Adam Brooks is having NHL stretch to remember with Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing really, really well. Auston Matthews scored his 37th and 38th goal on Saturday night. Both Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton got points and extended their streak to five-straight games. Even Adam Brooks was going in this one — scoring his fourth goal in eight games this season.
Another player that had a good game was Alex Galchenyuk, who scored his first goal in seven games. Right now, it seems like the Leafs are doing everything right and I just want the playoffs to happen. Immediately.
There’s a lot to discuss about Saturday night’s game! I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Vladdy has arrived. What’s he doing differently now and will it be sustained?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is playing on another level right now.

A triple slash of .389/.507/.667 is Bonds-esque, his 232 wRC+ ranks fourth in all of baseball behind, Acuna Jr, Trout and Mercedes. His 1.2 WAR is tied for second and matches what Vlad did in 2019 and 2020 combined. What’s most impressive about this stretch isn’t necessarily the power and the big exit velocity, it’s his plate discipline. Vlad has 11 walks and 11 strikeouts. This is the Vlad Guerrero Jr. everyone saw in the minor leagues.
We have never seen Vlad hit this well for this length of time in the big leagues. Seriously, look at his stats by week on this FanGraphs leaderboard; three of the six best weeks of Vlad’s career have been this season.  So what is Vlad doing differently this time around? Is this just another hot streak and how does this streak compare to other successful stretches for Vlad?
First, we need to establish the best stretches of Vlad’s career. Using the leaderboard above, I went through and found the five best stretches of Vlad’s young career.

Year
Dates
Plate Appearances
wRC+

2019
May 11 – May 31
76
163

2019
July 19 – August 4
66
241

2019
August 10 – August 30
61
152

2020
August 16 – August 30
63
172

2021
April  1 – April 18
67
232

Vlad has had …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Practice Shenanigans: Robertson promoted to the second line, Matthews and Nylander return, Sandin participates

Despite the Leafs not playing a game on Saturday night, they still made things interesting with what happened on the ice.

#Leafs lines at practiceGalchenyuk-Matthews-MarnerRobertson-Tavares-NylanderMikheyev-Kerfoot-HymanThornton-Spezza-Simmondsextra: Engvall, Brooks
DefenceRielly-BrodieMuzzin-HollDermott-BogosianExtra: Marincin, Liljegren Sandin
GoaliesCampbellRittich
— David Alter (@dalter) April 17, 2021

The key thing to notice here is that Nick Robertson will be getting a shot on the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander, which is a well-deserved honour. Robertson has been very noticeable in his three games since getting brought up and is playing with intensity on each passing shift. Similar to how managed to make the roster during the 2020 bubble, he has willed his way into a bigger role and has forced Sheldon Keefe into making a tough decision on who to take out so Robertson can play.
Judging by the pairings, it appears that Pierre Engvall is going to be a healthy scratch as a result of this move and I imagine this is Keefe’s way of sending the Swedish centre a message. Engvall has had a rough stretch of games predating Robertson’s promotion, resulting in instances where the former has been benched by his coach for long stretches. Hopefully, this motivates him to get his season back …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors are wasting Chris Boucher’s excellent start

Toronto Raptors are wasting Chris Boucher’s excellent start

Toronto Raptors big-man Chris Boucher is playing his way into Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved conversations, yet the team hasn’t been able to take advantage of it. When the season started, many thought that Aaron Baynes would be a solid replacement for Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol. We all knew that he would […]
Toronto Raptors are wasting Chris Boucher’s excellent start – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

Raptors: This stat shows just how unlucky Toronto has been during their 2-8 start

Raptors: This stat shows just how unlucky Toronto has been during their 2-8 start

The Toronto Raptors are playing better than their 2-8 record. Monday night’s heartbreaking loss against the Portland Trail Blazers, which came just 24 hours after the Golden State Warriors prevailed in a similar fashion, shows exactly how tough the start to the 2020-21 season has been for Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors. While plenty […]
Raptors: This stat shows just how unlucky Toronto has been during their 2-8 start – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

It really looks like Nick Robertson has fast-tracked his way to the Leafs

Next weekend the Leafs will be playing in playoff games. Call it the “play-ins” or “play-downs” or whatever, but for all intents and purposes, when Toronto goes up against Columbus on August 1st, they’re in do or die mode. Lose 3 of 5 and go home. It’s as important as any other postseason matchup they’ve been in over the last four years.
And here is 18-year-old Nick Robertson, with just ten days until these all-important games get going, taking reps with the Leafs’ main group — looking more and more like a regular part of the lineup.
This isn’t really the way it was supposed to be. If you could plot out the development curve for a typical 2nd round pick, you’d think a year back in the junior ranks followed by a year or two with the Marlies would be the standard path. But for all the ways we’ve struggled with handling the hype around Robertson and his 55-goal OHL season this past winter, it’s looking like he’s going to play games for the Leafs this summer. Otherwise, what are …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

Predicting the Blue Jays’ Opening Day 30-man roster based on who’s travelling to Boston

The Blue Jays are playing two exhibition games at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday before kicking off the 2020 season on Friday in Washington.

Based on the group that the Jays have brought with them, we can start to get a good idea of who will be on the team’s 30-man roster when the season opens up a few days from now.

#BlueJays players travelling to Boston for exhibition games: pic.twitter.com/WfXSH9BzEL
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 20, 2020

The Jays have 60-ish players (honestly, it’s gotten pretty confusing keeping track of the 60-man player pool with non-roster invitees still around and guys being placed on the Injured/COVID List) they can pick from, but the group travelling to Boston was whittled down to 38.
Nobody left behind was really surprising. Heading to Toronto’s alternate camp somewhere will be Alejandro Kirk, Riley Adams, Jordan Groshans, Kevin Smith, Austin Martin, Andy Burns, Patrick Kivlehan, Josh Palacios, Forrest Wall, T.J. Zeuch, Alek Manoah, Joey Murray, Travis Bergen, Ty Tice, Bryan Baker, and the injured guys, Chase Anderson and Julian Merryweather.
The only name I’m actually surprised to not see coming to Boston, and, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

What to expect from Travis Dermott this summer

After playing out the stretch drive of the 2018-2019 season with a shoulder that was nowhere near 100%, Travis Dermott had offseason surgery and missed the first 13 games of this season. Playing catch up from the beginning, he initially struggled to meet the lofty expectations many had for him entering his third NHL campaign.
As injuries piled up on Toronto’s blue line, Dermott was thrust into a more prominent role and found his footing playing heavier minutes against stiffer competition.
Still just 23 years old and yet to complete a full NHL season, there is plenty of untapped potential with Travis Dermott that was starting to be realized before the NHL season was stopped.
By The Numbers
Though he may not have taken a step forward in terms of offensive production, Dermott’s defensive numbers were impressive. His 2.13 xGA/60 was the best mark among Leafs defenders and his 52.62 xGF% was the second best, just behind Justin Holl. He was also the beneficiary of a high on-ice shooting percentage while leading the Leafs defensive unit in GF% and your uncle’s favourite stat, plus/minus.
© Micah Blake McCurdy 2020
Dermott’s isolated defensive impact was also the best …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Top Leafs Outside the NHL: #6 Egor Korshkov

A year(-ish) into playing in North America it seems that it’s finally possible to have a bit of a discussion on Korshkov on his own merits rather than making it about the circumstances in which he was drafted. What we’ve learned from his five and a half months of AHL hockey is that Korshkov likely has a future in the NHL, and possibly in the very near future.
Korshkov had a strong AHL rookie season putting up 16 goals in 44 games, numbers that are beyond anything he accomplished in the KHL. Korshkov also added 9 assists, and finished 7th on the Marlies in points, and 3rd on the Marlies in goals. The catch to all this is that Korshkov played only 44 games, and his injury issues from Russia seem to have come with him.
Perhaps the most encouraging stat from his time with the Marlies is that Korshkov had 2 short handed goals, leading the team. Korshkov has thrived in that shorthanded role throughout his career, and could be one of the key factors in bringing him to the Leafs sooner rather than later.
From the Summer Prospect Rankings:
The best case scenario for Korshkov is that he …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Egor Korshkov returned to the Marlies

He was playing at a goal per game pace, but Egor Korshkov has been returned to the Marlies after a short stint up with the Leafs.

The @MapleLeafs have loaned forward Egor Korshkov to the @TorontoMarlies (AHL).#LeafsForever
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 21, 2020

Korshkov was recalled last weekend along with Mason Marchment ahead of the Sabres game, where he notched his first and only goal in 10 minutes of ice time during arguably the team’s worst game of the season. No word on if this signals another roster move on the way, but either way, it’s at least nice that what seemed like a long-shot prospect is getting reps in, even if they’re limited, and is hopefully chipping away at making it full time.

Korshkov’s first NHL goal couldn’t have come at a better time. 2-1. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/BlG1m5KN8N
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) February 17, 2020

 

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation