‘My goal is to get called up’ Nick Robertson opens up about injury and what’s needed for him to take the next step

Last summer, Nick Robertson had one goal in mind — to make it to the NHL.
But on October 17th, his plans changed.
It was the second game of the season and the Toronto Marlies were taking on the Manitoba Moose.
During the second period, Robertson went in for a puck along the boards. He was sandwiched between two players and went down to the ice, landing awkwardly on his right leg.

Here’s another look at Nick Robertson’s injury: pic.twitter.com/uRniSTVgQl
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) October 17, 2021

A few days later, it was announced that Robertson suffered a fracture of his right fibula. He would be out for a minimum of ten weeks.
“When it happened it was devastating, I couldn’t kind of believe it.” Robertson said. “I worked so hard in the summer, I felt good going into the season, and for it to happen that way, it was unfortunate.”
The 20-year-old was ready to make this season his own. He was ready to take the next step.
“It was a tough situation. Obviously, I want to play in the NHL, get called up. If I would’ve maybe been healthy, an opportunity would’ve came along,” said Robertson. “It’s the past and I’m just looking forward to playing and being healthy and producing and doing well.”
After suffering the injury, the 20-year-old was tasked with a different battle — recovery.
“It wasn’t bad,” Robertson said of the rehab process. “I was definitely limited to a lot of stuff, especially stuff at the house. But fortunately, I had family and friends come down to help me out.
“But the whole process was longer than I thought,” Robertso …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

There is no easy path to keeping Morgan Rielly beyond this season

The second Charlie McAvoy was signed today my mind went where any reasonable person’s mind should go, and that was to how it affects the Leafs. Contracts for Seth Jones, Darnell Nurse, Dougie Hamilton, and others already set the bar high for Morgan Rielly and should have essentially torched the idea of Rielly accepting a team friendly contract under the $7M mark. Now team friendly seems like $8M. The McAvoy contract makes that even harder…

Charlie McAvoy #NHLBruins8 yr, $76 mil$49.5m sal$26.5m sign bonus
22-23: $6m + $3.25m SB23-24: $7.75m + $3.25m SB24-25: $8.5m + $3m SB25-26: $8.5m + $3m SB26-27: $6m + $4m SB27-28: $3.75m + $4m SB28-29: $4.5m + $3m SB29-30: $4.5m + $3m SBFull NMC from 7/1/25 – 5/31/28
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 15, 2021

There is obviously a strong argument that McAvoy is better than Rielly. There’s a benefit to paying a younger defenseman throughout his entire prime rather than taking a chance on how the player will perform later in their career, but it doesn’t change that teams are paying legitimate number one defensemen over $9M, and Morgan Rielly falls into that category.
So the Leafs have the benefit of the salary cap possibly going up. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson And The Blue Jays’ Bullpen

It’s an issue on the mind of Blue Jays fans everywhere — how can we fix the bullpen?
But before fixing the problem, it has to be identified, and the issue with the bullpen is that there are so many issues with the bullpen.

We’re all well aware of the man-games lost to injury in the pen already this season, and given the recent history with pitchers in general, it’s not likely to correct itself any time soon. Pitchers are going to spend time on the IL, especially when they’re throwing triple-digit fastballs every other night. It’s unavoidable. Still, when you add up the IL stints from Yates, Phelps, Merryweather, Romano, Dolis, Castro, Milone, Borucki, Cole, and Bergen it’s tough to ignore it as the leading symptom for what ails the back end of Toronto’s pitching staff.
Still, as serviceable as Ryu, Ray and Matz have been, the Blue Jays need more from their starting rotation. They’re currently third-worst at IP per start ahead of Baltimore and San Diego. Taxing your bullpen when you’re already down a closer and two high leverage guys, at the very least, is not a recipe for …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Woah, look, something happened! (It’s Joe Panik getting added to the 40-man roster)

Losing your mind without sports to talk about? No need to Panik!

The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Joe Panik, thus adding him to the 40-man roster for whenever the season gets up and rolling. In a corresponding roster move, pitcher Yennsy Diaz has been placed on the 60-day Injured List with some undisclosed injury.
Panik, of course, was in camp as a non-roster invitee on a minor-league deal. He had an opt-out clause on his deal for March 15 that would have allowed him to test the open market again, so the Jays unsurprisingly added him to the roster.
So, yeah. That’s the news. It isn’t overly exciting, but it’s something! It’s really not surprising at all that Panik was added to the 40-man. He had a very good spring, going 8-for-21 with a couple of homers. Had the Jays not added him to the 40-man, I’m sure that performance would have been good enough to earn him a gig somewhere.
I think if once the season gets going, we’ll see him used as more than just a backup infielder off the bench. If …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It sure sounds like Jason Spezza’s taking a league minimum deal to play in Toronto

A new fourth-line centre? Don’t mind if I do!
Coming in this morning from one Bob McKenzie, the sweetest words one could possibly muster: Jason Spezza is looking to sign a one-year deal as a Toronto Maple Leaf.

Expect hometown boy Jason Spezza to sign a one-year contract with TOR today.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2019

McKenzie posted a follow-up tweet, stating that the deal is likely to be in the $700k range.
Jason Spezza, as you probably know, has had quite the illustrious career. Just over a point–per-game guy in his time in Ottawa (687 in 686), his five years in Dallas have seen him transition from solid third option to… still useful aging vet. Now 36, Spezza is coming off an eight-goal, 19 assist season while putting up about 13 minutes a night of ice time. Seeing as Frederik Gauthier put up numbers of three goals and 11 assists, we can reasonably expect that Jason Spezza is about twice as good.
After scoring 19 goals and 39 assists in 65 career games against the Leafs,  Spezza can now put up similar numbers in just one age 36 season. Probably.
Hey, here’s a chart! Assuming Gauthier is being replaced, essentially, we can tell via this one graph …

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Author: Adam Laskaris / The Leafs Nation

Three Questions from the Raptors ahead of Game 2 vs. the Golden State Warriors

Jannelle Moore of Golden State of Mind was kind enough to provide some analysis on Game 1, and what changes to expect from the Warriors heading into Game 2. We spoke with Jannelle Moore of Golden State of Mind to hear the Bay Area take on Pascal Siakam, predictions for next game and potential strategic shifts on the defensive end:
Pascal Siakam has had to face incredibly tough defenders this postseason in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and now Draymond Green. How was he able to score so easily last night, despite being primarily guarded by one of the best defenders in the world?
There’s a reason why Pascal Siakam is considered to be the front runner for Most Improved Player, and he showed it on Thursday. With that being said, Pascal was able to score so easily because Draymond defended him passively. Before Game 1, Green didn’t have a feel for Siakam and was caught off guard by his drives and quickness. Green was also more concerned with providing protection in the paint than effectively guarding Pascal one-on-one.
HQ’s Take: I agree that Draymond didn’t seem too concerned with Pascal’s offense to start the game. This passivity proved …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ

Mitch Marner should get every million he’s worth, just not from the Leafs

In the rotating carousel of what should be on the mind of every Leafs fan, recently it has been what forward Mitch Marner is really worth and what his new contract should or could look like.
From reports of somewhere near or even above what Auston Matthews got ($11.34-million AAV), to the Leafs wanting him to come around the Mark Stone/Nikita Kucherov $9.5-million AAV — there have been a somewhat wide array in the upper echelon of where he will eventually end up.
But as it’s becoming more apparent through recent contract signings in the NHL and other leagues elsewhere, the players are gaining more power of how much they should make and it’s perfect.
This system is build this way anyways. Besides the main reason of the salary cap, restricting the ability to just sign countless players to more money, it puts an emphasis on player movement because of the inability to fit everyone under the ceiling.
Each and every player has earned the right to make as much money as they can in their industry. Just like any other employee or worker, you move to the employer that is offering the best package — if that means …

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Author: Thomas Williams / The Leafs Nation