Ranking the best possible draft lottery outcomes

Last night never happened. Last week never happened. The Leafs have always been a draft lottery team, that’s how I’ll choose to look at it. So here we are, banking on the Leafs 12.5% chance at the first overall pick paying off better than it will for the Rangers, Penguins, Panthers, Jets, Oilers, Predators, or the Wild.
We’ll cut with the suspense and acknowledge that when it comes to ranking the best possible outcomes for winning the draft lottery is the Leafs winning it. So there’s your number one, you can move on, but aside from that what are the best possible outcomes for the Leafs when it comes to the draft lottery? Here are the rankings of 2 through 8.
8. Florida Panthers
With Dale Tallon out, and a potentially competent GM on the way in, the idea of a talented draft pick entering the Leafs division wouldn’t be ideal. Now, when it comes to Florida winning it, there is the comfort from the league perspective of at least the Penguins, Oilers or Leafs winning it, but that’s less ideal for the Leafs.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
A team with Sidney Crosby and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Brandon Drury is back, Billy McKinney sent down to minor-league camp

After never making it to the Blue Jays’ Summer Camp in Toronto due to an unspecified injury, Brandon Drury has finally been added to the team’s active roster. Heading down to the team’s minor-league camp to make room for him will be Billy McKinney.

#BlueJays reinstate infielder Brandon Drury from the IL, option Billy McKinney (back to the Alternate Training Site)
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 26, 2020

It’s sink or swim time for Drury, you’d think. Since being acquired as part of the return for J.A. Happ back in 2018, Drury hasn’t been overly impressive in a Blue Jays uniform. While he adds a solid glove and positional versatility, hit bat simply hasn’t come around to the level you’d hope to see from him.
Drury will jump right into the lineup today in Tampa Bay, playing third base. I imagine that we’ll see Drury get quite a few reps against left-handed pitching (Blake Snell, a lefty, is going today) as the Jays juggle platoon-oriented lineups.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A Walk-Around Tour of the NHL bubble in Toronto

“I’ve never seen any fencing up in Toronto with the words ‘Stanley Cup Playoffs’.” I said to my naive self before remembering that the Maple Leafs have been in the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. Yes, it’s been that long.
As the return of NHL hockey inches closer and closer, there’s more and more being blocked off around the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton.

A look at the NHL’s “secure zone” in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/MB1yP1opPb
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 24, 2020

It’s both an exciting and eerie time for hockey. 24 teams are expected to fly into their perspective hub cities today and must be there by Sunday, according to the NHL.
With players not knowing what to expect, it makes this Return-to-Play plan more interesting once the players arrive in their bubbles.
And as much as I want to say that construction has gotten underway, that’s not really the right word to use for this situation.
The fences are up — so far.
Each day, there’s more that’s done to shield the players from …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

J.J. Redick shows love for Toronto Raptors on Bill Simmons Podcast

The Toronto Raptors have never gotten the respect a good organization should get, until this season. The Toronto Raptors seem to be getting a lot more love than previous years. They are getting respect from many analysts and players including Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins. And today, it is J.J. Redick showing love for the […]
J.J. Redick shows love for Toronto Raptors on Bill Simmons Podcast – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Forget the PHWA, Our writers correctly select the winners for the NHL Awards

I’ve never really been one for the NHL Awards, but here we are in the middle of a pause waiting to see if we’ll get hockey games in August of all months. If that isn’t enough reason to start caring I don’t know what is. We’ve also saved you the trouble of arguing about the award decisions online because our decision is 100% right and there is no need for debate.
For contents sake we’ve also picked the Leaf player most deserving of some of the awards as well. I didn’t ask the other writers about who in the Leafs organization would win the Vezina because I assume everyone would naturally agree that it’s David Ayres.
Hart

Hart
League Pick
Leafs Pick

Mark Norman
MacKinnon
Matthews

Nick DeSouza
Panarin
Matthews

Nick Richard
MacKinnon
Matthews

Scott Maxwell
Panarin
Matthews

Totally Offside
Panarin
Matthews

Jon Steitzer
MacKinnon
Matthews

Brendan Mori
MacKinnon
Matthews

Cam Lewis
Draisaitl
Matthews

League Winner: Nathan MacKinnon
Leafs Winner: Auston Matthews
Well, I guess the fact that we all agreed on Matthews isn’t really a big surprise but MacKinnon vs. Panarin is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Raptors don’t have a superstar, but they do have Nick Nurse

All too often you never hear the Toronto Raptors in the playoff conversation because they have no superstar. What if I told you, they do have a superstar. With the NBA supposedly engaging in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the NBA season, the season might be closer than you think. The Toronto […]
The Toronto Raptors don’t have a superstar, but they do have Nick Nurse – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Top Leafs Players Outside the NHL #10 Mac Hollowell

Taking overagers in the draft has never been my thing. It’s a bad philosophy to have as a blanket rule, but generally there is a lot of appeal in getting players with more development time available, and many of those overagers will still be available as free agents the following spring.  Now, my personal drafting preference really isn’t the point of this post, except to acknowledge that in the particular instance it might have put me on the wrong side of history as Mac Hollowell seems to be developing nicely.
Hollowell is another player that is undersized by pro hockey standards, as he’s only 5’10 and 170 lbs. He’s not going to be an intimidating, bruising defensemen, and while I can appreciate the need for smart physical play on the blueline, Mac Hollowell’s skillset is important as well, and having a smart capable puck moving who can quarterback powerplays, and drive offense from the blueline.
Hollowell came to the Leafs via the Soo Greyhounds, a team that both Dubas and Keefe have plenty of familiarity with and there’s something to be said about going with a player you …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Hell yes, Larry Walker is a finally a Hall of Famer

Better late than never. On his 10th and final time on the Hall of Fame ballot, Canadian legend Larry Walker has been voted into Cooperstown with 76.6 percent of votes.

In doing so, Walker became the second Canadian ever to be inducted to baseball’s Hall of Fame, joining Fergie Jenkins who was voted in back in 1991. Walker is undoubtedly the best Canadian baseball player of all-time and it’s a huge win for Canadian baseball to finally see him get enshrined in Cooperstown.

STAND UP, CANADA!
MAPLE RIDGE, BC NATIVE LARRY WALKER IS HEADED TO COOPERSTOWN!
CONGRATS @Cdnmooselips33! #HOF2020 pic.twitter.com/8UYBJ7SIYi
— Baseball Canada (@baseballcanada) January 21, 2020

Hall of Famer Larry Walker wearing a Hall of Fame shirt. pic.twitter.com/yiik3GQzkH
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) January 21, 2020

This was Walker’s final go-around on the Hall of Fame ballot. If he didn’t get voted in this year, there was a decent chance he never would, unless the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee got him in. This is a pretty monumental shift for Walker, as he managed just 34.1 percent in 2018 was nearly voted off the ballot with 10.2 percent in 2014.
Walker was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Brad Marchand got really mad online

The first rule of Twitter is the most important one of all — never tweet. Seldom does anything good come from wading into the internet’s garbage bin and engaging with its inhabitants.

If you must break that rule, you really ought to follow the second most important rule of Twitter, which is don’t get mad online. You might be mad, but, since you’re hiding behind a screen, nobody has to know that you’re mad. As soon as you get mad online, you’ve lost. There’s no coming back from that.
Brad Marchand broke both of these rules on Tuesday night. It wasn’t pretty.
If you haven’t been paying attention the past few days, Marchand handed the Philadelphia Flyers a win in front of their notoriously aggressive fans by just skating over the puck in the shootout. Here it is if you missed it. Enjoy watching it, like, one hundred times.

Marchand became the pit of everyone’s joke the next day, with GIFs and screenshots of his gaffe showing up everywhere. In an attempt to show just how unphased …

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Author: h0ckeyfan / The Leafs Nation

Sheldon Keefe Brings a Different Perspective – Both On and Off the Ice

I try to make a habit of never delivering hit pieces, as a general principle.
When I was in college, I damn near turned alcoholic consumption into an Olympic sport. I once got grounded — as a senior in high school — for forgetting to tell my parents I was spending the night at a friend’s house and then slunk home the next morning toting a hefty parking ticket earned for illegally leaving my car in front of her house.
My first post-grad boyfriend broke up with me because I was, per him, “just too mean to deal with every day”. Stones and glasshouses, and all that.
So it was entirely in jest that I offered up a ‘holier-than-thou hit piece’ on Sheldon Keefe and the relationship he had back in the day with disgraced player agent and coach, David Frost. But given that I promised I’d deliver the piece the day Babcock got canned ~*on the day that Babcock got canned*~, it’s hard not to deliver the goods — as best I possibly can.
So. Sheldon Keefe, eh?
Keefe has, by all accounts, been a phenomenal, forward-thinking coach as he’s quickly risen up the ranks of the hockey …

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Author: Cat Silverman / The Leafs Nation