Toronto Raptors: Khem Birch likely headed to Toronto as Magic plan to waive him

Toronto Raptors: Khem Birch likely headed to Toronto as Magic plan to waive him

The Toronto Raptors have been looking for center help all season long due to the poor production of Aron Baynes, and they might’ve just found an answer in the form of a native Canadian. With the Orlando Magic starting to rebuild, it looks like center Khem Birch, who was born in Montreal, has played his […]
Toronto Raptors: Khem Birch likely headed to Toronto as Magic plan to waive him – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Three Stars: Battle of the Goaltenders

The Leafs entered tonight’s game looking to extend their division lead over the Winnipeg Jets by five points (They got it to four points which is good enough).
Unlike last game, the Leafs and Jets were scoreless through the first period. Early in the second period, Travis Dermott opened the scoring, floating a point shot through traffic past Connor Hellebuyck. Andrew Copp would respond for the Jets midway through the second.
In the third period, the Jets took over the game, spending the majority of the period in the Leafs zone. Jack Campbell however, held down the fort and kept the Jets from taking the lead.
Three Stars
24th Star: The Powerplay
Zero for the last 24 powerplay attempts. Oh boy, you are not going to win a lot of playoff games with a powerplay operating at zero percent.
3rd Star: Travis Dermott
It’s been a weird season for Travis Dermott. He’s had to fight for his NHL job since the beginning of the season, fighting off Mikko Lehtonen and briefly Rasmus Sandin. Dermott has also had to fight for ice time this season. Last game, Dermott recorded a mere eight minutes and change of ice-time. Dermott gets …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Leafs doing “due diligence” on Linus Ullmark

The Leafs aren’t looking for a goaltender, you know, except for when they are absolutely calling teams looking for a goaltender.

Elliotte Friedman on WGR550: Toronto has called Buffalo asking what their plans are with Ullmark in case they need to add a goalie. Talks not serious yet, due diligence in case news on Andersen is bad.
— J (@Account4hockey) April 1, 2021

Elliotte Friedman joined Craig Rivet and Andrew Peters on their radio show in Buffalo to drop this little tidbit that the Leafs are interested in Linus Ullmark, the $2.6M, soon to be UFA, goaltender with a .920 save percentage in Buffalo this year. Yes, .920 in 15 games for a team that has just 7 wins on the season.
How Ullmark fits into the Sabres season, and their bizarre 18 game losing streak is interesting given that he had the last win before the streak began, lost in overtime the following game, and was injured for the majority of the month of March. He then lost in his first game back, but put up a .917 save percentage in that return, lost in overtime the following game, and picked up the win to end the streak on the strength of him having a .969 save …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Over/Under Previewing the Blue Jays Outfield using ZiPS projections

In part two of previewing the Blue Jays season we are looking at the outfielders and their ZiPS projections. You can find part one of this series on the infielders here.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Games
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
wRC+
WAR

126
.272
.311
.492
.333
107
1.7

Gurriel Jr.’s offensive profile is that of a boom or bust. He’s a free swinger, who always ranks near the top of the league in chase rate. This approach works for him because he has the bat control to hit those pitches and drive them. This gives Gurriel Jr. a high BABIP which helps him make up for relatively few walks. Gurriel to his credit has improved his walk rate. Gurriel crushes off-speed pitches but what’s concerning is his struggles with fastballs. Over the past two seasons against all fastballs, Gurriel Jr. has a .329 wOBA, per Baseball Savant. That ranks 237th out of 291 hitters who saw at least 1500 pitches. Against hard fastballs it was even worse. Gurriel Jr. had just a .189 wOBA against fastballs thrown 95 mph or harder over the past two seasons which was the fifth lowest in the league. I am going to take the under on his projections, as I think pitchers will …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

An exciting announcement from The Nation Network and how it affects the Leafs (coverage)

Good news everyone, especially those of you looking for even more Leafs coverage and hockey coverage in general.
The Nation Network have asked me to be the messenger regarding the growth in NHL coverage you’ll find both on The Leafs Nation, and other network sites, but most specifically DailyFaceOff.com.
The Nation Network will be scouring Canada looking for talented journalists they can add to DailyFaceOff.com to build out the site’s coverage of the league. Writers will be covering each NHL market, and for those of us seeking more Leafs coverage, this likely means you can count on Daily Face Off as well as The Leafs Nation to give you even more Leafs than you’ve already been getting from us. The site will feature some of the best writing, podcasts, and hockey video content you will find on the internet.
Many of you are already using DailyFaceOff.com which is the best resource for current line combinations, starting goaltenders, injury updates, and anything you could require as far as fantasy hockey goes, but over the next few months we’ll see the site completely take off from where it is today, to not only be a …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Goaltending the difference maker as Leafs drop their third in a row

The Leafs were looking to put an end to their first regulation losing streak of the season with a win tonight, and very well played like they didn’t want to, but unfortunately for them, some opportunistic scoring from the Winnipeg Jets and Connor Hellebuyck played like the reigning Vezina trophy winner saw them lose three straight regulation games for the first time in the Sheldon Keefe era.
The Leafs started out strong, as Zach Hyman opened the scoring with a fantastic goal, skating end to end before burying it on the backhand past Hellebuyck. Seriously, who is this guy?

ZACH HYMAN
ZIP! MEH! HEM! pic.twitter.com/rwUoHlIbDA
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 10, 2021

The Jets would tie it up on the power play shortly after though, as a Neal Pionk slapshot from the point would get deflected by Andrew Copp past Andersen to tie up the game just like that.

Andrew Copp ties it on the PP pic.twitter.com/Aj0G4JANOi
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 10, 2021

The Leafs would get a power play goal of their own later in the period though, as the birthday boy Morgan Rielly would take a wrist shot from the point that Auston Matthews would deflect …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Vesey scores a pair and Leafs sweep Oilers in spectacular fashion

The Toronto Maple Leafs were looking to take their third win and make a clean sweep tonight, while the Edmonton Oilers were looking to reignite their spark and get their fire going. The Leafs managed to shutout the Oilers and leave Connor McDavid without a single point the last two games, but would they be able to do it again? I mean, it’s what the people want (and if you were wondering, yes, I am people).
As the puck dropped for the third game in this series, and with a few good chances on both ends of the ice, you could tell that both teams were ready to get this game going. Just over the half-way mark into the first period, Jason Spezza made a play from the side of the net, which Travis Boyd redirected right to Jimmy Vesey who had just skated off the bench and got the puck past Mike Smith, which gave the Leafs the early lead and made it 1-0.

JIMMY VESEY
Fourth line strikes again! pic.twitter.com/6BmFFJRDXG
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 4, 2021

Well, the Vesey train didn’t stop there. Around the three minute mark into the second period, Zach Bogosian made an …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation

Trying to understand why Jimmy Vesey plays every night

Okay, so I went into looking at Jimmy Vesey’s stats fully expecting that there would be a huge difference between the eye test on him and the numbers. My eyes when it comes to Vesey are strained. Generally it’s hard to tell that he’s even in the lineup, but at some point he’ll find himself in the right position and he’ll create an opportunity, and then it serves to remind you about how you haven’t noticed him the rest of the time he was playing, which has been around 12 minutes a night.
Injuries to Simmonds, Thornton, Hyman, etc. have certainly made it easier to see why Vesey is the lineup right now, but the 12 minutes part still remains a bit perplexing, because, well, he hasn’t been good. And with Nic Petan showing that he can work well with Travis Boyd, and Jason Spezza, Alex Barabanov might be beginning to find his footing in the NHL as well, Alex Galchenyuk waiting to make his Leafs debut, and of course Nick Robertson and Joey Anderson sitting on the Marlies waiting for their next opportunity, it’s starting to hurt my brain trying to establish why …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors completely disrespected in latest NBA Power Rankings

Raptors completely disrespected in latest NBA Power Rankings

Toronto Raptors fans didn’t enjoy looking at NBA power rankings early in the season, as their disappointing 2-8 start had them rooted right to the bottom of most hypothetical rankings. Luckily for Nick Nurse and company, their hot stretch against some of the best teams in the league has finally helped them claw over the […]
Raptors completely disrespected in latest NBA Power Rankings – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

With a flurry of goals and penalties, the Toronto Six extend their game winning streak with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Whitecaps

The Toronto Six started this game looking for redemption and that’s exactly what they got. In their previous matchup with the Minnesota Whitecaps they went from what looked like a sure win, to an overtime loss. As the puck dropped for tonight’s game, The Six were fast, focused, and ready to win.

5-1 who? pic.twitter.com/5z3MNn3yni
— Toronto Six (@TheTorontoSix) January 31, 2021

With Brooke Boquist, Emma Woods, and Kristen Barbara out of the lineup, there were shoes to fill, and the rest of the team had to step up. And, guess what? They did just that.
From an early lead, to a game filled with lots of goals and penalties, the Toronto Six came out with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Whitecaps, to extend their winning streak to three games.
Check here for a full play by play recap of the game.
The Good (and Great)
This game was as speedy as they come. The Toronto Six dominated the first period, more than doubling the shots of the Whitecaps at 15-7 (and a final tally of 45-31), that included a lot of good looks and scoring chances. Elaine Chuli started in net and played a …

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Author: Roxanne Khasow / The Leafs Nation