It looks like the Vancouver Canadians are becoming an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics

Here’s some bad news for Blue Jays fans out west.

It appears as though the Vancouver Canadians, who have been the Blue Jays’ short-season rookie ball affiliate since 2011, are becoming a full-season affiliate for the Oakland Athletics.

interesting baseball development (to my interests + geography, anyways)
According to @susanslusser article, the @vancanadians MLB affiliate may be changing from the #BlueJays to the #Athletics.
+ moving up a level with minor league restructuring?https://t.co/XEhwISwu10 pic.twitter.com/XoKy9Qx8s6
— Mike McKinnon (@mikemckinnon) October 20, 2020

The original Vancouver Canadians played in the Pacific League back in the Good Old Days with the Edmonton Trappers and Calgary Cannons. But, in 2000, they got purchased by new ownership and packed up and moved south to Sacramento, California. Calgary and Edmonton would soon follow.
Immediately after the original Canadians moved south, a new Canadians franchise popped up and became a Class-A affiliate for the A’s. They would be an Oakland affiliate from 2000 to 2010 before reaching a deal to become one of the Blue Jays’ rookie ball teams.
So, really, affiliating with Oakland isn’t anything new, it’s actually a throwback. It’s just a shame that fans in Vancouver and the rest …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marlies News and Notes: Sabourin signs, Bracco departs

You know it’s a slow news day when we’re putting together Marlies roundups, but here we are. This is life a week after free agency, and hopefully this isn’t how we roll for the foreseeable future. I guess beggars can’t be choosers and Marlies news is better than nothing, so here we go.
First up…

News: We’ve signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year AHL contract. #ForeverStartsHere
Details >> https://t.co/zGf1tnKBaA pic.twitter.com/65WAD4tHVE
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) October 16, 2020

Does that name sound familiar? Here’s why…

Yes, the Marlies brought in the guy that Auston Matthews mocked at the beginning of last season. That should make for an interesting training camp meetup, but it’s doubtful they’ll cross paths too often as Sabourin is on an AHL deal and will be on the Marlies rink as soon as it opens up.
Sabourin gives the Marlies a little toughness as well, which is interesting that added it, after bringing back Rich Clune yesterday.
Toronto Marlies re-sign Rich Clune to one-year AHL contract

Sabourin is also coming off a season with a rather serious injury from a poorly placed hit.



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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

LeafsPR does us dirty and announces Denis Malgin’s loan agreement

News is news, and on most days in the offseason this would be fine, but on draft day, in a week that includes free agency, and all those other fun things that go along with it, this was a tad underwhelming.

The @MapleLeafs have loaned forward Denis Malgin to Lausanne HC (Switzerland) #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 6, 2020

Malgin, who is from Switzerland, will be driving up the road to play for one of the Swiss teams while he waits to return to North America. This is a great situation for him, as well as the Leafs, as the Swiss League might be one of the better options talent wise for AHL/NHL tweeners at the moment.
The Lausanne team features former Leaf/Marlie Josh Jooris, and few other recognizable names in Mark Barbiero, Brian Gibbons, and Cory Conacher. Probably a sign that the team will be somewhat competitive.
As noted the other day, the Leafs have lent out Mikko Lehtonen, Kristians Rubins, Egor Korshkov, and Filip Kral, along with having prospects like Mikko Kokkonen, Pontus Holmberg, Filip Hallinder, and others playing overseas at the moment.
It certainly doesn’t hurt Malgin, a player that shows some promise and as a 23 …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Alejandro Kirk has been added to the Blue Jays’ Taxi Squad

Somewhat buried behind all of the trade deadline news on Monday was Alejandro Kirk, one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects, getting added to the team’s Taxi Squad.

The #BlueJays have added highly regarded catching prospect Alejandro Kirk to their taxi squad, per sources. He’s flying with the club to Miami.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) August 31, 2020

Kirk rose up the Blue Jays’ prospect rankings last year after putting up big offensive numbers between Low- and High-A. He slashed a .299/.427/.519 line in Lansing over 21 games, and then got called up to Dunedin and slashed a .288/.395/.446 line, which is impressive given the fact the Florida State League is notoriously pitcher-friendly.
The Blue Jays haven’t been able to get any offence from the catcher position this season. Reese McGuire has just three hits (and no walks!!!) over 38 plate appearances and Danny Jansen’s .573 OPS is lower than the mark of .640 he put up last season.
Calling up Kirk, who’s more of a bat-first catcher, might help that situation.
But, another thing to consider is that Kirk isn’t on the 40-man roster, so somebody else would have to be removed in order to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Andreas Johnsson is close to being a 100% healthy boy

Good news out of Leafs land…

Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson joined the special teams portion of practice today at Ford Performance Centre. #LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 30, 2020

This is pretty great progress, especially considering there are still a few more days for him to get in full work before the playoffs start. Now that’s wishful thinking, but admittedly it now seems like a possibility we see Johnsson against the Blue Jackets and who doesn’t want to see more Johnsson?
What to expect from Andreas Johnsson this summer

As for the rest of the practice, well, the lines looked the same as they did yesterday and pretty much how they were used against Montreal:

July 30 @MapleLeafs practice lines and defensive pairings:
Nylander-Matthews-HymanMikheyev-Tavares-MarnerRobertson-Kerfoot-KapanenClifford-Gauthier-SpezzaEngvall
Muzzin-HollRielly-CeciDermott-BarrieSandin-Marincin
AndersenCampbell#LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 30, 2020

That begs the question of where will Johnsson slot in once he’s available.
I can’t see Clifford coming out. I don’t want to see Robertson come out unless things don’t work out in the first couple of games. Seeing Gauthier come out seems unlikely as well as I’m not sure Keefe wants to shift Spezza …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Legend and Folk Hero, Eddie Shack passes away

Sad news out of Leafs land this morning, as one the most beloved ambassadors of the Toronto Maple Leafs passes away. Eddie Shack has passed away at the age of 83.

Nothing speaks to the player more than the song written about him. While Eddie Shack was a player that always belonged to my father more than to me, my father would often speak to Shack’s hard working nature, his love of the game, and the fact that he was a guy who would show up every night. He would be the Leafs deterrent to teams like the Big Bad Bruins, and Broad Street Bullies, and that only added to his legend.
A four time Stanley Cup Champion, including a cup winning goal to his name, a three time All-Star, and despite scoring 20 or more goals for five different teams, it’s hard to imagine Shack as anything but a Maple Leaf, and that’s partially why the Maple Leafs recognized him as the 68th Greatest Maple Leaf of all-time in their centennial season.
On behalf of everyone at The Leafs Nation, our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Eddie Shack. A true …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The NHL wants you to binge hockey

Exciting news everyone, from noon until past midnight (or 10am to 11pm for us Mountain timers) you’ll have the opportunity to do nothing but watch hockey.
From Bob McKenzie:
The plan is to play three games a day both in Edmonton and Toronto and the timetable template in local times is to schedule those games at noon, 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Now, keep in mind the two-hour time difference between Edmonton and Toronto. It means basically there’s going to be six games a day spread out over a 15-hour window, if not longer.
That sounds damn good to me and having games in other time zones is paying off.
Of course the immediate question is what about Overtime and Bob McKenzie’s thoughts are:
In the preliminary round, when you’ve got four placement teams in the East and the West – the top four teams in each conference – playing seeding games, there isn’t unlimited overtime. So, what they will do there, they’ll just use regular season overtime and shootout. They would put those games in the 4:00 spot to try and make up time if the first game …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Around the NHL: Collective Bargaining Updates

Yesterday was a wall of news from Bob McKenzie. He provided an update on the non-announcement of Hub Cities, which we could see today. (Hopefully, please). And he also gave a ton of new information on what is going on in regards to the NHL vs. NHLPA labour discussions. Below is a breakdown of some of the key information he shared that will possibly form the next collective agreement.

On CBA extension, worth noting, the existing deal has two seasons remaining: 2020-21 and 2021-22. Will the extension be for additional 3 years? Or 4 years? Or is it 3 plus a mutual opt-out/opt-in for the 4th? CBA extension is essential for both sides to chart economic future(s).
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2020
This seems like an absolute dream for the NHL. Coming out of the pandemic the league will no longer have to worry about a more controllable stoppage. The Seattle expansion team will get an honest run to start and not be shut down months after starting, and TV contracts can be negotiated knowing the product will be on TV. As for the players, it’s debatable how much leverage they had left after they decided not to reopen …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs prospect changes KHL teams

Okay, so it’s not exactly big news, but it’s something that happened to a Leafs prospect, so here it is if you are interested…

Confirmed: Semyon Kizimov (F) | Lada Togliatti -> Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod | https://t.co/okirlmzAhx #KHL
— EP Transfers (@ep_transfers) June 29, 2020
Official Announcement translated via google:
Hockey club “Lada” made an exchange with the Nizhny Novgorod “Torpedo”. Tolyatti club received monetary compensation for the rights to Semyon Kizimov .
For two seasons in the “Lada” Kizimov played in 103 matches, gaining 27 (9 + 18) points.
So, yeah, that happened.
There wasn’t any danger of Semyon Kizimov being brought over to the Leafs or Marlies anytime soon, and perhaps this will get the 20 year old winger playing in the KHL sooner rather than later, as he has spent the past two seasons in the second tier VHL in Russia.
Kizimov has always been a bit of a long shot prospect for the Leafs, but given their ability to find Russian talent of late it’s hard to completely discard the idea that long shots like Kizimov and Kara might someday be players that we …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

MLB is reportedly set to offer players prorated salaries for a ~50-game season

Finally, some good news. It appears as though the owners have caved in their desire to squeeze money out of the players, meaning we could be nearing an agreement for some kind of 2020 season to get started.

According to Jeff Passan, MLB is intending to propose a much, much shorter season than originally anticipated, but they’ll also make good on the agreement from back in March, which is to pay players a prorated version of their salaries depending on how long the season is.

The potential season Major League Baseball envisions would run somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 regular-season games, sources told ESPN. The exact number is being considered, but the aim would be to return in July. It would be less than half of players’ proposed season length.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020

It’s very clear that the goal of the owners is still to pay the players as little as possible, hence the outrageously short season. I would imagine that the logic from the owners’ standpoint is that they’ll cave on the prorated salaries, cut the losses by having fewer regular-season games, and then recoup a bunch of cash with …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation