Maple Leafs changed a few narratives in their Game 5 win against Tampa, now they have to change the one that matters the most

It was looking like it was going to be another one of those nights. If you are a frequent reader of this site, you know the feeling.
The Toronto Maple Leafs allowed two goals on the first four shots of the game, but erased that deficit with tallies from John Tavares, Morgan Rielly, William Nylander and John Tavares as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 take a 3-2 series lead in their first-round series.
Through the first four games between these clubs, the team that scored first had gone on to win each game. There were also no lead changes in any of those games.
So when the Lightning scored a pair of early goals from Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, things looked pretty grim for Toronto.
They went into the intermission down 2-0 and were badly outplayed in the first 20 minutes. They were outshot 14–4 and Tampa had a 78 percent of the 5-on-5 score-and-venue adjusted expected goals share of 78 percent per NaturalStatTrick.com.
That’s when Jason Spezza took it upon himself to deliver a speech to players in the dressing room to help lift his team’s spirit.
“More along the words that it wasn’t good enough,” Nylander paraphrased of Spezza’s message. “We just need to get going and battling and skating.”
It wa …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Leafs send Alex Biega to Nashville

Not exactly the breaking news anyone is looking for, but Alex Biega is on the move.

Biega to Nashville.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 21, 2022

The Leafs seemed like they were looking to move some of the Marlies defensemen, namely Menell and Duszak, but those deals are yet to materialize.
The return on Biega still isn’t known, but it is likely this move is about freeing up a contract space as the Leafs were getting close to the 50 max. That could prevent them from signing either Matthew Knies or Nick Abruzesse once their NCAA seasons come to a close. Or you know, they might be trying to make other deals today.
If you are expecting more than Future Considerations or a conditional seventh, prepare to be disappointed.
Biega played two games for the Leafs and was a -2 in those games. He averaged 13 minutes a night.
Goodbye Alex Biega. We’ll always remember that you were briefly here.
UPDATE:
It’s now being reported that it is indeed future considerations that the Leafs are receiving for Biega. I’d still say they came out on top in this move.

**Breaking News**
Alex Biega to @PredsNHL from @MapleLeafs for Future Considerations. @espn @NHLNetwork @TSNHockey #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) March 21, 2022


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Should the Blue Jays sign Michael Conforto?

It’s safe to say that the Blue Jays are looking to acquire a left handed hitting outfielder. 

There were reports that they were looking into both Kyle Schwarber and Eddie Rosario. Furthermore, former Blue Jay, Corey Dickerson also fit that bill, but he signed with the Cardinals a few days ago.
Joc Pederson, who is not a French Canadian, also signed elsewhere, leaving the Blue Jays options thin in terms of signable players that fit their needs. The one big named player left is Michael Conforto.
His bat: 
Of course, we’ll split this into two sections, his bat and his defense. Unlike Ketel Marte’s article, there isn’t much to talk about when it comes to Conforto’s defense. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
Conforto’s best seasons:
Aside from being a human being, Conforto is a 29-year-old corner outfielder who bats left handed, one of the Blue Jays’ most pressing needs. In his 2980 plate appearances, he has hit 132 dingers and has a career slash line of .255/.356/.824. He has a career walk rate of 12.3% with a career strikeout rate of 23.8%.
His best seasons came between 2017 and 2020, where he slashed .265/.369/.864 where he posted 97 of his 132 home runs in 1959 plate appearances. He had a K% of 24.4% with a BB% of 12.7%, a pretty solid rate considering the amount of home runs he hit.
His best season in terms of wRC+ (excluding the COVID-shortened 2020) was in 2017, where he posted a wRC+ of 147 in his 440 plate appearances. This included 27 homers while slashing .279/.384/.939. Conforto also had a notable 2019, where he slashed .257/.363/.856, but hit a career high 33 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

It would need to be a huge return for the Leafs to consider trading Liljegren

The Maple Leafs are looking to make a big splash at the trade deadline with Jake Muzzin being placed on long-term injured reserve.
Toronto’s reportedly looking for two pieces — a top-six forward and someone who can likely fill Muzzin’s role on the second pairing. Both of those trades might require a bigger piece going the other way for the Maple Leafs, and will be difficult to do.
But who will be the player on the move from Toronto?
When looking at potential pieces that Kyle Dubas might have to give up, you have the usuals. A lot has been discussed about sending prospects, such as Matthew Knies, Topi Niemela, or Nick Robertson to another team. There’s even been chatter of Toronto trying to move Travis Dermott or Justin Holl (which I think is more likely).
One player that hasn’t been in many rumours, though, is Timothy Liljegren.
For as long as I can remember, Liljegren’s name has been one that’s in reports, but teams have never considered him in a trade. I think when you look at the potential he had prior to being drafted and the lack of NHL games (until now), Toronto was hesitant to move him. I’d say other NHL teams weren’t sure about his ceiling either.
But …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Who will the Toronto Raptors take?

2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Who will the Toronto Raptors take?

It’s never too early to start looking ahead to the 2022 NBA Draft, as teams will always be trying to add that next franchise-changer. Rebuilding teams like the Detroit Pistons and play-in contenders like the Toronto Raptors will both look to add players that can reinvent the organization. This draft is widely starting to be […]
2022 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Who will the Toronto Raptors take? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Scenes from Leafs gameday: Jason Spezza ready for meaningful 1200th NHL game vs. Ducks

The Leafs are looking to pull off the West Coast sweep for the first time since they were last there in 2018. The final game is tonight vs. the Anaheim Ducks.
Sheldon Keefe, yesterday, made some early decisions on who will and will not play. Kyle Clifford and Travis Dermott are in for Kirill Semyonov and Timothy Liljegren. Ondřej Kaše will also miss his second-straight game with an upper-body injury.
This will be Clifford’s first game since the Leafs re-acquired him less than two weeks ago.
“He’s a competitor, he skates well for a guy low in your lineup that’s gonna keep his feet moving, bring energy, be physical.” Keefe said Saturday about bringing Clifford into the Leafs lineup. “He’s a good presence on the bench and in the dressing room. Just to keep guys even-keel, he’s not the most loud or vocal guy, but he’s very good at talking to players, like the guy next to him, guy in the dressing room. With those kind of things, he’s got a calming influence that way. I like that about him. He’s just a pro.”
Jack Campbell starts tonight for the Leafs …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Is Justin Champagnie earning a role in the rotation?

Toronto Raptors: Is Justin Champagnie earning a role in the rotation?

The Toronto Raptors are looking for anyone that is willing to step and assert themselves in what looks likes a very fluid rotation, and they aren’t excluding undrafted free agent Justin Champagnie from that mission. The Raptors might’ve used their three selections in the 2021 NBA Draft on some studs with potential on both ends […]
Toronto Raptors: Is Justin Champagnie earning a role in the rotation? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Toronto Raptors’ brand new team identity: The “Run-N-Fun”

The Toronto Raptors’ brand new team identity: The “Run-N-Fun”

When looking at the teams of old that were so iconic, so unique, that they warranted a nickname of their own, you may think that they need to be one of the most devastating teams in basketball history. Phi Slama Jama, The Bad Boy Pistons, The Showtime Lakers, etc. By that metric, Scottie Barnes and 2021-22 Toronto […]
The Toronto Raptors’ brand new team identity: The “Run-N-Fun” – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Masai Ujiri building 100 courts in Africa is heartwarming

Raptors: Masai Ujiri building 100 courts in Africa is heartwarming

The NBA has been looking to expand the game beyond North America and Europe over the last few seasons, and they’ve been identifying Africa as a place wherein interest could explode. In addition to his day job helping the Toronto Raptors remain successful, Masai Ujiri has played an integral role in this venture. Ujiri has […]
Raptors: Masai Ujiri building 100 courts in Africa is heartwarming – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors: Ben Simmons likely out in Philly, Toronto hasn’t “appealed”

Raptors: Ben Simmons likely out in Philly, Toronto hasn’t “appealed”

While the Toronto Raptors have been looking to retool their roster in order to get back to the postseason following their Tampa sabbatical, the Philadelphia 76ers have been trying to offload All-Star point guard Ben Simmons, as his horrendous playoff performance raised questions about his potential on a team with championship aspirations. While the former […]
Raptors: Ben Simmons likely out in Philly, Toronto hasn’t “appealed” – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ