Transaction Season Is Upon Us! Corey Kluber, Brad Hand, Roberto Osuna, and more!

The World Series has been awarded so you know what that means? It’s Transaction Season, baby.

This is certainly going to be an interesting off-season and virtually all of the teams around Major League Baseball are feeling the squeeze of operating the 2020 season without fans in the seats. It seems as though fewer teams than usual are going to be interested in adding to their team payroll so we’ll likely a team-friendly free-agent market this winter.
Just one day into the off-season and we’ve already seen some surprising names headed to free agency. I’ll round up some of the players that could interest the Blue Jays…

Rangers have not made official announcement on RHP Corey Kluber but the plan is to not exercise his option and possibly re-sign him to a lesser deal.
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) October 28, 2020

The Corey Kluber era in Texas could be over after just one inning.
Last winter, the Rangers acquired the former Cy Young winner from Cleveland as a salary dump reclamation project. Kluber was coming off an injury-riddled 2019 season in which he posted a 5.80 ERA over just seven starts.
Kluber wasn’t able to bounce back in Texas. He …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Rob Manfred wants to maintain an expanded playoff field

The 2020 World Series just kicked off.

It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in baseball who posted an insane 43-17 record during the regular season, taking on the Tampa Bay Rays, the second-best team in baseball who went 40-20 during the regular season.
No. 1 vs. No. 1. That’s exactly what Rob Manfred needed to validate the existence of an expanded playoff field. Had this featured two clunky, random teams, like the Marlins and Blue Jays, who really had no business making the playoffs in a normal season, there would surely have been some outrage over the legitimacy of this World Series.
But here we are. Baseball added an extra round to generate some buzz and, when it was all said and done, the two best teams still came out on top.
Ahead of Game 1 in Arlington, Manfred spoke about Major League Baseball’s 60-game season and what’s next for the league. One thing he mentioned was how the expanded playoff field was a success and that it’s something he would like to continue.
“I like the idea of, and I’m choosing my words carefully here, an expanded playoff format,” Manfred said. “I don’t think …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

With the 15th overall pick, the Leafs are proud to select… Jacob Perreault?

With a new addition to TheLeafsNation’s series on potential player options with the Leafs 15th overall pick, in this piece we’ll take a look at Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. Before we go on, don’t forget to check out the other draft profiles in this series:
With the 15th overall pick, the Leafs are proud to select…Connor Zary?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Dawson Mercer?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Jake Sanderson?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Seth Jarvis?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Dylan Holloway?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Yaroslav Askarov?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Rodion Amirov?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Jack Quinn?
With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Braden Schneider?
While Perreault may not be NHL ready right off the bat, his offensive skills give him a fighting chance. In the 2020 draft class Jacob Perreault is one of the best offensive wingers available. …

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Author: Marsha Joseph / The Leafs Nation

Setting Sights on a 2 to 1 Play-in Series Lead

The 2020 play-in round series between the Blue Jackets and the Maple Leafs continues tonight with Game 3. The play-in series’ are just five-game series, so the winner of tonight’s game puts themselves one win away from the true 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Story lines going into this game are aplenty, as is usually the case in a competitive series like this one has been.
Primarily on most fans’ minds will be the effects of the injury to Jake Muzzin and how the lines will have to change because of his absence. Some will seek revenge against the prime mover of the collision that caused the injury, Pierre-Luc Dubois. Some will seek to get revenge by burying the Blue Jackets behind a 2-1 series lead. Some inevitably just want to watch the blue-and-white win a “playoff series” for the first time since 2003.
Another story line has been the epic goaltending/defensive battle between Frederik Andersen and the Leafs, and Jonas Korpisalo and the Blue Jackets. Each goaltender has a shutout in this series, and both have save percentages above 95%, which is ridiculously good. Both teams have had a game where they absolutely drowned any offensive hopes of …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens Exhibition Game

Welcome to a new post-game series! In this series, I will be reviewing every goal for and against, trying to provide analysis on what went right or wrong, what they could do differently next time and more. The goal for this series is to try and provide an alternative and detailed explanation on things from my point of view. This series isn’t meant to be a dumping ground for players mistakes.
For those who use reddit and browse r/Leafs, I actually started this series at the beginning of the 2019-20 season. You can find the last one I posted on reddit here.
I would highly suggest watching the highlight package first and or to also follow along with it. The highlight package can be found here.
Maple Leafs 1st Goal – Ilya Mikheyev (Assist Tavares, Rielly)

Ilya Mikheyev (@Souperman65) is feeeelin’ it early. #StanleyCup
: @Sportsnet
— NHL (@NHL) July 29, 2020

The Maple Leafs roared out of the gates in this one, scoring 33 seconds into this contest. Ceci rims the puck up the right-wing boards to Marner. Marner collects the puck and chips it to Rielly in the middle, …

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Author: Brendan Mori / The Leafs Nation

NHL 20 Predicts the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

EA Sports’ NHL series holds a special place in my heart, mostly in that it’s the only game that I love and hate playing at the exact same time. One of the things the series boasts is it’s realistic sim engine, which has definitely improved over the years. So what better way to get ready for the playoffs than by using the game to try and predict the outcome of this year’s playoffs. Will it be accurate? Probably not. But, hey, it’s fun.
Of course, this is a lot harder than “create a playoff mode and sim it” because NHL 20 does not have a 24 team playoff mode complete with a round robin tournament for the top eight teams, and best-of-five series for the remaining 16 teams. Who would’ve guessed? So instead I had to individually sim and record the stats for the round robin tournaments, and the qualifying rounds to determine the teams and the seedings for the actual 16 team playoff mode. So, a bit more work to get this done.
I’ll be a bit more specific with the Leafs’ adventures, but I’ll …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

News and Notes as the Blue Jays head to Washington

The Blue Jays are travelling to D.C. to play a four-game series against the Nationals, two of which will be road games, and two of which will be home games.

As of right now, it looks as though these games are going to happen, but, after the Miami Marlins reported that one-third of their roster tested positive for COVID-19, there’s some worry that the season might be in jeopardy. That said, MLB has reportedly not had any serious discussions about pausing or suspending the season.

Updating the Miami Marlins’ outbreak: The total number of infected players is 11 of the 33 who have been traveling with the team and two coaches, sources tell ESPN.
The Marlins-Orioles and Yankees-Phillies games tonight have been postponed. For now, the rest may be played.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2020

So it’ll be the Blue Jays’ first look at the defending World Series Champions. Well, sort of. It won’t be the Champs at full-strength this week. Anthony Rendon, of course, left the team in free agency to sign with the Angels, and Juan Soto is currently in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Soto produced a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Analyzing Leafs Lines: 3 Charts

This is the first in a perpetual series that will use visual representations and charts in hopes of teaching us something new about the Leafs. There are always difficult choices that are made when visually representing data, and so feedback and discussion on the graphics and their implications are encouraged. For now, I plan on keeping the insights from the charts short and in bullet format, so that the reader can enjoy the visual and create their own findings.
The topic for today’s post looks at the Leafs forward lines, specifically leveraging Expected Goals data from Expected Goals are a way of quantifying both shot quantity and quality – if a player or line is controlling quality chances on the ice it should manifest in these numbers. Expected Goals are by no means a perfect metric, but is a quick and easy snapshot of on-ice results. This post relies on acronyms for player names to save space in the graphics – luckily all Leafs acronyms are unique and should be self explanatory – but feel free to comment with any questions.
Leafs Centers
Chart Details: This chart displays 5v5 Expected Goals Percentage in 2019-20 by the …

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Author: mackinawstats / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from Mitch Marner this summer

Editor’s note: Today we are kicking off our new series taking a look at the current state of the Leafs roster and each player’s season so far. Based on what we’ve seen we’re trying to put together or best guess at how they’ll fare in the play-in against Columbus and if we’re lucky, the playoffs beyond that. We’re kicking off this morning with the always interesting Mitch Marner.
It’s hard to believe that we’re almost a year removed from the Mitch Marner contract debacle. Something that I’m most of us would happily never wish to go through again, and with a few years of having Marner, Matthews, Nylander, and Tavares locked into their deals, we can relax. Except there still might be some lingering buyers remorse on $40M worth of contracts for four players in a salary cap world that won’t see those numbers budge for the next few season. At least they are all good players.
Mitch’s regular season ride was a wild one. His 1.13 point per game pace was nearly identical to his 1.14 point …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Best Leafs Trades Since 1967 Countdown – No. 1: Sending Wendel Clark to Quebec for Mats Sundin

I kicked off this series by naming Cliff Fletcher’s re-acquisition of Wendel Clark — the one that ultimately cost them the first-round draft pick that was used on Roberto Luongo — as the fifth-worst trade in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs (since 1967).

But how did Fletcher find himself in that situation? How did Clark, the fan-favourite, the heart-and-soul, the captain, find his way off the Leafs in the first place? It all starts with an incredibly controversial deal that Fletcher made that would end up being the best trade made this organization in the past half-century.
Clark was a breath of fresh air on a putrid Leafs team. Drafted with the first overall pick after that Leafs had put together their most miserable season in franchise history, Clark immediately gave a listless team a much-needed spark.
During the darkest days of the Harold Ballard years, they had become the joke of the league. Not only were they an easy team to beat, but they also rolled over and would let you kick their ass, literally. The team was bad, which was one thing, but this was the wild west days of the 80s. The players were …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation