Blue Jays can’t solve New York’s bullpen as Yankees win series opener

It seems the Yankees can, in fact, beat teams other than Baltimore, Kansas City, and Detroit.

New York picked up a 3-2 win in Toronto on Monday night in the series opener and stretched their winning streak to 10 games in the process.
Things worth mentioning…
It was yet another game of limp bats for the Blue Jays as the team managed just two runs off of Jordan Montgomery and New York’s bullpen. All of Toronto’s offence came when the team mounted a rally in the fourth inning, as George Springer singled, Bo Bichette drove him in with a double, and Matt Chapman drove in another run with a single. The Blue Jays had plenty of opportunities, but they couldn’t manage to cash in. Bo Bichette and Vladdy Jr. led off the sixth inning with a single and a walk but Lourdes Gurriel killed the rally with a double play. In the eighth, it was Chapman grounding into a double play with Vladdy and Gurriel on first and second.
The bottom of the order almost scored a run late as Tyler Heineman laced a double into right field with Alejandro Kirk on first. As hard as the Locomotive can chug, Kirk obviously isn’t scoring from first unless there’s divine interventio …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Evaluating the Leafs’ 2021 free agent signings by projected contract value

The Leafs, like every other team in the NHL, went into the 2021 offseason hoping to improve their team. There are many ways to evaluate if they acheived their goal: one of those is by regular counting stats; another way would be by Wins Above Replacement.
Another way is to build a model to project what a player should be getting paid on their contract, and see if the Leafs’ new signings are underpaid or overpaid. Of course, I’m not smart enough to do that, so we’ll use the contract projection models of others, specifically Evolving Hockey and Dobber Hockey.
Toronto did make a number of changes this offseason, but instead of comparing the additions (players who joined) to the subtractions (players who aren’t returning) like in the previous posts I linked above, today is only about the the contracts that the Leafs signed. Specifically, it’s about whether those new additions, and the other players Toronto re-signed, have contracts that are a positive value.
As we well know, in the salary cap era, it’s as important to identify good players as it is to manage their cap hit. We also know that while Dubas and company …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Dougie Hamilton being shopped as a sign and trade, and how interest should the Leafs be?

Rumours: Dougie Hamilton being shopped as a sign and trade, and how interest should the Leafs be?

The other thing this does: allows Hamilton to see if the Hurricanes do make the best offer for him…potentially allowing for a return if he doesn’t like what he sees out there. Very interesting manoeuvre by team and player
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 14, 2021

Following up on @FriedgeHNIC report on the Dougie Hamilton situation with Carolina. Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry was granted permission yesterday to speak to clubs which could encourage a sign and trade and option of an 8th year on term. Neither side is any rush at this point.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 14, 2021

So this might be less of a rumour and more of a factual statement based on what Elliotte Friedman is reporting, and what Darren Dreger is confirming. It might also not involve the Leafs in anyway, but given the lack of other rumours out there and the fact that Toronto fans have speculated on Hamilton joining the Leafs since pretty much the day Toronto’s pick was used by Boston to draft him, we might as well join in and talk about Dougie Hamilton this week.
First off, I want to remind you that your museum joke isn’t particularly clever. So …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Playoff Preview: While it’s unlikely the Leafs will face the Jets, they might be the toughest North Division competition for Toronto

When we set out to do our playoff previews and look at the three other North Division playoff bound teams, the Jets were the interesting wild card in this. They were either going to continue to slide in the standings to the point where they would be facing the Leafs, or they would barely cling to the 3rd spot in the division and end up facing the Oilers and could fall victim to the Connor McDavid show, making this preview as useless as an air traffic controller in Winnipeg.
Still for the sake of thoroughness and recognizing that eventually Mike Smith will come back down to Earth and hard, it seems worthwhile looking at the Winnipeg Jets, a team I was crazy enough to pick to get past the Oilers despite things like this…

Prediction: Oilers in 5 over Jets pic.twitter.com/mni0MggjQ3
— MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) May 12, 2021

So that is an uphill battle. That doesn’t mean the Jets can’t pull it off, but they are the first test to see if Connor McDavid will continue scoring at a 1980s pace or whether having a Vezina caliber goaltender is enough to make up for the complete lack of …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A Fortnight on the Farm: Volume One

Given that there are several other relatively high profile Jays blogs doing the daily farm update thing, I decided that my contribution would be to zoom out a bit and let stats and events accumulate over a couple of weeks at a time rather than the very narrow snapshot of a single day’s action.

Over the course of the season, as more data accumulates, more definitive observations can be made. For now all the following comes with an obvious “small sample size” caveat. As in years past, I’ll start at the top and work down one week, then at the bottom and work my way up next time.
Buffalo-Trenton ThunderBisons
The AAA squad has a heavy share of non-prospect veterans, and it’s probably not informative to judge a guy with a lot of major league games based on less than 10 games at the start of a season, but tip your cap to Christian Colon who’s hitting a robust .417 (1.406 OPS) while playing mostly the outfield. I’m going to use him as a rule of thumb and say if you haven’t played 8 of 12 games so far I’m not even going to try to get a …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs’ regular season report cards

It was a regular season like no other as the seven Canadian clubs battled it out amongst themselves for North Division supremacy, with the Leafs coming out on top at the end of the 56 game schedule. The team as a whole had an incredible season – arguably the best in franchise history – and it came on the backs of some fantastic individual performances.
As the Leafs prepare for what they hope will be a long playoff run, it seems like a good time to reflect on how each player contributed to the team’s strong showing in the regular season. Expectations and role have been considered for each individual, so while a 30 point season is enough to earn Jason Spezza high marks, similar production wouldn’t be as impressive for someone like William Nylander or John Tavares.
Let’s get to the grades.
Reply in the comment section and share your regular season player grades.
Forwards
Auston Matthews | A+
52 GP, 41 G, 25 A, 66 P
Matthews was a dominant force all season long, earning the first Rocket Richard Trophy of his career and scoring at a pace that would have easily shattered the single season franchise goal scoring record over the course of …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

My goodness, Vladdy just went absolutely nuclear on the Nationals

When Max Scherzer is starting for the other team, you sorta kinda accept that it’s more than likely going to be a scheduled loss and that it’s going to be a bit of a slog watching your team get mowed down. That is absolutely not what happened on Tuesday night.

Amidst the general frustration that Springer Day was cancelled, Vlad Jr. absolutely went off. He drilled two bombs, including a grand slam, off of Scherzer and then added another homer later in the game to complete the hat-trick. Holy shit, what a spectacle. Just in case there was still an inkling of doubt left out there, yes, Vladdy has arrived.
Here’s one:

A #PLAKATA, but make it G R A N D pic.twitter.com/IZZXYWPaYC
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 28, 2021

Here’s two:

Video Game Vlad does it AGAIN pic.twitter.com/1BrP4I2muK
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 28, 2021

Here’s three:

THREE homers. SEVEN RBI.
He’s here pic.twitter.com/IYutrypJwU
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 28, 2021

Things worth mentioning…

The Blue Jays absolutely pounded the ball on Tuesday night, coming up with eight of the game’s nine hardest exit velocities. There’s Vlad, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It was 3-1. Toronto Maple Leafs complete late comeback over Edmonton Oilers

So this is what it’s like being on the other side of a late game collapse against a divisional rival.
After a night spent out-chancing the Edmonton Oilers, and ringing more posts than an Amazon driver rings doorbells, the Toronto Maple Leafs erased a 3-1 deficit with under eight minutes remaining in the game to win 4-3 in overtime.
After a quiet first period that saw no goals or penalties, Pierre Engvall opened the scoring in the second period by not punching in a goal. Initially it was ruled no goal due to a hand pass, but the replay showed that despite reaching out, Engvall’s glove never made contact with the puck.

PIERRE ENGVALL
Off Mike Smith’s head! pic.twitter.com/hk28cpwaN5
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021

The next period and a half was spent watching McDavid and Draisaitl do things that only McDavid and Draisaitl can do (which may or may not include putting up multiple points in a loss). With ex-Leaf Tyson Barrie extending the Oilers lead to two, it seemed like Toronto’s grasp on the North Division lead was about to further slip.
Instead, John Tavares decided to show why he’s the Captain and …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

How a wasted pick in Frederik Gauthier was salvaged

The other day we found out our beloved Goat, Frederik Gauthier, is parting ways and likely heading to the Coyotes on a PTO. I guess, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone, but with him heading to UFA in the first place, it seems like the Leafs were ready to cut ties with the center.

Sounds like former TOR C Frederik Gauthier is weighing a PTO w/ARIZ. The Coyotes are looking for a centre.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 22, 2020

Gauthier had a very interesting tenure with Toronto for someone who maxed out as a fourth line center, but then again, your career is always going to be interesting when you play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It also shouldn’t be surprising when you’re a first round pick. In 2013, the then-Dave Nonis led Leafs selected Gauthier with the 21st pick, and aside from the Leafs themselves and some of the MSM who still had an old school mindset, it was a widely panned pick. Not only were there players like Andre Burakovsky and Shea Theodore still available to take, it was pretty well known that Gauthier’s ceiling was a bottom six center, and that was if …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

One Thing on Each Leaf’s Holiday Wishlist

‘Tis the season, and while it’s unlike any other we’ve experienced before, there’s still a little bit of holiday spirit in the air, as households are finding unique ways to celebrate this year.
Much like the holidays, the Leafs are also about to head into a season unlike any other, as it’ll not only be shortened and rushed, they might also face off against only Canadian teams, at least to start the season.
The holidays are also a time of giving (and receiving) gifts, and everyone has something that they really want. So, to have a bit of fun, let’s figure out what the Leafs want for the holidays as they approach the beginning of their 2020-21 season.
Auston Matthews: Leaguewide Respect
Last season saw Matthews rise to elite status, as he almost hit 50 goals for the first time in his career and stepped up his defensive game. And yet, it seems crazy to mention him in the same conversation as MacKinnon or Draisaitl when he is as good (or even better) than them, just because hockey fans are afraid to admit that a Leafs player is good. He’s easily a top 5 player among …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation