Toronto Raptors: After the draft Raptors need frontcourt players

Toronto Raptors: After the draft Raptors need frontcourt players

The 2020 NBA Draft is over, and the Toronto Raptors have some major decisions to make to fill out their roster. The major question is Fred VanVleet truly a priority, or is finding frontcourt players? Officially, November 20th, 2020 is the date that NBA general managers, including Bobby Webster of the Toronto Raptors, can begin […]
Toronto Raptors: After the draft Raptors need frontcourt players – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

A Halloween edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ newest signings

Kyle Dubas has been busy over the last couple of days working to get two players signed to contracts. One is Joey Anderson, who was the other piece in the Andreas Johnsson trade. The other was Michael Hutchinson, who most recently was on the Colorado Avalanche, playing playoff hockey.
Are the signings good and what do they mean for the future of the Maple Leafs? Well, both likely won’t be on the Leafs unless Anderson makes it next season. Hutchinson will likely be sent down to the Toronto Marlies and will play there next season, if there is one.
These are two interesting signings though. And here’s why (Happy Halloween!):

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays Should Prioritize Improving the Bullpen This Winter

If you watched the Blue Jays over their truncated 2020 season, you probably came away impressed with the work of their bullpen.

Due to the weird nature of the season, the team took advantage, shoved a bunch of their AAA starters into the bullpen, and relied heavily on them. They eschewed traditional defined roles, yanked starting pitchers from ballgames early on, and had the relievers pitch 269.1 innings compared to the starters’ 255.1. This was working very well for the first five weeks of the season, and when the calendar hit September, the Blue Jays’ bullpen ERA was 3.14, good for fourth best in the league.
Because of that, I think if you asked the vast majority of Blue Jays fans right now how the bullpen performed this season, they’d say they were great. I thought they were until I started researching for this article! However, that wasn’t really the case. They absolutely melted down in September, with a 6.77 ERA for the month, finishing the season at 4.71 as a corps, 24th in the league. So it’s completely reasonable that this article from Jays From The Couch made the case for the Blue Jays not needing to prioritize improving their bullpen this …

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Author: Gideon Turk / Blue Jays Nation

Early Off-Season Stuff: The 40-man, Club Options, Qualifying Offers, and more!

The big talk over the past week since the Blue Jays got shoved out of the post-season by the Rays has been what kind of bold moves the front office can make this winter.

Last winter was highlighted by the addition of Hyun Jin Ryu, who signed an $80 million contract. That decision signalled that the front office was ready to invest in this young team and them taking a massive step forward in this year’s COVID-shortened season certainly validated that investment.
But before we worry about signing Trevor Bauer or trading for Francisco Lindor or bringing Jose Bautista back as a pitcher, there’s a whole bunch of other monotonous early off-season business to deal with. Let’s walk through all of it.
At the end of October, somebody is going to be awarded the World Series in Arlington, and, as per usual, it won’t be the Texas Rangers. It won’t be the Blue Jays either, obviously. So why does this matter? Because one day after the World Series gets awarded is when things start to happen.
Trades can resume the next day, five days later is the deadline for tendering qualifying offers to impending free agents …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Mitch Marner and a line change that might just fix the Leafs

It has been over two months since the Leafs were eliminated in the qualifying round by the Blue Jackets, and the time since has sparked an array of ideas trying to determine what went wrong and how the team can solve it. These range from signing a noted defenceman on the Blues, all the way to ludicrous armchair trades that involve moving the stars for grit.
I’m no stranger to this line of thinking (look no further than my post on Frederik Andersen’s future) and it is something we will all experience as sports fans on numerous occasions. But there are sometimes where you come up with a potential solution that seems so ludicrous in theory that it may just work if done in practice. The kind of ideas that makes you look like a conspiracy theorist as you attempt to explain your rationale. Those schemes that only a person with too much free time on their hands would dare to think up in their heads.
I recently had one of those ideas come to me during a conversation with a friend and I believe that it might just crazy enough to work in reality. The title suggests …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs do not qualify Freddie Gauthier, Jeremy Bracco and others

The draft was expected to be over and we’ve now overlapped with the restricted free agent qualifying offer cut off. And the Leafs have opted not to qualify for of their players.

TOR does not qualify Bracco, Gauthier, Rodrigues or Veronneau
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 7, 2020

First off this means that both Ilya Mikheyev and Travis Dermott are qualified as Michael Mazzei covered this morning…
Travis Dermott and Ilya Mikheyev have received qualifying offers from the Leafs

Secondly, this means that the Leafs weren’t able to find middle ground with Evan Rodrigues on how much of a pay cut is fair from the $2M he would have qualified at. The Leafs will still have the exclusive negotiating rights with him until Friday at noon, and something could be worked out, but in reality he’ll test free agency before possibly reconnecting with Dubas about his best offer.
This also potentially ends the Freddie Gauthier era, or in reality it does end The Goat era since if the Leafs didn’t feel like qualifying him at the league minimum, they probably don’t have any interesting in continuing their working relationship. Gauthier had a great attitude, and was a beloved …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Phillies vs Blue Jays 08/20/20 – Odds and MLB Betting Trends

by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
Some noticeable OVER trends abound as the Toronto Blue Jays take on a top offensive team in a doubleheader at their temporary home ballpark that seems to be a launching pad for slugfests.
The Blue Jays host the Philadelphia Phillies in a doubleheader on Thursday, with MLB betting odds set to be posted at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Blue Jays are 10-10 in their last 20 home games against NL East opponents, with the total finishing OVER 14 times. The Phillies are 12-8 in their last 20 away games against AL East foes, but the total has only gone OVER seven times.
Centerfielder Randal Grichuk has hit six home runs in as many games, pushing his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) to 1.056. Grichuk has helped the Blue Jays’ offense rank 24th out of 30 MLB teams in on-base percentage (.305) and seventh in slugging percentage (.445). The Phillies are a solid third at getting on base (.344) and rank second in slugging (.463), which is why they are averaging 5.6 runs per game to Toronto’s 4.5.
So far, the total has gone OVER at betting sites in four of the Blue Jays’ five home games at Sahlen Field …

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Author: Nation World HQ / Blue Jays Nation

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Play-In Game #1

Well that was a huge disappointment.
After over 100 days between games, the Maple Leafs returned to the ice last night to play some meaningful hockey in August. Unfortunately, their opponent the Columbus Blue Jackets executed their game plan to perfection. Shutting down Matthews and Co. en route to a 2-0 win and a 1-0 series lead in this best-of-five.
As always, I would suggest watching the highlight package either beforehand or follow along with it. You can find the video here.
Blue Jackets 1st Goal – Cam Atkinson (Assist Savard)

Goal of the Game goes to the game-winner!#CBJ | @KEMBAfinancial pic.twitter.com/MyBWQ61hjY
— x-Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) August 3, 2020

This goal all starts with some poor puck possession from the Maple Leafs in the neutral zone. Muzzin and Holl fumble around with the puck before Muzzin sends a stretch pass up to Marner at the Blue Jackets blueline. Marner is pressured quickly by Seth Jones, forcing Marner to have to redirect the puck into the Blue Jackets zone. David Savard picks up the loose puck and sends a stretch pass of his own past Marner and onto Cam Atkinson’s stick. Atkinson catches the Leafs on a …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

Brian Moran got claimed by the Marlins

The Brian Moran era is over. The left-handed reliever has been claimed on waivers by the Miami Marlins.

I honestly didn’t even know that Moran had gone on waivers, but logic would indicate that he was the one who was removed from the 40-man roster in order to make room for Nate Pearson earlier this week.
Anyways, that’s that. He’s a Marlin now. You have to feel for the guy. That’s probably the last situation I’d want to be getting myself into.

#BlueJays announce lefty Brian Moran has been claimed off waivers by the Marlins.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 2, 2020

In other news, Sam Gaviglio has been moved to the Blue Jays’ taxi squad and Jonathan Davis has been activated from the Injured List and will report to the team’s Alternate Training Site.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Five Takeaways from the Leafs exhibition game vs Montreal

It’s been over four months and I must say, it’s great to have hockey back.
Last night, the Leafs took on the Montreal Canadiens in a pre-season game. Despite it being July, the game was competitive and both teams looked good in stretches. In general, it’s tough to take too much away from one “exhibition game” but with that said, this was the first and only tune-up before the playoffs start. Sheldon Keefe and the Leafs needed to be in playoff mode, which gives us reason to find value in the different things we noticed.
Here are my five takeaways from the 4-2 victory for the Leafs. 
1. Nick Robertson belongs in the NHL
Two of the biggest questions heading to this game: Will Nick Robertson look like he belongs in the NHL despite being 18 years old? And more importantly, will he look like one of the Leafs’ best 12 forwards? My answers: Yes, and yes.
Robertson didn’t score but he was noticeable on many of his shifts thanks to his work ethic off the puck.
This clip below was probably his most memorable. It was expected that Robertson would …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation