This game matters somehow

Load up the bus one last time, the Leafs are off to Winnipeg for potentially the last time in the 2021 NHL season as they look to end the season with their 7th win against the Jets.
With the division locked up and the round one opponent set in stone, tonight’s game may feel borderline meaningless (punctuated by yet another 8 p.m. start) but there still are playoff implications at play in the Leafs season finale. With their overtime loss to the Senators on Wednesday, the Leafs can no longer catch either of the top three teams (Carolina, Vegas, or President’s Trophy winning Colorado) in the standings, but fourth overall is still up for grabs, as a win tonight against the Jets would move the Leafs into a tie with the Florida for fourth where they would hold the tiebreaker. A fourth place finish would guarantee that the Leafs would avoid the winner of the West (presumably one of Colorado or Vegas) in round three, hold home ice against any team to come out of the East, leaving Carolina as the sole team to hold home ice over Toronto in any potential third round matchup.
A regulation loss meanwhile, …

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Author: Brian Reid / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors draft: Grading B/R’s 3 “realistic” prospects for Toronto

Toronto Raptors draft: Grading B/R’s 3 “realistic” prospects for Toronto

The Toronto Raptors draft plans could potentially destabilize the entire draft for the rest of the league. Currently in possession of the No. 8 pick in the draft, the Raptors will try to either add a potential ace reserve, new starting center, or point guard who will likely replace Kyle Lowry. The Raptors could draft […]
Toronto Raptors draft: Grading B/R’s 3 “realistic” prospects for Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Pierre Engvall has been recalled to the Leafs’ taxi squad

With Nick Robertson potentially out of commission for a while, the Leafs have made quite a bit of moves on Sunday. The latest one is involving their taxi squad and the promotion of a notable forward.

Toronto Maple #Leafs have recalled forward Pierre Engvall from the minors and placed him on their Taxi Squad.https://t.co/frEil2vl04 https://t.co/HnxyeYOxkS
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 17, 2021

Jason Spezza and Aaron Dell being on waivers means Alexander Barabanov will likely be brought back onto the Leafs roster along with Mikko Lehtonen. A spot on the taxi squad has opened up as a result so the Leafs went with the best player currently in the minors.
Unless there are more injuries or the Leafs want to shake up the lines, Pierre Engvall will likely be on the taxi squad for a while. It doesn’t help that his cap hit sits at $1.25 million on a team that only has roughly $600k in cap space available.
In 48 games last season, Engvall recorded eight goals, seven assists, and 15 points. He also made four appearances during the play-in round where he went scoreless.
All stats unless otherwise noted are from Hockey-Reference.com.
All salary information …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: How Fred VanVleet’s comments affect Raptors plans

Toronto Raptors: How Fred VanVleet’s comments affect Raptors plans

Fred VanVleet could potentially wear his familiar number 23 jersey for a team other than the Toronto Raptors in 2020/21. His most recent comments shouldn’t necessarily shock anyone but could have ramifications for the Toronto Raptors. Fred VanVleet went from an undrafted prospect in 2016 to an NBA Champion with the Toronto Raptors in just […]
Toronto Raptors: How Fred VanVleet’s comments affect Raptors plans – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

The Salary Cap is projected to be in the $84-88 Million range

Good news for the Leafs today, or potentially good news as the salary cap projections in season tend to shrink back to reality by the summer, the league is going to let Toronto spend more money…

#NHL cap projection for 2020-21: $84 to $88.2 million, up from current $81.5 million, but it’s dependent on negotiations with NHLPA.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 4, 2020
So that would be a jump up from the $81.5M the league is currently using and a welcome event for the Leafs who already have nearly $78M committed to their roster for next season (as per PuckPedia).
The Leafs have Dermott and Mikheyev as restricted free agents they are very likely to re-sign, as well as they will have decisions to make on Gauthier and Malgin, who wouldn’t cost them nearly as much. As for unrestricted free agents, we can assume that Cody Ceci is as good as gone, but Kyle Clifford, Jason Spezza, and Tyson Barrie are three players they probably wouldn’t mind bringing back, and Barrie’s salary alone would likely push Toronto to $84M on his own before dealing with the other free agents and hopefully upgrading their roster.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Three Questions from the Raptors ahead of Game 5 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers

After a potentially season-saving win in Philly, we spoke to David Early of Liberty Ballers before the Raptors head back home for Game 5. The Raptors look to defend home court tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers, and we spoke to David Early of Liberty Ballers to hear his thoughts on how the series may shake out.
*****
Nick Nurse opted to throw Ibaka and Gasol out there together to combat Philly’s size. How do you foresee Brett Brown countering in Game 5?
Yeah, those lineups really hurt. They did so little of it since acquiring Gasol but were a +11.3 and it appeared to catch Philadelphia off guard a bit. I’m not so sure there are necessarily major adjustments to be made (as a Sixers fan, I’d still much rather face that than Siakam -who looked quite limited — but will have time to recover). I would guess that Brett will continue to use Embiid as a spy when Gasol posts a smaller player and also as rim help when Toronto does high screen-n-rolls. I think the “sword” they’d like to fall on then is the Ibaka deep ball and mid-range game and take their chances. I wouldn’t be surprised …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ