responsibilities. Kokkonen defends the rush well but he excels more in defensive zone coverage, boxing out in front of the net and shutting down opposing cycles.
Kokkonen did, however, show off some offensive upside late last season when he joined the Marlies on an ATO after Jukurit’s season ended. After registering 10 points in 50 Liiga contests, he racked up a goal and six assists in just 11 AHL games. It will be interesting to see if that was just a flash in the pan or if it was the result of the Marlies’ coaching staff seeing him as more than just a shutdown defender and giving him the freedom to push for offense.

Mikko Kokkonen opens the scoring with his first AHL goal for the Toronto Marlies. #Leafs #Marlies pic.twitter.com/cJkwPF …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam own Kevin Durant in Raptors loss

Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam own Kevin Durant in Raptors loss

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors locked horns with the Brooklyn Nets in one of the most unusual games you’ll see all year long. While Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam had to carry a team hampered by injuries, Kevin Durant’s Nets had just eight active players due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Even […]
Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam own Kevin Durant in Raptors loss – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Thanks Ken Holland, the Leafs can now afford to re-sign Zach Hyman

Last week, the Edmonton Oilers locked up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a contract extension worth $5.125 million per year over a max-term of eight years with a full no-movement clause. Most members of the Edmonton media and the team’s loyal fanbase see the deal as a win-win. A former 1st-overall draft pick and core member of their team commits the twilight years of his prime to the team that drafted him at a noteworthy discount that will give GM Ken Holland some flexibility to navigate the flat salary cap and attempt to make the Oilers an overall better team.
So the one question that remains is, as always, how does this affect the Leafs?
Well, it’s quite simple, thanks to this contract signing, Ken Holland and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have set the market and in doing so, effectively killed the (mainstream media perpetuated) narrative that Zach Hyman is going to get contract offers in the range of $6 million a year for six years.
Let’s be real here, as much as we all love Zach Hyman and want to see him be rewarded for several years of stellar play (for a player of his skill level), he’s no Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Raptors vs. 76ers Game 5 Thread: Updates, TV info, and more

The Raptors are back in Toronto, the series is locked up at 2-2, and the Sixers are hungry to steal back home court advantage. It’s time for Game 5. Let’s watch. The Raptors did the thing they were supposed to do. They got the series back to 2-2, and kept the hopes and dreams of their season alive. Should they have been blown out in Game 3? Should they have even lost Game 2? Should we be here right now in this situation heading into Game 5? Let’s take these answers one at a time — and in the process, assess our mood right now.
First, the Game 3 question. Yes, the Raptors were due for one big game in front of the home crowd from Joel Embiid. The Sixers centre has been that guy all year, and throughout his career. Embiid lives for those big moments in front of his adoring fans and knows just how to play up to them. Heading into the series, I figured Toronto would shrink in one of either Games 3 or 4, and it happened just that way.
But Game 2, well, Toronto should have won that one. How do I know this? Because Game 4 was instructive in how …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ