Marcus Semien has signed with the Texas Rangers

Breakups hurt. Trust me, for the past week I’ve been going through one. Just like me, Semien has broken up with the Toronto Blue Jays as he’s signed a 7-year deal with the Texas Rangers per Robert Murray.

BREAKING: Free-agent infielder Marcus Semien is close to a deal with the Texas Rangers, according to sources familiar with the situation.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) November 28, 2021

Semien Rangers deal is believed to be for about $175M over the 7 years
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 28, 2021

While we’ll update the numbers when they come out, it’s painful to see one of the best middle infielders in the league go to Toronto’s punching bag in the ALDS. Should the compensation rules not change with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Blue Jays will receive a pick near 90th overall.
I’ve written ad nauseum about Semien’s incredible season, but while it is sad to see our Gold Glove winning, MVP nominated second baseman leave, there is nothing but love towards Marcus.
I wish nothing but the best and I look forward to seeing the Jays sweep the Rangers in the ALDS (again)
As always, follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

What does the future hold for young Leafs? Will Tavares head to China? Is it time for the Leafs to get a dog?

Here we are just past the quarter mark of the season for the Leafs. It was a rough start, but they’ve truly followed it up with something wonderful, and now that we’re in a good place where the Leafs and playing well and we’re not yet to the point where we think about how that will look in the playoffs, we thought we’d take advantage of a happier Leafs audience and answer some questions…

Is it fair to assume that Josh Ho-Sang will be an NHL regular for the Leafs next season?
— Daniel Tiller (@DanielJTiller) November 22, 2021

Nick DeSouza: It might be a bit early to pencil Ho-Sang into next season’s lineup. Of course, lots can change by then but the forward roster should look pretty similar next year. Toronto currently has nine NHL forwards signed for next season; Matthews, Marner, Tavares, Nylander, Kerfoot, Ritchie, Kampf, Bunting, and Simmonds. To add to this, both Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase are RFA’s this offseason and are having pretty good starts to the season so far. Finally, a healthy Nick Robertson, Joey Anderson should also compete for a spot. Ho-Sang has been really good with the Marlies …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Matthew Knies breaking out, Ty Voit’s underrated start, SDA’s underlying struggles

There was a lot of hockey this past week. From the Toronto Maple Leafs playing four games to multiple CHL and European prospects appearing in three or more, there’s plenty of prospects and storylines to catch up on.
Matthew Knies | LW | Minnesota (Big-10)
What better place to start than with the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Leafs 2021 second-round pick Matthew Knies. He’s been impressive early this season with Minnesota, but a back-to-back against Penn State this past weekend saw Knies truly break out for the first time in his collegiate career.
Knies scored a point on five of Minnesota’s seven goals across their two games against Penn State, a 5-3 loss on Friday and a 4-2 win on Saturday.

Always follow your shot for the rebound, right @GopherMBB ?@Matthew_Knies pic.twitter.com/MN8KB6nxlc
— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) November 20, 2021

The dominant weekend from Knies brings his season totals to seven goals and 14 points in 14 games. He is tied with Tampa Bay prospect Sammy Walker for the team lead in goals and has sole possession of the team lead in points. Simply put, you couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season than …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Around the NHL: Random questions with the Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

This past weekend, fellow writer Nick Barden and myself had the opportunity to cover the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend, which included a media Q&A, the Legends game, and the actual induction ceremony.
Of course, this being my first time covering an event of this caliber, I had no idea how the Q&A process would be, figuring it would be more that all the writers stayed in their seats and asked questions, not so much an actual media scrum.
So, my prep for this event was thinking of questions that wouldn’t be asked by other writers, and less story focused, so I don’t exactly have enough content for a specific story (I know, I’m great at this whole journalism thing). But, I did have some interesting questions to ask some of the inductees, and I was genuinely surprised how many of them gave honest answers, as opposed to the usual hockey answers that beat around the bush to not offend anyone.
I couldn’t let those answers go unheard, so here is just the conversations all thrown together.
Marian Hossa
So initially I actually wanted to talk to Hossa about the Kyle …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Free agent departures: Andersen’s red hot start with the Hurricanes and more

Free agent departures: Andersen’s red hot start with the Hurricanes and more

This past off-season, the Toronto Maple Leafs parted ways with a handful of players, including some Leafs that were with the organization for five or more years. It was definitely sad seeing them sign with a new team in the off-season, but it was also inevitable due to the contracts they received from their new teams and the salary cap situation in Toronto, of course. With the departures of the former Leafs, Toronto was forced to replace them by committee with the given cap space after they signed elsewhere.
With that said, since the 2021-22 NHL season is well underway with three weeks under its belt, I thought it’d be a pretty cool idea to check in on some former Maple Leafs and how they are doing thus far on their new squad.
 
1. Zach Hyman – EDM – 29 years old – LW/RW
2021-22 stats: 7 GP – 6 G – 1 A – 7 PTS – 18:31 TOI
Contract: 7 years x $5.5M 
For me, personally, this was the hardest departure this past off-season with the Maple Leafs, and I think the majority of people will agree with me on this as well. Zach Hyman was such a great player with this organization and an even better human being if you …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Should Steven Matz receive a qualifying offer this off-season?

After narrowly missing the playoffs this past season, there’s no question the Toronto Blue Jays have a very interesting off-season ahead of them, beginning with deciding which players should receive a qualifying offer.

In total, the Blue Jays are slated to have 12 players hit free agency once it opens, although only three of them (Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz) are potential candidates to warrant this type of offer. Once the 2021 World Series concludes, the front office will possess just five full days to submit these offers, afterwards, any player who receives one will have 10 days to accept or decline.
Though an official amount hasn’t been set just yet, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported this year’s qualifying offer is expected to be valued at $18.4 million, down from last season’s $18.9 million figure.
On the surface, both Ray and Semien are obvious choices to be tied to qualifying offers this winter, however, they’ll each likely decline and opt to enter the free-agent market instead. Beyond this duo, Matz is the only other player on the roster who belongs in this conversation, but there’s some debate about whether he’s worthy enough to command such a …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Burning Question: Will the Leafs make it beyond the first round this year?

Over the course of the past couple of weeks we’ve been running some Burning Questions posts on this site, trying to deal with some of the big questions surrounding the Leafs. The one big burning question that has always been left looming is the one that has a lot of fans willing to completely throwaway or ignore the regular season and focus entirely on the postseason, and that question is “Is this the year the Leafs finally make it out of the first round?”
We’ll start with the fact that it’s impossible to know for sure. Law of averages say that a team as good as the Leafs will eventually have something break their way instead of things going against them, and they’ll get there. I can appreciate that appeal to the math of it. The problem with math though is that it ignores the fact that it’s the Leafs we’re talking about. They’ve always been able to find new spectacular ways to have things fall apart on them. No other team blows a 4-1 lead in a game seven, no other team loses to an emergency backup goaltender that they employ, no …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

This season was only the beginning of the Blue Jays’ competitive window

After a hard-fought battle over the past six months, the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2021 season came to a disappointing end as they finished just 1.0 game shy of the American League Wild Card chase, although all isn’t lost for this promising organization.

While the wound remains fresh for the fanbase, and rightly so, they won’t have to look very far to become excited once again regarding this team’s future. Sure, this might not be the conversation most fans want to have right now, but with the off-season just around the corner, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that this franchise has brighter days ahead of it.
Though key free agents like Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz are slated to hit the open market next month, putting that trio aside, the Blue Jays’ roster already consists of a strong core of position players and pitchers that should allow them to remain competitive for several years to come.
Core Position Player Pieces
Starting with Toronto’s breakout superstar, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took the baseball world by storm this season, as he completely overcame last season’s disappointing performance and directly put himself into the conversation for the AL …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs depth will likely see Robertson start with the Marlies

Nick Robertson called this past season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies a “rough one.” He suffered a knee injury, an oblique injury during the middle of the year, and a concussion that ended his season. The 20-year-old, though, is ready to flip the script and enter a brand new chapter.
“I’m excited. I think, first off, I’m healthy, right. Last year, I had to deal with an injury prior to camp, and having multiple injuries during the year ruined my momentum and my overall confidence.” Said Robertson to the media at the beginning of Leafs development camp. “So now, I’m healthy, I’m ready to go and now the season’s looking more like normal, starting in October, longer season, fans back in the building, so I’m looking forward to that.“
Entering this development camp, two things that Senior Director of Player Development, Hayley Wickenheiser, echoed for Robertson was to “dial it back a bit” and allow the play to come to him. Through the camp, he improved on being more patient with opportunities, said Wickenheiser. For dialling it back, though, I don’t believe Robertson will do that anytime soon.

Hayley Wickenheiser …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Toronto Maple Leafs Bet on Matthew Knies and His Tale of Two Seasons

Scouting the past year and a half has been strange, to say the least. No OHL games were played, resulting in numerous prospects heading overseas to play in random European leagues. The QMJHL started…then stopped for five weeks. WHL prospects played minimal games but were limited to in-division opponents only. And biggest of all, at any time a team or player could be shut down and have their entire season impacted with a positive COVID test.
That last group is the one that Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 second-round pick Matthew Knies falls into and is a major factor as to why the Leafs decided to bet on Knies despite a relatively disappointing season in the USHL.
Heading into the 2020/21 USHL season, expectations were high for Knies. The previous year, Knies had led the USHL in total points and points-per-game among prospects eligible for the 2021 Draft. That’s more points than Matt Coronato and Mackie Samoskevich, two USHL regulars who went in the first round, as well as a higher scoring rate than the USNTDP’s Matthew Beniers and Chaz Lucius, who also became first-round picks.

When the 2020/21 season started though, it was a struggle out of the gate for Knies. …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation