The Leafs Nation trade deadline day tracker

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s trade deadline tracker. We will be updating this post throughout the day with any rumors or speculation relevant to the Leafs’ ahead of the deadline. To get you warmed up, check out our deadline day primer from earlier:
Leafs likely aren’t done making moves ahead of the trade deadline

10:15am EST: Craig Custance of The Athletic reports that Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton is drawing interest around the league with the Flyers still weighing whether to sign or trade him.

Scott Laughton drawing strong interest from contenders. Flyers still weighing whether to sign or trade him at this point.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) April 12, 2021

10:14am EST: St. Louis Blues reporter Andy Strickland is hearing that Anaheim is shopping Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson, perhaps as a package deal. The price appears to be high and the Leafs would have to move out significant money to get involved.

Hearing Anaheim asking for a 1st-Plus for both Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson. Would consider a top prospect as a 1st but would want two. #Flytogether
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) April 12, 2021

10:00am EST: With the Leafs rumored to be interested in adding a depth defenceman, ESPN hockey reporter …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

What We Learned: Freddy Andersen needs a quality backup

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s year-(so far)-in-review series in which we talk about something we learned about each player on the team this year. Today, we have Freddy Andersen’s struggles and the need to find him a competent backup.

For the first time since arriving in Toronto, Freddy Andersen showed cracks.
In his first three seasons with the club, he was insanely consistent. A .918 in 66 games in 2016-17, a .918 save percentage in 66 games again in 2017-18, and a .917 save percentage in 60 games in 2018-19. But in 2019-20, though, Andersen had some struggles, posting a .909 save percentage in 52 games, the lowest figure in his seven seasons in the league.
It’s safe to say that there’s been some wear and tear on Andersen as he’s played the most games of any goaltender in the league (tied with Connor Hellebuyck in Winnipeg) since 2016-17. The biggest reason why Andersen has played that many games over that stretch of time is because he’s had to.
The Leafs’ backup goaltending situation over the past few years has been a strange one.
Ahead of the 2016-17 season, Toronto acquired …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

What We Learned: No, William Nylander isn’t overpaid

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s year-(so far)-in-review series in which we talk about something we learned about each player on the team this year. Today, we have William Nylander’s rebound performance. 

The 2018-19 season was a disaster for William Nylander.
The summer went by and the first member of the Leafs’ Big Three to reach restricted free agency was without a contract. Training camp started and Nylander wasn’t there. A few weeks later, the season got rolling and Nylander wasn’t in the lineup. This went on and on and on and on with Nylander’s image taking a hit with each passing day. While the Leafs played, he was waiting around in Europe.
Right or wrong, Nylander was painted as selfish and greedy, asking for too much money while the rest of his teammates went to work. That’s inevitably how fans are going to perceive a player holding out for more money when they’re already making millions.
At times it looked like Nylander would sit out the entire season. Hell, it even looked like he might never play for the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

What We Learned: Jason Spezza still has game

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s year-(so far)-in-review series in which we talk about something we learned about each player on the team this year. Today, we have whether or not to bring back Jason Spezza for another victory lap. 

Jason Spezza wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform is something fans gushed out during the 2000s.
When the day finally came for Spezza to down the blue and white of his hometown club in 2019, it ended up being fairly anticlimactic. Spezza played 10:36 in his Leafs debut, a random, forgettable road game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
A couple of days before, Spezza had watched the Leafs’ home opener from the press box. Despite having plenty of friends and family in the stands to witness his debut, Mike Babcock opted to keep the veteran out of the lineup. Spezza, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a fan of the decision.
“It’s more disappointing that it’s the opener,” Spezza said. “You want to be part of these games and it gives you things to get excited about. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed but I& …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

What We Learned: Zach Hyman wants to be a Leaf long-term, but can they afford him?

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s year-(so far)-in-review series in which we talk about something we learned about each player on the team this year. Today, we have Zach Hyman’s breakout season and his next contract. 

It wasn’t that long ago that Zach Hyman was viewed as a boat anchor. A lot has changed since then.
Back in 2016-17 when the Leafs saw an influx of highly-anticipated rookies join their roster, Hyman was nothing more than a guy. It was all about Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and William Nylander, the dynamic trio that was going to turn the franchise around. You had to dig pretty far to find talk about Hyman, a former fifth-round pick the team had acquired in exchange for Gregg McKegg.
That season, Hyman got plopped alongside Matthews in a top-six role. Everybody wanted to see Nylander, Matthews, and Marner form a line, but Mike Babcock opted to put the team’s first-overall choice with this random depth player instead.
Hyman would become a very polarizing figure. There were those who supported Babcock’s decision to place him with Matthews and Nylander because he added a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

What We Learned: Auston Matthews is the best goal scorer in the league right now

Welcome to The Leafs Nation’s year-(so far)-in-review series in which we talk about something we learned about each player on the team this year. Today, we have Auston Matthews establishing himself as the best goal scorer in the league. 

Among the many things we lost when the NHL season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic was an epic race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.
Alexander Ovechkin, who won the award in each of the past two seasons, sits tied with David Pastrnak for the league’s lead in goals with 48. Right behind them is Auston Matthews with 47 goals.
It’s difficult at this point to imagine that the 2019-20 regular season is going to be concluded (I’ll still hold out some hope for the playoffs), so Ovechkin and Pastrnak will more than likely be awarded co-winners of the Rocket Richard this year. That leaves Matthews without any hardware to show for his breakout season.
I mean, it’s sort of arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but it would have been ideal for Ovechkin and Matthews to share that trophy. No disrespect to Pastrnak who’s obviously …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

20 Things: Finding a role for Teoscar Hernandez

Welcome to Blue Jays Nation’s Season In Review. Instead of doing boring-ass, standard player-by-player reviews or handing out some arbitrary report cards, I’m going to talk about 20 things that are on my mind heading into 2020. Today, we have Teoscar Hernandez’s role on the team. 

Teoscar Hernandez is an enigma.
There’s quite a bit to like about him as a player. Mostly because he does stuff like this…


But he’s also an incredibly frustrating player. Mostly because he also does stuff like this…

There’s a big bat there with a tremendous amount of upside. There’s also the very real issue of his glove. You want to have Hernandez in the lineup, but you don’t know exactly where to put him on the field.
There was a point in time last year where the answer to that question was “Who the hell cares? Play him wherever you want in Buffalo.” Hernandez had a nightmarish start to the 2019 season. By mid-May, he was slashing a .189/.262/.299 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

20 Things: Pitching depth has become a legitimate organizational strength

Welcome to Blue Jays Nation’s Season In Review. Instead of doing boring-ass, standard player-by-player reviews or handing out some arbitrary report cards, I’m going to talk about 20 things that are on my mind heading into 2020. Today, we have the impressive stockpiling of pitching depth up and down the system. 

When the Cleveland Crew took over the Blue Jays in 2015, they inherited a farm system that had mostly been sold off in order to fund an incredible and very necessary playoff run.
We all know the history here. Alex Anthopolous traded away a million prospects to get, over the span of a few months, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, LaTroy Hawkins, Ben Revere, and Mark Lowe. And it was absolutely worth it. The Jays made went on an epic run and made the playoffs for the first time since Joe Carter hit his walk-off homer to win the World Series in 1993.
Shapiro came in and apparently scolded Anthopolous and other members of the front office for going all-in and selling off so many prospects in such a short period of time. It perfectly represented the difference in philosophies between the two executives, as Anthopolous was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

20 Things: The love for Derek Fisher, the forgotten Anthony Alford, and the Blue Jays’ gaping hole in centre field

Welcome to Blue Jays Nation’s Season In Review. Instead of doing boring-ass, standard player-by-player reviews or handing out some arbitrary report cards, I’m going to talk about 20 things that are on my mind heading into 2020. Today, we have Derek Fisher and Anthony Alford and whether one of them can take an opportunity and run with it. 

When Derek Fisher became a Blue Jay, there was virtually zero fanfare attached to the acquisition.
The only ones excited by the addition, it seemed, were members of the front office. Ross Atkins came out and publicly talked about how thrilled the brass was to acquire Fisher, a unique player who featured a blend of plus speed, great power, an elite eye, and fair defence. Unfortunately, Fisher looked, uh, nothing like the player Atkins had raved about.

Meanwhile, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini, two of the three players heading back to the Astros in the deal (along with interesting prospect Cal Stevenson) combined to throw a no-hitter just days after the trade was made. The immediate optics of the trade really couldn’t have been worse for the Blue Jays.
So, right off the hop, you have a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

20 Things: It’s sink or swim time for a handful of young-ish Blue Jays

Welcome to Blue Jays Nation’s Season In Review. Instead of doing boring-ass, standard player-by-player reviews or handing out some arbitrary report cards, I’m going to talk about 20 things that are on my mind heading into 2020. Today, we have the futures of multiple young Blue Jays bubble players. 

I haven’t done one of these review/preview posts in a little while, but now that the dust seems to have settled on the Blue Jays’ off-season and we have a good idea of where the team stands heading into 2020, it’s time to dive back in.
I think it’s safe to say, at this point, the Jays are done making major additions to their roster. We’ll likely see some veterans relievers added to the ‘pen and perhaps a utility guy with a good glove who can be the backup shortstop, but there won’t be anything major.
The front office’s work this winter has been in building the team’s starting rotation. They added in ace in Hyun-Jin Ryu and some veteran depth in Chase Anderson and Tanner Roark to completely flip the rotation …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation