What does a successful summer for the Leafs look like?

The Leafs are starting from a pretty good place. Much like last year, but this year there is a lot more buy-in to where they are starting from because it’s a lot easier to lose to the Lightning in the first round than the Canadiens or Blue Jackets. Here’s to progress.
Anyways, there isn’t a whole lot that really needs to be done (in theory) as we should be somewhat comfortable with a team that finished with the fourth best regular season record. Except, the salary cap doesn’t make it as easy as saying “everyone gets to come back”, it’s a little much to expect everyone to have career years again, and if there’s one thing to learn from the Lightning it’s that no matter how much you like your roster you need to always be looking for opportunities to improve it.
So let’s begin, here’s what needs to be dealt with:
1. Goaltending
This isn’t a surprise to anyone, given that Mrazek was a trainwreck, neither Kallgren or Woll really looked capable of being 2nd or even solid 3rd string options at this point, and Jack Campbell is likely too expensive for what he is, and the Leafs find themselves either searching for bargains or need to splurge on an option that is superi …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

3 Raptors who could be available in Rudy Gobert trade talks

3 Raptors who could be available in Rudy Gobert trade talks

The Toronto Raptors will likely pull off one or two pretty big moves in the offseason, as they need to make some adjustments if they want to assert themselves as viable contenders. While trading for Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert would be unlikely, Toronto can’t rule out the idea of adding one of the best […]
3 Raptors who could be available in Rudy Gobert trade talks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Michael Bunting hits the 60-point mark, Mark Giordano helps lead Toronto to Saturday night win

After what was a pretty memorable week for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews, it was right back to business last week with three games on their schedule with the playoffs just creeping around the corner. With three games on their schedule – two against non-playoff teams and one against a wild card team – the Maple Leafs were definitely looking to continue their momentum into these three games and continue how they have played for the past month and a half.
They opened their week on Tuesday night against a team they have had trouble with this season, the Buffalo Sabres. It’s honestly strange Toronto has had trouble against the Sabres given where both teams are in the standings, but some teams just play other teams harder and have their number. Every team can beat any team on any given night in the NHL, however, it is quite annoying they keep losing to this Sabres team. Tuesday night wasn’t any different, and they played one of their worst games in recent memory and just looked lazy and they lost 5-2 on home ice after a pretty good win the Saturday prior against Montreal.
So following up a pretty bad 5-2 loss to a Sabres team …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Auston Matthews hits 50-goal mark, Mitch Marner makes Maple Leaf history

The week of the trade deadline was a pretty quiet one for the Toronto Maple Leafs with just two games on their schedule, one at home against the Devils, and one on the road against the Canadiens. They liked their game against New Jersey, as well as their game against Montreal, but left Saturday night upset without the two points given how well they played that night. Fast forward to the next week and Toronto has four games on their schedule, with two against some big Atlantic division teams in the Panthers and Bruins, so the Maple Leafs had to be ready for the week that was ahead.
They opened their week on Sunday night at home in a clash against the Florida Panthers for the first time this season, and following a loss to the Canadiens 24 hours prior, some of us were wondering how this team would come out and perform on the second half of a back-to-back against one of the best teams in the league. Wel …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign a KHL goaltender and waive Mrazek and Clifford to kickstart a wild 25 hours

It was pretty much expected that waivers were going to be crazy today, and it’s not disappointing, especially on the Leafs’ front…

Riley Nash (ARIZ), Richardson (CAL), Turris (WDM), Jaros (NJ), Clifford, Mrazek, Sateri (TOR), Pouliot (LV) full list
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 20, 2022

TOR has signed Harri Sateri, who won gold with Finland. He must clear waivers.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 20, 2022

So let’s start with who has been waived, and we’ll cover off the easy one first:
Kyle Clifford hasn’t looked like an NHL player this year and removing his $1M cap hit from the Leafs’ roster is important to what they do in the next couple of days. He’s unlikely to be claimed as the Leafs have added two additional years of term to his deal, and at 2 PM ET he’ll most likely be a Marlie, and a bit of physical depth off the main roster.
The waiving of Petr Mrazek is also something that makes a ton of sense, but not something you’d fully expect the Leafs to do. Mrazek has been nothing short of a disaster, and immediately frees up $1.125M by having him on the Marlies allowing Toronto to explore some other options, as well as letting Petr work out his game in the AHL before possibly bringing him back into the fold. There is the possibility that he gets claimed, and that would be an absolute dream for the Leafs. There’s also the benefit that if the Leafs are going to trade Mrazek tomorrow, the team that acquires him can immediately assign him to their AHL team as possible depth. I wonder if this makes Mrazek an option for a team like Las Vegas.
It’s important to note that Mrazek being on waivers means the Leafs are not able to trade him until after 2 pm ET tomorrow if he clears, so that wil …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

There won’t be a Rule 5 Draft this year

One thing that’s pretty much been lost in the excitement of CBA Day is the fact that there won’t be a Rule 5 Draft this year.

The Rule 5 Draft was supposed to happen back on December 9 but that got postponed as Major League Baseball instituted a transaction freeze as the league went into a lockout at the beginning of the month.
So, according to Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, rather than re-scheduling it and shoving it in somewhere amidst all the chaos of free agency and spring training happening at the same time, there just won’t be a Rule 5 Draft for 2021.
This is a nice little win for the Blue Jays, as they had a few interesting prospects who were set to be eligible for the draft.
Back in November, the team added Hagen Danner, Bowden Francis, Zach Logue, and Leo Jimenez to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft deadline, leaving names such as Samad Taylor, Miguel Hiraldo, and Eric Pardinho available to other teams.
These are middle-of-the-pack prospects that nobody should lose sleep over, but, still, it’s a little extra ammunition for the Blue Jays if they want to trade for, say, Jose Ramirez. …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Mitch Marner’s scoring-filled 2022 is not really backed up by the underlying numbers

The Maple Leafs got a pretty nice present for Christmas. No, not just the end of their COVID outbreak. They got back the scoring machine Mitch Marner used to be, too.
In 2022, Marner has 24 points in 14 games so far, since recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered on December 1st of last year. After a pointless first two games back, he went on a 8-game goal scoring streak, with 10 goals in that span. And with 5 points in his last 2 games, he isn’t showing signs of slowing down on the scoresheet.
Marner seems to have reclaimed his well-paid place as the second best player on the Leafs. He recently hit 400 points in what was an excellent performance against the Seattle Kraken. My friend and recently-promoted-to-Daily-Faceoff-columnist colleague had this Marner hype that went rightfully viral:

Mitch Marner gets his 400th career point in just 391 games.
For reference, Patrick Kane, who’s probably considered to be the best playmaking winger in the game, needed 426 games to reach 400.
Oh, and Marner can actually play defense as well.
— Scott Maxwell (@scotmaxw) February 15, 2022

But, what I wanted to know was: have his underlying numbers led up to this, or is it just a flash in the pan? Is it a lucky hot streak, him getting what’s due, or maybe both?
We all know that Mitch Marner is a good hockey player. The question has always been whether or not he belongs among the elite players in the game. And while his point scoring ability has always made it seem that way, and as noted by Scott above, his apparent defensive responsibility has helped, crossing that threshold of being widely regarded one of the best in the game still seems t …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes: Peter Walker for a managerial role, Freddie Freeman to Toronto smoke, the next Guerrero, and more!

It’s been a pretty busy week for baseball stuff, which is surprising given the fact it’s the middle of December and we’re currently in a lockout.

But that won’t stop the Content Wheel from spinning! This week featured a note about Pete Walker potentially being an option for the New York Mets’ managerial role, some stuff on the Blue Jays and their involvement in the pre-lockout frenzy, and some fuel to the fire that Freddie Freeman might wind up coming north. Also, the world is now aware of Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s brother, Vladi Miguel Guerrero, the 15-year-old lefty who looks like he can already hit better than a handful of big leaguers.
Let’s start with Walker…
Back on Wednesday, Jon Morosi tweeted out “Pete Walker is one name to remember as #Mets continue to evaluate managerial candidates. Walker pitched for the Mets and has received very strong reviews in the industry for his work as #BlueJays pitching coach, most notably with Robbie Ray’s success in Toronto.”
This is not really any kind of rumour, to be honest, but more of a validation that Walker is well-regarded around the league, which isn’t much …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A Saturday night in Buffalo is Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll living out his dream

By nature I’m a pretty cynical person, but my cynicism has it’s limit. Tonight is a truly special event, as the chance to witness someone having the most exciting moment of their life. While most of us will look at this as the second half of a back to back with a tired Leafs roster facing a lottery bound Sabres team, for Joseph Woll this is the culmination of chasing a childhood dream, the result of hard work and sacrifice, and his time to do something few others get a chance to do, and that’s start a game as a NHL goaltender.
Yesterday I dove into what could be reasonably expected from Woll in this situation, and that’s important to consider, but this isn’t going to be the game that decides the fate of Woll as a NHL prospect, this isn’t going to fast track him to the NHL or relegate him to a career overseas, it’s just a great moment that I’m hoping to enjoy for what it is. Hopefully for one night we can enjoy this for what it is, someone living their best life.

LW
C
RW
MICHAEL BUNTING


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Khem Birch could be even better than he was in 2020-21

Raptors: Khem Birch could be even better than he was in 2020-21

Things got pretty miserable for the Toronto Raptors in the latter stages of the 2020-21 NBA season. The playoffs disappeared from view, the losses piled up, and the squad finished 12th in the Eastern Conference standings, missing the postseason for the first time since 2013. One positive was the play of newcomer Khem Birch. The […]
Raptors: Khem Birch could be even better than he was in 2020-21 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ