The NHL Draft: Consolidated Rankings, Where the Leafs sit, and introducing the Hunter Score

Salt, meet wound. After an incredibly disappointing post season that saw the Leafs in their traditional role of watching the second round from their comfort of their own homes, we now need to address the fact that the Leafs are heading into the NHL Entry Draft with only 3 draft picks and most significantly, without a first round pick. Draft experts will provide some comforting knowledge that this isn’t a particularly high end draft. It’s not a draft that is overwhelmingly deep, and of course with COVID, there are entire leagues like the OHL that didn’t play and others that played shortened schedules in bizarre circumstances. Still the seven regular season games and four post season games of Nick Foligno that resulted in 5 assists and 0 parades probably is creating a nice bitter feeling at the moment.
Still, it’s foolish to completely dismiss any conversation of the entry draft because we don’t particularly like the way the Leafs are situated heading into it. Last year the Leafs also looked to be without a first round pick, and low and behold, the Kapanen trade brought a first back into the mix and Rodion Amirov into our lives. The …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Meet The Baby Blue Jays: CJ Van Eyk could be a quick riser through the system

Welcome to Meet The Baby Blue Jays, a series in which I’ll profile a handful of lesser-known young prospects in the Blue Jays’ system.  

Bio

The Toronto Blue Jays bolstered their pitching prospect pipeline even further by selecting CJ Van Eyk with the 42nd overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
After being selected in the 2017 MLB Draft by the New York Mets, Van Eyk elected to go the collegiate route, and attended Florida State University. Shortly after arriving there, Van Eyk’s sheer dominance was apparent right away.
In his freshman year as a 19-year-old, Van Eyk posted a 7-0 record along with 71 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA through 56.2 innings pitched. He had a bit of a down year in 2019 in terms of ERA, but Van Eyk also posted the best SO/9 rate of his collegiate career that season (11.7).
Van Eyk likes to rack up the strikeouts and has the pitch arsenal to do it. Throughout his entire three-year collegiate career, he never posted a SO/9 lower than 10.9. Those are impressive numbers, and it was enough to catch the eye of the Blue Jays’ scouts.
Van Eyk has three pitches that he’s comfortable using in any situation. A fastball …

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Author: David Quadrelli / Blue Jays Nation

Meet The Baby Blue Jays: Rikelvin De Castro is a smooth-fielding shortstop with a high baseball IQ

Welcome to Meet The Baby Blue Jays, a series in which I’ll profile a handful of lesser-known young prospects in the Blue Jays’ system.  

The Toronto Blue Jays put pen to paper with international prospect Rikelvin De Castro in July of 2019, and are hoping his high baseball IQ and exceptional glovework can translate to big-league success.
Bio

De Castro’s fielding ability is his greatest strength, and when you watch him pick it, it’s hard to disagree. His footwork, arm strength, and ability to quickly transfer the ball from his glove into a ready throwing position make him an intriguing middle infield prospect. Watch here as De Castro smoothly fields these ground balls and shows an ability to throw on the run seamlessly.


De Castro is a contact first hitter who stays extremely loose in the box. His swing is quick, effortless, and he possesses legitimate gap power, which allows him to leg out extra-base hits, despite not being the fastest runner.

As can be seen in the video above, his weight transfer is smooth, his hips are activated nicely, and he …

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Author: David Quadrelli / Blue Jays Nation

Meet The Baby Blue Jays: Dasan Brown has all the tools to become a traditional leadoff hitter

Welcome to Meet The Baby Blue Jays, a series in which I’ll profile a handful of lesser-known young prospects in the Blue Jays’ system.  

When the Blue Jays selected the Dasan Brown in the third round of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft, they knew they were getting a player with a ton of upside and plenty of room to round out his game.

Brown’s power isn’t anything to write home about, but his contact-first approach combined with his natural speed on the base paths and ability to read balls right off the bat while on defence makes him an extremely intriguing prospect.
“I didn’t work on getting fast, it was a natural thing for me,” Brown said last April. “But I did run track in high school and learned the proper running form, so that helped my speed. Right now I do a lot of leg work — keeping mobility in my legs is the biggest thing for me because when you’re not playing as much and you’re putting on more weight, the muscle can add tightness to your body. So I’m working on staying loose and not overworking, but making sure I’m …

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Author: David Quadrelli / Blue Jays Nation

Matt Devlin: The Voice of the Toronto Raptors

Matt Devlin:  The Voice of the Toronto Raptors

You’ve heard the voice, Raptors fans, now meet the man.  For over a decade, Toronto Raptors history has been recorded in Matt Devlin’s voice. Since 2008, there have been two constants in the Toronto Raptors organization.  Not Kyle Lowry, not DeMar DeRozan, not Dwyane Casey or Nick Nurse or winning, or positive culture. Even the […]
Matt Devlin: The Voice of the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Breaking down the Cali road trip (and why the Leafs couldn’t score)

To say that this week didn’t meet the expectations of Leafs fans would be an understatement.
We started off the week on a three game win streak, with particularly big ones coming against Tampa Bay and Florida, and up next was three games against teams in the bottom five of the league (the Leafs were so far 9-0 against these five teams). What could possibly go wrong?
Well, a lot of things, actually. That’s why I’m here, to break down the trip to try and see what we can take away from it. Without further ado, let’s start.
San Jose
So this one was definitely the worst game of the three, as we saw the Leafs only get 42.05% of the shot attempts at 5v5, and overall saw the expected goals fall 4.03-2.58 in favour of the Sharks.
However, it might not be the most telling stat for the entire game, as it’s skewered by a *really bad* second period, that saw the Leafs only get 22.22% of the shot attempts at 5v5, and saw the expected goals fall 1.64-0.63. To add to how weird this trip was, that period saw the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation