Pre-2022 Blue Jays Top Prospects Countdown – No. 9: Manuel Beltre

You probably know the Blue Jays’ eleventh best prospect, Manuel Beltre.

The 17-year-old is incredibly friendly, a leader in the locker room, and hardworking. The Blue Jays have a very good, young prospect in one of the two Rookie Leagues. Fellow Jays Nation writer Doug Doucette wrote a phenomenal article about Beltre back in February if you’d like to check it out. 
Background:
The 17-year-old shortstop was signed in the 2021 International Free Agency (IFA) period for a bonus of $2,350,000. To some scouts, the teenager was considered the most experienced player available in the class  as he played for traveling ball teams in Florida. Beltre also has played intentionally for the Dominican Republic. With not a lot of information on his background, what did his 2021 stats look like.
Beltre in 2021:
As you know, while potential and tools factor into my valuation of a prospect, statistics and MLB readiness also matter quite a lot. So when you look at Beltre’s .225/.391/.737 slash line with two home runs, you may ask why he lands so high on my list. Well dear reader, there are quite a few factors that come into play. 
Subpar statistics for a college drafted player in his third season is worrisome, subpar statistics for a 17-year-old in his first professional season is much different. 2021 was the first season that Beltre played professionally, meaning that there is an adjustment period for the teenager.
Not just that, but once you take away his first 11 games of the season, his slash line jumps up to .25 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-2022 Blue Jays Top Prospects Countdown – No. 11: Manuel Beltre

You probably know the Blue Jays’ eleventh best prospect, Manuel Beltre.

The 17-year-old is incredibly friendly, a leader in the locker room, and hardworking. The Blue Jays have a very good, young prospect in one of the two Rookie Leagues. Fellow Jays Nation writer Doug Doucette wrote a phenomenal article about Beltre back in February if you’d like to check it out. 
Background:
The 17-year-old shortstop was signed in the 2021 International Free Agency (IFA) period for a bonus of $2,350,000. To some scouts, the teenager was considered the most experienced player available in the class  as he played for traveling ball teams in Florida. Beltre also has played intentionally for the Dominican Republic. With not a lot of information on his background, what did his 2021 stats look like.
Beltre in 2021:
As you know, while potential and tools factor into my valuation of a prospect, statistics and MLB readiness also matter quite a lot. So when you look at Beltre’s .225/.391/.737 slash line with two home runs, you may ask why he lands so high on my list. Well dear reader, there are quite a few factors that come into play. 
Subpar statistics for a college drafted player in his third season is worrisome, subpar statistics for a 17-year-old in his first professional season is much different. 2021 was the first season that Beltre played professionally, meaning that there is an adjustment period for the teenager.
Not just that, but once you take away his first 11 games of the season, his slash line jumps up to .25 …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

It’s slim pickings if the Leafs are looking for goaltending help

It would probably be safe to say that any exploration of trade deadline goaltending targets might as well just say Marc-Andre Fleury or bust. If you are looking for certainty in net, he’s the closest thing to that, and even Fleury isn’t a guarantee. It’s just after Fleury there’s a huge drop-off to what is available, and honestly, I don’t know what you’d expect in that situation. Why would even a lottery-bound team walk away from good goaltending? If you’ve got good goaltending there’s a perfectly good chance you won’t be a lottery team forever. Case and point might be what Carey Price was able to accomplish with very little in front of him last year. As painful as it is at times to acknowledge, the goaltender makes a difference, and right now the Leafs have a reason to be concerned about theirs.
Now, so much of goaltending is about being hot at the right time, and that’s where before looking at other goaltending options it might make sense to consider what the Leafs have in house. Campbell and Mrazek both have a recent history of some very hot stretches. And with two potential goaltenders to cross your fingers on and hope for the be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Friedman: Maple Leafs trying to make a Nick Ritchie trade happen

It’s probably no secret that Nick Ritchie doesn’t want to be in the AHL. It’s also no secret that Ritchie has no place on the Leafs roster, nor does the team want to continue to have $1.375M of his cap hit still impacting their ability to add players. That’s why the report from Elliotte Friedman on the 32 Thoughts intermission segment shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
From Sportsnet:
“There’s no official trade request, but I think everybody here understands it might be better to find him somewhere else to play,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said during the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada, “and I think there has been some traction in the last few days around the league.”

“If, for argument’s sake the Maple Leafs were to buy him out, it would be $300,000 on next year’s cap,” Friedman said. “So, I don’t think Toronto wants to retain anything more than that (in a trade). But, depending on how this can all go and how that can be worked out, it is believed there is some traction being gained on Ritchie around the league in clearing some room and finding him some space.”
According to PuckPedia’s buyout calculator, Friedman is correct and it would be a $300k cap hit for the 2022-23 season. It would however be a more noticeable $1.1M cap hit in 2023-24. So while I can see the Leafs not wanting to retain, and think there has to be a p …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Friedman: Maple Leafs looking to shed salary before the trade deadline

It’s probably a statement that many are greeting with a “duh” response, but there are a couple of ways to take the following statement from Elliotte Friedman’s 32 Thoughts article:
11. Toronto isn’t against clearing space to prepare for a deadline add.
The first way of taking it is that Elliotte was sitting on 31 Thoughts, and needed to add another and thought that the Leafs are good for business, so he added a low risk statement that would wet some appetites for Leafs content. If that’s the case, kudos, the bait has been taken because here I am doing a deep dive on something that is an absolute requirement for the Leafs if they are looking to add a significant piece at the trade deadline.
The second way to take it is much more earnestly, and that is that Elliotte is reporting on the Leafs more actively engaging in conversations around the league to clear out some salary, but likely in the early stages of it where they are trying to get close to reasonable value for who they are putting out there, instead of having decent players being treated as salary cap grenades.
Of course that leads to the question of who are the salaries that the Leafs could be looking to move in order to free up space for a decadent deadline. It’s probably better to start with who is immune to this process, and that’s going to be the usual crew of Matthew …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: Maple Leafs fall victim to a couple of Ryans and strong goaltending

Ryan Reaves scoring two goals tonight probably tells you everything you need to know about this game.
Much like a lot of this road trip, four out of the five games actually, the Toronto Maple Leafs found themselves with a multi-goal lead before blowing it. Twice they found themselves holding on for the win, and now twice they would eventually lose it. There’s a lot of other circumstances involved, what with Jack Campbell’s play somewhat falling off and him likely getting fatigued, the Leafs now being almost two weeks deep into this road trip, an injured blueline, and also score effects are usually a thing that comes into play when you take a lead. And a lot of the goals the Rangers scored, including Reaves second and Ryan Strome’s, were some pretty weird bounces. But, it’s also not the best thing to see happening over and over again.
The game also saw Auston Matthews road goal streak come to an end right before tying the NHL record, despite a goal that got waived off for a kicking motion that almost started the Leafs comeback.
Three Stars
3rd Star: William Nylander
It wasn’t his best game defensively, or even his line’s, but Nylander mostly gets the third star for there not being a ton of options from this game …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Making sense of when the Leafs will schedule in nine postponed games

It’s probably premature to think that Omicron related cancellations are over for the Leafs and the NHL, but at the same time it seems like it has been eerily quiet about rescheduling some of those games. Considering the Leafs will have to make up nine games (so far) and the league needs to deal with 98 games total, it seems quite wishful that the NHL will be able either fit all of the games into what was going to be the Olympic break and that they will not upset the broadcasters and ticketholders by waiting until the last minute to announce those revisions. It’s because of that, you’d hope to see the rescheduled dates, soon, but with the acknowledgement that it will be a logistical nightmare to pull it off.

The @NHL announced today that three additional games will be rescheduled for dates later in the season.
Details: https://t.co/2efF8uEZl6 pic.twitter.com/9K1B6ACvn1
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 6, 2022

Amazingly during the Olympic break, there are only two nights that the Raptors are playing home games and the Scotiabank Arena wouldn’t be available to the Leafs for that reason. Beyond that there are only a couple of concerts still scheduled for that time frame as well, so in theory the Leafs 4 home games that will need to be made up can easily be rescheduled if it also works for the Hurricanes, Devils, Blues, and Penguins.
Of the opponents the Leafs had games postponed with, the Blues, Devils and Pens would be on the easier side of rescheduling.
Opponent
Games to make up
Montreal
10
Calgary
8
Carolina
6
Columbus
6
Seattle
5
Pittsburgh
5
Vancouver
5
New Jersey
5
St. Louis
3
St. Louis looks like one of the teams that will have the closest thing resembling some time off during th …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs: 3 stars from week five of the season (November 8-14)

After entering probably their toughest week of the early season last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs played some exceptional hockey against three top contenders in the NHL in the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins. Now I know it was a depleted Vegas team, but those are the games Toronto typically loses, so it was great to see them dominate that game and pick up an important two points on home ice.
They were rolling into week five scheduled to play four games in a week for the first time this season – against the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, and Buffalo Sabres – and they continued their winning ways going 3-1-0 in those four contests. They opened the week at home to the Kings, and despite outplaying them in the second and third period, they came away with an ugly 5-1 loss that broke their five-game winning streak.
It wasn’t a game to totally dwell on given that they just won five in a row and they had three more games coming up that week including one against the Flyers in less than 48 hours. They then entered Philadelphia and came away with an impressive 3 …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

The Best For The Blue Jays Is Yet To Come

If you clicked this article using Facebook, you probably haven’t seen this tweet. If you’re on Twitter, you may have seen me arguing with a Yankees fan about prospects which originated from one of the worst takes I have ever seen. Fun times. This one bad tweet got me thinking about “can this season be repeated” and quite frankly, I think it can be one-upped.

Been sitting on this luke warm take.
The Blue Jays may not get a better shot at a World Series than this year. Yeah they have a young core but Vlad isn’t having a better season than this.
Gut call a month from now they’re the “They’re Young, They’ll be back” team that never is.
— Phill (@MeekPhill_) September 19, 2021

Before the tweet:
The season sucked, but there are some built-in excuses. For example, the Jays didn’t play in front of home fans until arriving in Buffalo and even then, Yankee fans invaded Sahlen Field. The early part of their season was played in Dunedin, Florida, which is hostile territory. Upon arriving back in Toronto on July 30th, the team finished 40-23. 
When Charlie Montoyo says he is proud of …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Mike Commito talks to TLN about his new book, Hockey 365, The Second Period: More Daily Stories from the Ice

If you follow Mike Commito on Twitter (and if you don’t, why not?) you probably know him as the hockey history guy. Every day he shares really cool, sometimes well known and sometimes lesser known, “on this day” moments from the history of hockey. And if you follow him on Twitter, you probably know that he turned some of those moments into an incredible book – Hockey 365: Daily Stories from the Ice.  
And maybe you also know that tomorrow, September 28th, the second volume, Hockey 365, The Second Period: More Daily Stories from the Ice, will be available for purchase (and if you didn’t, now you do.)
But what you might not know is that Mike has TLN to thank for launching his hockey writing career!
…Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit. But Mike does have a bit of history (pun intended) with TLN, and I was lucky enough to speak with him about how he got started writing about hockey, how he brought his two passions together, the books, and his hopes for future projects.
I first asked Mike to tell me and our TLN readers about how he got started writing, and tweeting, hockey history. It was …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation