Toronto Raptors: 3 players who could have a career year in 2021-22

Toronto Raptors: 3 players who could have a career year in 2021-22

For the first time since 2013, the Toronto Raptors were left watching the NBA playoffs from the sidelines after finishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference last season. But hope springs anew, and it’s not inconceivable to think the Raptors can get back to the postseason in 2022. On a team heavy on young […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 players who could have a career year in 2021-22 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Brian Swane / Raptors HQ

The TLN Three Stars: Shesterkin spoils Matthews’ return, Leafs fall to Rangers in OT

For the first time since what feels like the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Leafs faced a non-Canadian team tonight, welcoming the New York Rangers to Scotiabank Arena. It was a refreshing break from the monotony of the last 66 games: while last season’s North Division had some initial charm and ignited some hostilities between Canadian franchises, it quickly became overkill playing the same six teams over and over again for months. Let’s honestly never do it again. Variety is the spice of life.
Speaking of the overdue arrival of Americans, the Leafs also welcomed Auston Matthews back to their lineup for the first time this season after wrist surgery, and boy he came to play.
Recap
Before we get into a recap, a quick disclaimer: I watched the first period on any extremely pixelated treadmill television while chugging through a 5k run, so my recollections of the first 20 minutes are hazy.
Toronto got an early opportunity to break the ice when William Nylander was high-sticked by Barclay Goodrow during the second shift of the game. Our first glimpse of the new-look powerplay featuring Matthews was encouraging as the unit zipped the puck around, opening Matthews up for …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews returns as the Toronto Maple Leafs play an American team for the first time in over a year

For the first time since August 2020, the Toronto Maple Leafs are set to play an American NHL team and they have their own star American returning to the lineup to celebrate the occasion. With Marner and Tavares being snakebitten through the team’s first three games of the season, failing to find the back of the net despite creating plenty of great scoring opportunities, the NHL’s reigning Rocket Richard trophy winner is arriving at the perfect time.
Despite the team’s first line struggling to score, the Maple Leafs still hold a 2-1 record thanks in part to Jack Campbell’s phenomenal netminding and some fantastic contributions from lower in the lineup. If players like William Nylander, Michael Bunting, Alex Kerfoot, and Jason Spezza can continue their hot start as Matthews looks to defend his goalscoring title, this Leafs team could get exceptionally dangerous very quickly with scoring threats on all four lines.
Their opponents tonight are none other than the New York Rangers, a team that Toronto recently usurped as the NHL’s most valuable franchise. After a shaky start to the season, the Rangers were able to grab their first win on Saturday in a 3-1 victory …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Report from the Rock: Growlers Training Camp Opens

For the first time since March of 2020, the Newfoundland Growlers now officially have a roster of players.
The team has announced the initial training camp roster for the 2021-22 season and in addition to the seven players signed to ECHL deals last month the roster includes 11 AHL-contracted players from the Toronto Marlies (two of whom being St. John’s locals Zach O’Brien and Marcus Power), two players loaned to the team from the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, a local player (Kyle McGrath) on a Professional Try-Out, and newly un-retired Captain James Melindy.

#GouldsRulezhttps://t.co/P55Qu5ml4t
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) October 1, 2021

Aside from O’Brien and Power, notable players assigned to the Growlers from Toronto are goaltender Keith Petruzzelli, who will likely become the team’s starter in light of the unfortunate injury to Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott during NHL preseason, winger Jeremy McKenna, who TLN’s Nick Barden says has genuine NHL-upside and could become the Growlers’ leading scorer if he continues to make positive strides.
The third player of note is Noel Hoefenmayer, a 22-year old left-shot defenceman who played in 18 games for the Marlies last season and is projected to …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: Thoughts heading into training camp

It’s been three and half months since we’ve been adequately disappointed by the Leafs, and it’s almost time for some fresh hurt. How will the team wrong us this year? Will this be the year a concession stands worker injures Auston Matthews? Will Mitch Marner be thrown in a Chinese prison during the Olympic break? How will the Leafs keep the hurt fresh, yet quintessentially Leafy? Training camp is our first step on this voyage, and while this entire year feels like it will be a wait and see for the playoffs kind of year, there are going to be important stories to pick up at the start of training camp.
How will the Leafs adjust to Matthews not being in camp?
Auston Matthews’ decision to have surgery in August is potentially going to keep him out of the early on-ice work and preseason games to start training camp and while there doesn’t seem to be any risk to him not being ready for the start of the season, the question remains about how do the Leafs get their lineup sorted for game one.
It will be interesting to see if the Leafs at least explore …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Scottie Barnes wanting to play in Toronto is perfection

Raptors: Scottie Barnes wanting to play in Toronto is perfection

Since being drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors, Scottie Barnes might be batting 1.000. The numbers in Summer League were great. The physical tools and videos of his distractive defensive ability have Raptors fans wondering how opposing teams are ever going to score in the triple digits. He’s proven that his winning qualities go […]
Raptors: Scottie Barnes wanting to play in Toronto is perfection – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is peaking at the perfect time of the season

Since making his Major League debut in 2018, generating consistent offensive results has been one of the biggest areas of concern for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., however, that certainly hasn’t been the case for him recently.
While the 27-year-old displayed flashes of his potential throughout the first half of this season, maintaining his offensive production over an extended period remained a key issue, which largely prevented the bottom third of the Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup from making a significant impact. As a result, the offence struggled to turn over the batting order at times, limiting the number of scoring opportunities for the top half of the lineup.
Though this offence experienced its worst slump of the season during the middle of August, they’ve done an excellent job at recovering since then, and while accomplishing this feat has been a group effort, Gurriel Jr. has been one of the main forces behind this team’s recent hot streak.
Sure, almost every player on the 28-man roster has served a critical role in helping the Blue Jays win 15 of their last 17 games, but from an offensive standpoint, no one has enjoyed a stronger resurgence than the 6’4″ left fielder. Despite still …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Are you still mad at the Leafs?

Are you still mad at the Leafs?

It’s been three months since the Leafs last game, their annual tradition of getting bounced in the first round, and they say time heals all wounds. They say that, but for pretty much every Leafs fan on the planet that wound has been open for the majority of their lives (I have to assume there is a 109 year old Leafs fan somewhere.)
So in the spirit of emotional health, this week I’ve asked the TLN Contributors the question, “Are you still mad at the Leafs and why?” For some of them the answer might be that they were never mad, and I’ve asked them to explain that too. The continued playoff failure and outright collapse against a historic rival were the breaking point for many, others will just land on the fact you can’t lose a player like John Tavares in the playoffs and expect much. I envy those people who were able to move on so quickly. I’m a far angrier and irrational person.
Here is what the TLN crew had to say on the question:
Michael Mazzei
I come into this season with some mixed emotions about the Leafs. There’s obviously the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs development camp and rookie tournament: What we know so far

It’s been two years since the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to get a bulk of their prospects together on one rink for what is usually their annual development camp and rookie tournament. With COVID restrictions preventing both offseason fixtures a year ago, next month will be the first time selections across two entry drafts will have the opportunity to work directly with the Leafs development staff all at once.
Normally, development camp takes place the week or two following the draft, right at the end of July and beginning of August. Later in the offseason, just before training camp starts, a rookie tournament is held featuring much of the same group. Obviously, this isn’t the case this time around. Rather than hosting a separate development camp and rookie tournament, it appears the Maple Leafs staff is looking to streamline the process and make things as easy as possible with the COVID restrictions.
It’s confirmed that Toronto will be participating in the Traverse City rookie tournament hosted by the Detroit Red Wings from September 16-20, where they will also face prospects from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, and St. Louis Blues.
A schedule is available on …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Can Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam duo work together?

Raptors: Can Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam duo work together?

It’s been a couple of days since the Toronto Raptors drafted Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Many Raptor fans were surprised with the selection, as Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs, who was taken by the Orlando Magic, was still available and Pascal Siakam is still on the […]
Raptors: Can Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam duo work together? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ