Leafs announce the hirings of Mark Fraser and Justin Bobb to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion roles

The Leafs made an important announcement today in regards to Diversity and Inclusion within the Leafs organization with two key hirings:
Via David Alter:

It’s great to see Mark Fraser return to the Leafs, and earlier this year Mark Fraser joined Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 and Oilersnation to speak about his experiences as a Person of Colour in hockey:
It wasn’t a constant thing, however, some of my memorable incidents dealing with racism in hockey came at a younger age, unfortunately. You know whether that be from opposing team’s parents or then at the junior level, ridiculous fans sitting beside the penalty box, and having a few moments to utter some racial slurs your direction. That was definitely something that I experienced before I hit the pros.
At the pro level though, I mean yeah, definitely I encountered it. I don’t think that there is a single black hockey player who hasn’t experienced racism both at grassroots and at pro levels if they made it that far.
The difference between the two, for me, was the overt racism in my youth. At the pro level, it would have been more, more in an inadvertent, perhaps …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors draft: Could Toronto grab Jalen Johnson after Duke opt-out?

Raptors draft: Could Toronto grab Jalen Johnson after Duke opt-out?

The Toronto Raptors have made up a lot of ground and are making a run for the postseason, but a savvy front office led by the likes of Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster is certainly looking at who the Raptors could snag in the 2021 NBA Draft. A potential Raptors draft pick made headlines after […]
Raptors draft: Could Toronto grab Jalen Johnson after Duke opt-out? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Blue Jays Consensus Top 30 Prospects, Part 1

I have made it a habit, for several years, to find every Top Prospect list published by virtually anyone (save some message board rando like me) and aggregate them into consensus lists.

Typically, I do one made up of five-or-six high profile outlets (Baseball America et al) and another eight-to-ten lesser (though still respectable) or more less-heralded or team specific sites, aggregated into a separate ranking and this gives me a sort of idea about how the “pros” view players as opposed to more, I don’t want to say amateur because some of the latter set seem to be people who put a lot of effort into their list, but just not necessarily achieved the star status of the former group.
BUT in this weird year/offseason, several of those second-tier sources have chosen to either not do a ranking at all, or have not published one as of this writing. At this moment I’ve only got three of the ten I found last year. So I can spare you any digression about how the two lists compare and contrasts. What is on the menu today, then, is a consensus list, constructed in the typical points system fashion, …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Sandin’s situation, Hallander on a heater, SDA returns from injury

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Much has been made of Rasmus Sandin’s place on the depth chart and the fact that one of the Leafs’ top prospects hasn’t played a game in 11 months. In a somewhat curious decision, Sandin wasn’t among the handful of Leafs prospects that were loaned overseas as the organization sought to find ice time for their youngest players when the NHL season was still up in the air. That was probably due to the fact that the Leafs viewed him as a more likely candidate to factor into their opening night roster plans but as it stands, he is currently behind Mikko Lehtonen in the rotation as the team’s eighth defenceman. With the Marlies’ season still in question, there remains no clear path to playing time for Toronto’s first round pick from the 2018 draft.

Statement from Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod’s office to The Canadian Press on the AHL’s Canadian division. As it stands, the Belleville Senators and Toronto Marlies are still not allowed to play home games in the province. pic.twitter.com/tyF22AQXDw
— Joshua Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) February 4, 2021

Lehtonen has only received limited opportunities to this point …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six get blanked in their debut; but that’s nowhere near the most important part of today’s game

The Toronto Six made their much-awaited debut on the NWHL stage today in Lake Placid, and it was delightful! Yes, they lost to the Metropolitan Riveters, but the game was so much fun, so impressive, and promised so much to look forward to that the loss seems almost secondary to the momentousness of the occasion.
The Good (and Great)
The Six outshot the Rivs 40-19, and if not for Rivs goalie Sonjia Shelly standing on her head, this game would have looked much different. Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Six goalie Elaine Chuli looked solid as well. The first couple minutes were a bit shaky as she got her bearings, leading to the first Rivs goal, but after that she was calm, cool, and collected in net, making some impressive saves to help keep the score down.
Watch Chuli perform some goalie magic below, as a preview of what we can expect from her this season:

Chuli snapping in the third with a point-blank save
Check at the end for good measure! pic.twitter.com/d4aaKucnEh
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2021

The Six dominated faceoffs and killed all three of their penalties, proving that coach Digit Murphy’s …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays have signed Tyler Chatwood to pitch as a reliever

Hey, look, the Blue Jays have made a signing! But it’s fuckin’ Tyler Chatwood!

At a glance, adding Chatwood, who posted a 5.30 ERA for the Cubs last season, looks like some kind of Tanner Roark-ass, back-of-the-rotation starter addition, but Shi Davidi says that the team is planning to use him out of the ‘pen, making this a bit more interesting…

#BlueJays in agreement with right-hander Tyler Chatwood, pending physical, per source. Expected to be used out of bullpen. @JonHeyman first.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) January 19, 2021

While Chatwood’s season was pretty ugly last year, he actually has some very strong peripherals numbers. Chatwood struck out 12.1 batters per nine innings and he had a 96th percentile spin rate, according to Baseball Savant.
In 2019, Chatwood tossed 54 innings out of the ‘pen for the Cubs and posted a 3.67 ERA and struck out 8.8 batters per nine. The issue for him, though, is control, as he walked 25 batters over those 54 innings. Chatwood also walked 4.3 batters per nine in 2020.
This isn’t the exciting add anybody was looking for, but Chatwood looks like a pretty solid low-risk, high-reward option for a bullpen that could use some veteran arms. If there’s one thing this front office …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

If the Leafs really want to sign a new goalie, Mike Condon is the best one left in free agency

When the Leafs made the move to place Aaron Dell on waivers, it pretty much marked the end of his short stint with the team that acquired him to be a solid third-string goaltender. With so many goalies already being claimed off waivers in this young season, it came as no surprise when the New Jersey Devils snagged him out of the Leafs’ hands.
As a result, Michael Hutchinson is now back to being the Leafs’ third-string goalie and will likely be on the taxi squad for the majority of the season. The next two players behind him on the depth chart are Joseph Woll and Ian Scott, who both need some developing in the AHL and are nowhere close to being ready for NHL action just yet.
This puts the team in a predicament that they were hoping to avoid and will now need to figure out their plans for how to build up the goalie depth again. They could wait on the Devils to waive one of Dell or Eric Comrie and claim them for free or they could sign the best netminder available in free agency. If the Leafs decide to go with the latter option, the …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Does the Mets’ acquisition of Francisco Lindor make the Blue Jays the frontrunner for George Springer?

As we know, the New York Mets made their first big splash of the Steve Cohen era, acquiring Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland in exchange for a collection of magic beans.

This was obviously really, really disappointing for Blue Jays fans, as many of us had assumed that Lindor would soon end up a Blue Jay. Now that we know that isn’t going to happen, it’s on to the next one.
We’ve heard reports over the past few weeks that the Blue Jays and Mets are the two finalists for George Springer, the top outfielder on the free-agent market. Given the fact the Mets just added a significant amount of payroll with Lindor and Carrasco, logic would indicate that the Blue Jays are now the frontrunner for Springer.
Over at SportsNet New York, Andy Martino points out that the Mets are aiming to stay below the $210 million luxury tax, meaning they’re not likely to sign Springer…
With Lindor on board, the Mets are less likely to sign Springer. Here’s why: The team will not exceed the $210 million luxury tax threshold this offseason. We’re not sure where the notion came from that money …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It looks like the New York Mets have acquired Francisco Lindor

The New York Mets have finally made their move.

According to Jeff Passan, the team has a trade in place with Cleveland to send star shortstop Francisco Lindor to The Big Apple.

If the Francisco Lindor-to-the-Mets deal is completed as expected, shortstop Andres Gimenez would be part of the package going back to the Cleveland Indians, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 7, 2021

More to come!

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Opinion: Let’s dial back the hostility

On Thursday night, Mitch Marner made the following comments to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox regarding the possibility of the Leafs playing all their games in the United States this season:

Or at least, based on the backlash Marner faced in the comments, that’s what you could have sworn he said. Instead, he actually said this:

The quote came as Marner was doing interviews in the lead up to hosting a stream-a-thon for the Marner Assist Fund in support of families with food insecurities. In summary, Marner said that regardless of where the Leafs play he just wants to be around his family and if it comes to not being able to play in Toronto/Canada this season he just hopes it’s somewhere warm. That’s it. That’s the quote.
“Marner” trended for hours in the immediate aftermath of Fox’s tweet, largely driven by (a) the outlandishly negative response and (b) people coming to his aid. This outrage over something so innocuous speaks to the shocking erosion of the relationship between Leafs fans and Marner, much of it self-inflicted by the Marner camp during a contentious and public contract negotiation in summer 2019. Many fans clearly still feel …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation