A look at who owns what draft pick and how it affects the Leafs

I think it goes without saying at this point in the Leafs’ existence the priority for the team is winning a playoff round (or heaven forbid, two) over worrying about who they’ll draft next. It’s because of that we probably don’t need to sweat the small stuff like the Leafs owning fewer picks than any other NHL team in the 2022 draft. It’s also probably okay that with only three picks owned at this point that number could be reduced to one or two (but definitely not zero thanks to the conditions on the 7th round pick from the Menell trade.)
The Leafs also hold their first six picks from the 2023 draft, and those too will serve them well in the coming days, especially in the final hours of free agency. And there is always the possibility that the Leafs could be making some additional moves (read: trade Dermott) that might net them an additional pick or two along the way as well. And of course, there’s always the offseason and Toronto can recoup what they have given up along the way (in theory.) So in short, it’s too soon to be crying over draft picks.
The Leafs draft pick situation aside, I wanted to tak …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Yuta Watanabe’s breakout shows he can be Raptors’ sixth man

Yuta Watanabe’s breakout shows he can be Raptors’ sixth man

Saying that Yuta Watanabe and the Toronto Raptors were shorthanded in their embarrassing loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the understatement of the year. Watanabe, Dalano Banton, and 10-day contract signing DJ Wilson were all forced into the starting lineup. Knowing that winning these games with eight rotation players and two key reserves inactive […]
Yuta Watanabe’s breakout shows he can be Raptors’ sixth man – 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 powerplay doesn’t need fixing, but it could still be better

It goes without saying that if you write about the powerplay and schedule the post for the next day, there is guaranteed to be a powerplay goal. Nevertheless, this was never meant as a criticism of the Leafs powerplay, but a possible enhancement. Also, please note all stats are prior to the Leafs game and the Oiler game on November 16th.
The Leafs presently have the 7th best powerplay in the league. Is it wrong of us to still believe it can be better? Heading into Tuesday night’s game with Nashville, the Leafs are sitting at a 25% success rate, and they’ve picked up 11 goals on the PP so far this season in the first 16 games. This is pretty great considering that the Leafs are 26th in powerplay ice-time this year, something is both a combination of their powerplay success, but also speaks to the severally limited number of powerplays they receive, which sits at 44 powerplay attempts, good for 16th in the league. So maybe the refs aren’t completely out to get the Leafs, but certainly aren’t being done favours by them either.
Yes, things are going much better for the Leafs on the powerplay so far …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Marcus Semien becomes the first Blue Jays position player since Vernon Wells to win a Gold Glove

Since the start of September, I’ve been saying Marcus Semien WILL win the Gold Glove. The shortstop playing second base for 2021 won the American League’s 2B Gold Glove.

Why? Well, the 31-year-old Semien finished the season towards the top of the charts in all defensive categories:
His 11 DRS was the third most for a second baseman in both the AL and the MLB. Semien’s Revised Zone Rating (opportunities that were converted) ranked third highest in the MLB and the highest in the AL. Our beloved second baseman finished the season with an Ultimate Zone Rating of 6.3 which was the highest in the MLB.
I’ve already mentioned that in this article, but I can keep going.
Outs above average is regarded as one of the better defensive metrics. His 7 outs above average was ranked 6th for first baseman and third in the American League. Don’t worry, all of the other advanced stats of Odor were incredibly subpar.
Semien may not be re-signed. The Jays may not get a compensation pick for him depending on the outcome of the new CBA. Heck, even the prospect may not pan out.
However, what I can tell you is that …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Randal Grichuk, Consistently Inconsistent

I may be lambasted for saying this, but I believe Randal Grichuk has value. We’ll cut to the chase, he’s the definition of streaky. Between April 1st and May 31st, we all thought he changed. In 208 plate appearances, Grichuk had a slash line of .289/.322/.819 with 9 homers and a wRC+ of 119. He also walked 4.3% of the time while striking out 18.8% of the time. However, the most surprising statistic is the fact he had 39 RBIs.

Now, RBIs isn’t a very good statistic for determining whether or not a batter is good because it is totally dependent on whether or not the batters ahead of you get on (unless you hit 100 solo homers in a season), but it fooled me and many other Jays fans into thinking his approach had changed.

I know we’ve been lied to in the past and if I’m wrong, I should rightly be roasted.
But Grichuk is a different hitter this season.#BlueJays #WeAreBlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) May 6, 2021

How about his next three months? Well it didn’t go as well. Between June 1st and August 31st, 272 plate appearances and had a slash line of .201/.246/.579 with 12 home runs, a wRC+ of 65 and 37 RBIs. …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Meet the Sellers: Chicago Cubs

When news broke saying the Cubs would become sellers this morning, I had to pause my AL “Meet the Sellers” writing and go back to the NL. This comes on the heels of a 1-9 record over their last 10 games.

The Cubs have slowly slid into a tie for third place in the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals. They hold a record of 43-45 after starting the season hot. They are 9.5 games back of the division-leading Brewers, who appear to have run away with the division.
The Cubs have a former NL MVP on the team, a stud closer, and a lefty reliever available, and I think the Blue Jays should have interest in all of them.  Honestly, I did not expect to have to write about the 2016 World Series Champions, as I thought they would win the NL Central coming into the season. Now that the Brew Crew are comfortably in first place, it does not make sense for the Cubs to hold onto expiring contracts, no matter the talent.
Here are some players that would fill the Blue Jays’ needs…
Kris Bryant
Let’s start off with a bang. Kris Bryant, the former NL MVP (2016) should …

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Author: Eric Lightfoot / Blue Jays Nation

Around the NHL: Comparing NHL teams to Formula 1 teams

I’m definitely not alone in saying that Formula 1 has recently swept me off my feet and captivated me as one of my new favourite sports. After a friend told me to watch the Drive to Survive Netflix series, it timed perfectly with the start of the 2021 season in Bahrain. One exciting race later, and I was in.
Now, I’m not the only one, a lot of the sports world, and even non-sports fans have been enjoying the drama of the sport, and how it extends beyond race day. If you’re like me as well, the meme content that comes out of every race weekend is second to none, in my humble opinion.
One of the most interesting aspects of the sport is the fact that there are still teams, even though the drivers on the same team are still competing against each other, and sometimes it’s even hyper focused on their teammates because they’re the only other driver on the track that’s in the exact same car as you. It’d be like if NHL teams had the Stanley Cup playoffs, except the only person that actually gets the Cup is the MVP of …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs have a new jersey and we hope they never wear it

Let’s start off by saying that the Reverse Retro jerseys by Adidas are overwhelmingly good and this was a great project by the NHL to effectively grab our cash. Now let’s take a look at the Leafs jersey that leaves us wanting…

Woven from the fabric of legends.
Introducing the #LeafsForever adidas #ReverseRetro jersey. Hitting the ice in 2021. pic.twitter.com/FFcAw8DTGt
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 16, 2020

Now, that’s an unfortunate looking jersey. The fact that the Leafs use grey as a means to spice up their bland blue and white colour scheme points to one of the biggest problems with anything th Leafs will be able to accomplish. Secondly, the logo is a Leaf. Unless you are going to go away from it completely, it’s always going to be different shades of underwhelming.
In an attempt to mix some elements, like grey, the cool Ballard era jersey template, and one of the lesser know Leafs logos, we’ve wound up with something one of our writers suggests would be most likely found on the shelf at Walmart.
Here are some of their other thoughts:
Nick Richard: I hate this jersey so much. I really …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Eurotrip: Jesper Lindgren to MODO

It probably goes without saying that the Leafs are now looking at any and all options for finding European clubs for their players, and yesterday they found a landing spot for Jesper Lindgren with MODO.
From the MODO team site:
MODO Hockey can today announce that defender Jesper Lindgren has been contracted as a loan from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. “We are very happy that” Jeppe “has clearly shown that he wants to return to MODO and this solution with Toronto is very good for us. As a player, he has clear top qualities as an offensive back, but has also taken big steps in his entire game in recent seasons “, comments MODO Hockey’s sports manager Fredrik Glader.
That puts Lindgren, Korshkov, and Lehtonen overseas so far, and it’s doubtful those will be the last, as hockey won’t resume in North America until December.
Lindgren wasn’t a standout in his year with the Marlies, and perhaps some extra hockey can get him on track to compete for a bigger role with the AHL club in December.
 

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

I’m not sure if this Stanley Cup will mean more, but it definitely won’t mean less

I’ll preface this by saying the NHL is right now in midst of what I think is the most crucial period of this potential restart, and if they mess it up, everything goes to pot. The ongoing training camps all over North America should make people uneasy about what could happen in the next two weeks, especially considering some of the extreme hot spots in the southern States. Why this stage of the league’s attempt to get back on its feet wasn’t centered in the two hub cities as well, I’ll never know. But this is where we are, and all we can do is hope everyone gets into their bubbles safe and hassle-free. From there I think things get easier.
The league has been on shutdown so long I almost forget what it’s like to argue about sports, but one constant discussion point that’s circled this potential restart is whether or not this upcoming playoff will be “legit” for lack of a better term. In other words, will there be an asterisk next to the Cup winner due to these strange circumstances? Is it going …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation