Weighing rolling four lines vs. three lines plus specialists for the Leafs

We’ve just passed the quarter of the season mark, there is a lot of hockey left, why are you making a case for a shorter bench?
One of the better parts of the season has been what Spezza and Simmonds have done on the fourth line, why would you take that away?
These are my primary arguments for no matter what seems like the better approach in the long run, in the short term the idea of sticking with rolling four lines at 5v5 makes a lot of sense. That being said, the season is long, and eventually playoff races will heat up, and there will come a time when the Leafs need to be a bit more focused about how they deploy their players, and under Sheldon Keefe, the fourth line does still find around 10 minutes of icetime a night at 5v5.
When it comes to 5v5, the Leafs peak usage is with Auston Matthews playing 16:37 a night since the beginning of last season. Marner is the only other player averaging over 15 minutes, and regular fourth liners like Simmonds and Spezza are at the other end of the scale still playing around 9 minutes a night of 5v5. The …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A Fortnight On The Farm: Volume Eight

The full season farm teams are at or just passed the 3/4 mark, the majority of likely promotions among them have occurred (apart from those driven by the specific needs of any given team) though I should not be surprised to see some complex team players added to the D-Jays down the stretch. At this point in the season, some players have slowed due to fatigue (particularly given the absence of a season at all last year) and some presumably have flagged and then gotten their wind again. Shorter trends can be misleading, so we’ll take that into account.

Buffalo
For basically the whole season I’ve put the spotlight on Kevin Smith, and now he’s in the majors. Recently the team enjoyed the arrival of Otto Lopez but he, also, was with the big team for much of the past week (in 11 games before the promotion he seemed to have hardly missed a beat, with an .814 OPS). Scanning down the list of hitters you’ll find those on top are promoted or traded or otherwise left the team. Those left are mostly veterans. Nonetheless, this is the one among the teams in the system enjoying success, sitting in …

Read More

Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs have done a good job of addressing their needs, but still need to improve

Leafs have done a good job of addressing their needs, but still need to improve

We’ve just passed the first 24 hour period of free agency with the Leafs adding anyone new. This lull gives us a little time to assess what’s been done so far. Initially this post was going to be published Saturday morning, but we went back to the drawing board following the Ondrej Kase, and Nick Ritchie additions. Now we can go back to our original questions:
How has Kyle Dubas done so far this offseason? What still needs to be done and who would you target to address it? A handful of our TLN writers weigh-in:
Michael Mazzei:
The Leafs’ additions so far are not the flashiest of names when compared to what else was available on the open market. But considering the team had little cap space to work with, I think Dubas has done alright to begin free agency. Mrazek should work well with Campbell splitting starts throughout the year. Bunting has the potential to be a Hyman replacement and be a pest that has been severely lacking in the top-six. Ho-Sang has a ton of untapped potential that could finally be realized in Toronto. Kampf may just be the shutdown centre the Leafs have been longing …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 players who are not returning next season

Toronto Raptors: 3 players who are not returning next season

The NBA trade deadline has passed, and the Toronto Raptors were sellers. They parted ways with one of their most dominant scorers in Norman Powell, sending him to Portland for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. The Raptors also shed bench players in Terence Davis and Matt Thomas. The final year and a half of sharpshooter […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 players who are not returning next season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Raptors Rewind: Does Chris Bosh deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

Earlier this season, Chris Bosh was passed over as a Hall of Fame finalist. Is the once-upon-a-time Toronto Raptor deserving of enshrinement in Springfield, MA? An 11-time NBA All-Star and twice crowned a world champion, Chris Bosh ranks in the top 5 career scoring lists for two different NBA franchises – the Miami Heat, and […]
Raptors Rewind: Does Chris Bosh deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Alex Horowitz / Raptors HQ

The fire sale came as expected, but the return wasn’t what we hoped

The trade deadline has passed and we’ve officially been catapulted into a new era. For the first time in the Mark Shapiro era, the front office has a team comprised fully of their guys as everyone (apologies to Justin Smoak, Dalton Pompey, Ryan Tepera, and Devon Travis) from the previous regime has been let go.

Back in late May, I talked about the next few months as being critical for the Shapiro front office’s rebuild. Beyond having a high pick in the draft and some extra money to fool around with in international free agency, the Jays had some of the best pitchers on the trade market for a selling team. After flubbing Josh Donaldson by hanging onto him for too long, it was critical for the front office to maximize the returns of Marcus Stroman, Ken Giles, and Aaron Sanchez, the three remaining players of value inherited from the previous era.
When writing about the impending fire sale and what it could mean for the rebuild, I looked back at some comparable trades to get an idea of what we could be looking at in return for a year-and-a-half of a quality starter like Stroman and a …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation