Darren Dreger reporting the Leafs still in talks with Pietrangelo

Let’s pretend the salary cap doesn’t exist for a moment and enjoy how this could potentially play out…

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights have spoken to Pietrangelo. Interesting to see who else steps forward.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 9, 2020

While there is a lot of talk about the Leafs being in serious trade negotiations with Florida regarding MacKenzie Weegar, they haven’t lost sight of the big fish free agent, Alex Pietrangelo.
RUMOUR: Leafs interested in MacKenzie Weegar

We’ve talked a lot about Pietrangelo on this site over the past few weeks, but if you are interested in reading up on Pietrangelo, Scott Maxwell has a breakdown on how he’d fit in with the Leafs…
How does Alex Pietrangelo statistically fit with the Leafs?

Additionally we might be hearing from Dubas soon, and that will probaby let us know that nothing is imminent for the Leafs and Simmonds in the big haul for Day One.

Dubas avail at 3:30. Indication, but nothing written in stone, #Leafs are done for the day.
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) October 9, 2020

Of course a lot of things can change quickly, and we’ll see how this plays out.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to get hyped for the playoffs

Every moment. Every heartbreak. Every blown lead. Every unclosed series. Every overtime loss. Every Game 7. Every loss in Boston. Every time a head coach didn’t play their star players a lot in a crucial game. Everything, leads to this moment.
Because with every mistake, every heartbreak, all the pain we’ve dealt with, has led to this moment. It’s what makes us grow. It’s what makes us stronger. It’s what makes us become who we are today.
And it makes it so much more worth it when we finally win the damn thing.
Let’s get hyped.

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Donaldson reflects on his time in Toronto: “At the end it hurt”

It’s a moment that we all knew was coming. Josh Donaldson is returning to Toronto and the night will be filled with fond memories of home-stealing and rain-bringing.
With both teams at opposite ends of the World Series-contention scale, the Blue Jays are hosting Donaldson’s new team, the Atlan Braves, for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday night. Before the game, the 2015 AL MVP was able to say some words about his time in Toronto and what exactly it meant to him.

Josh Donaldson on last summer #BlueJays
“What probably nags at me most is how my career finished here in Toronto. Not being able to play at the time, trying to fight as hard as I could to get back. It wasn’t working out. How everything transpired was something that was tough”
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 27, 2019

Looking back at the years he spent in Toronto is bittersweet for the third baseman. Finishing a tenure highlighted by dramatic playoff series victories and individual accomplishments by fizzing out due to injuries and never really getting his footing last year, then getting shipped to Cleveland just as he was getting ready to return to major-league action.
It might be …

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation

Let Vladdy play third base until he can’t

From the moment Vladimir Guerrero Jr. set foot at third base during his Major League debut on April 26, the countdown started towards his eventual shift across the diamond. It’s not a question of if the Blue Jays will convert him into a first baseman; it’s when.
Vladdy’s had his fair share of difficulties at third base this season. His spectacular arm has been on display for many throws across the diamond, but his footwork could use some work.
After his latest lower body injury, the masses have already started calling for Guerrero to change positions and shift to first base. A 20-year-old third baseman, abandoning the position where he’s spent less than a full season so far? Right.
It’s a tad premature to pull the parachute on Guerrero’s native position before he’s barely played it. I’m not debating whether he’ll move to first base (he will), but much like giving a young starting pitcher every opportunity before converting them into a reliever, the Blue Jays need to apply the same philosophy here; let Vladdy play third base until he can’t.
Admittedly, Guerrero’s defensive numbers at third base aren’t …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

2019 Leafs Prospect Rankings: Explaining the Tiers

The moment is finally here, folks. Welcome to The Leafs Nation‘s 2019 Toronto Maple Leafs prospect rankings!
As we announced last week to uproarious (read: non-existent) fanfare, TLN has decided to change up the way we roll out our rankings in 2019, adopting a more streamlined “tier by tier” approach for this edition instead of the typical “#1-20” format from years past.
Why? Well, because we can. You’re not God, or our fathers…or our boss.
If you’re really curious, you can read all about why we shook things up here.
So, before we officially get down to business tomorrow, it seemed important to give you all the cliff notes on what the tiers actually are and what each specific one means.
Be sure to take notes, kids. This will all be on the final exam:
Tier #1: The Impact Players – Prospects who the TLN staff fully expect, if all goes according to plan, to one day make the cut and become contributors in the NHL of average to significant impact. They’re more or less “locks”, if you will. The set-it- and forget-it kids. As for whether any of these fellas will become superstars one day? That is yet …

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Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Round out your collection with the Kawhi Bounce Shot t-shirt

We’re not done celebrating what is the best moment in Raptors franchise history. Here’s the latest in Breaking T’s line of Toronto t-shirts: the Kawhi Leonard Bounce Shot. Despite Kawhi Leonard’s insistence that he and the Toronto Raptors have already moved on, we’re not done celebrating his unbelievable shot over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7.
We’ve already trotted out two other shirts, and now here’s the third: The Bounce Shot by Kawhi Leonard.
Get The Bounce Shot by Kawhi Leonard T-shirt here.
Browse the entire Toronto Collection here.

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ

Serge Ibaka helped save the Raptors in Game 7, and he may have to do it again

Serge Ibaka has his Raptors moment now, thanks to his play in Game 7 against the Sixers. How much it is remembered might depend on how he performs against Toronto’s next foe, the Milwaukee Bucks. Contrary to popular memory, there was another noteworthy shot hit by a Raptor in Game 7 against the Sixers. It wasn’t a buzzer-beater; it’s not the best moment in the history of the franchise; it didn’t even bounce on the rim twice, let alone four times. Hell, neither the local nor national broadcasts even captured the real Kodak moment of the play in a replay.
But Serge Ibaka’s three over Ben Simmons with 9:38 to go in the fourth quarter — his third triple on a night where the Raptors connected just seven times from long range — was as much a table-setter for Kawhi Leonard’s historic Plinko jackpot as any play in the first 47 minutes and 56 seconds of action on Sunday night.
Game 7 was about sludge and grime and angst. Through the muck, Ibaka served up one of just a handful of instances of sublime beauty viewers were treated to all night.

nah there was no way the raptors were gonna lose after …

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Author: Sean Woodley / Raptors HQ

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 7: Raptors 92, 76ers 90

We were all witness… to the greatest moment in Toronto Raptors history. How are we feeling this morning, Toronto? Recovered from the insanity of that game? That moment? That shot?
It was ugly, yet beautiful, wasn’t it? It’s such a cliche, but both teams really left it all out there. Kawhi Leonard took (seemingly) all the shots, and Ben Simmons hounded him all night. Joel Embiid played (seemingly) all the minutes, and Marc Gasol matched him all the way. Kyle Lowry was everywhere (and over everything). Jimmy Butler was quiet, but terrifying, as always.
And in the end, it was Leonard who sent everyone in the building home in tears — albeit, for the 76ers players and the Toronto fans, for very different reasons.
One for the Ages
Since Thursday night, I’d been dreading this game. Even though I was relatively confident that this Raptors team could win it, I didn’t want this series to go seven, and I didn’t want to deal with the stress and the drama of a Game 7. Then on Friday night I actually started to get sick with a head cold and I even considered selling my ticket.
But by Saturday …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Series Preview: Is there still beef?

Since the Jose Bautista bat-flip moment back in 2015 of the ALDS, these two teams haven’t really gotten along. But now almost four years later, it seems now that we can officially say the beef is completely over. However, it’s not like the fans on either side have forgotten what has happened. Following the 2015 playoffs, the Blue Jays and Rangers had another heated incident during their trip to Texas during the 2016 season. Regardless if there’s only five players on this current Blue Jays roster from that season, the fans still hold a heated rivalry whenever these teams play one another.
Coming into this three-game series, these franchises find themselves in similar situations. Both are currently in their rebuilding phases and are looking towards the future. Not too mention that they both currently have 14 wins as well. But while the Rangers don’t have top-quality prospects like the Blue Jays have, they do still have a bunch of very good players at the major-league level. Which is exactly why this won’t be an easy match-up for the Blue Jays. Even if these aren’t the same division winning teams from a few seasons ago.
Friday at 8:05 ET
Trent …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors vs. Magic Game 1 Thread: Updates, TV info, and more

After 82 regular season games, we arrive at the moment of truth: it’s Game 1 of Raptors vs. Magic, the first contest in Toronto’s big time post-season run. Let’s watch. It’s time once again for a Toronto Raptors post-season run. Read that sentence again and get a handle on the mood. The Raptors in the playoffs is now no big deal, nothing to get too excited about. They’ve been here before and expected great things before. The “just happy to be here” energy is long gone. In fact, it’s been replaced by something else, a mood both powerful and distinct: we can win this thing.
And that’s because the Raptors are going into the 2019 playoffs with proven players, guys who have gone in as underdogs and come out on top, players who have jumped into the fire and come out unscathed, a team ready and able to play at the highest levels of the sport.
It’s why we at HQ were fine letting loose with all sorts of nostalgic, retrospective, energy and memory. We weren’t tempting fate, or dragging ourselves through a mental minefield for no reason, we were doing something else. We …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ