Leafs Prospect Roundup: Analyzing Leafs’ WJC performances

It has been quite some time since a World Juniors tournament has held so much intrigue for the Leafs and their fans, with six of the organization’s prospects taking part this year. It would have been seven had the Leafs elected to send Nick Robertson to play with team USA but the decision was made for him to remain in Toronto to put himself in the best position to earn a spot in the NHL lineup on opening night.
Considering Robertson’s proximity to the NHL, and just how impressive the Leafs’ prospects looked at the World Juniors, management has to feel good about how they’ve been able to restock the prospect pool in recent drafts. Two of their mid round picks from the 2019 draft were called upon to play in the tournament, and each of their first four picks from the 2020 draft also made the cut for their respective countries.
Topi Niemela – RHD – Karpat (Liiga)
The World Juniors were a coming out party for the Leafs’ 2020 third round pick as Niemela exceeded all expectations on his way to being named the best defenceman at the tournament. He played in all situations for the bronze medal winning Finnish …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs by the Numbers: Jake Muzzin

For quite some time the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite having a litany of defensemen who possessed tremendous offensive instincts, always seemed to lack one capable of playing in their top four who had a truly rounded out defensive game. Sure, there were attempts to remedy this. Many men who were lauded for their defensive acumen were placed in the top four, but it did not take many viewings to realize that just because you put him there, Matt Hunwick was not a top four defenseman. And neither was Roman Polak. Ditto Ron Hainsey. All were fine in their own right, but they weren’t the answer. They were capable depth pieces, asked to play way above their heads. The Leafs were in need of a legitimate top four defenseman.
Every now and again, I find myself marveling over the fact the Jake Muzzin is a Toronto Maple Leaf more than I do any other Toronto Maple Leaf. No, not in the same way that I marvel over the likes of Auston Matthews or John Tavares, but as someone who has watched a great deal of west coast games (especially Pacific Division games) I had long desired the a player of …

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Author: Brian Reid / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six sign 3 new players: Taytum Clairmont, Julie Allen, Megan Quinn

The Toronto Six are adding some Toronto-based depth to the organization, adding two forwards and one defender to the roster in preparation for the 2021 NWHL Bubble Season, which will begin on January 23rd and finish on February 5th. The new faces are forwards 24-year-old Taytum Clairmont and 33-year-old Julie Allen, and defender 24-year-old Megan Quinn.
Two of these players, Quinn and Allen, played for the former professional women’s hockey team in the CWHL, the Toronto Furies. Allen
Julie Allen is a veteran and actually played for the Furies for the last 5 years of that franchise’s existence, which was created in 2010 and was folded when the league folded in 2019. Her leadership skills are more prominent than her prowess as a scorer, relative to her teammates, but that experience and wisdom will be invaluable for what is otherwise a pretty young team. They’re also a fresh team, that isn’t going to be super familiar with each other, so the guidance of Allen and other veterans on the team like Emily Fluke.
Taytum Clairmont, the other forward signed, will be making her professional hockey debut with Toronto, having played previously for the University of Waterloo Warriors for 2 seasons, and …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

David Warsofsky placed on waivers

Today, Leafs fans got some very surprising news.

David Warsofsky (TOR) on waivers. No one claimed from yesterday
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 1, 2021

Not surprising in that we were shocked with the actual news. No, it’s surprising because I don’t think anybody knew we had a player named David Warsofsky on the team.
But, he’s actually been on the team for more than four months, because he was a random piece in the Kasperi Kapanen trade back in Ausgust. While there were much bigger pieces moving around in that trade (most notably the 1st round pick and Filip Hallander), Warsofsky was another piece of the deal, mostly just to keep both teams contracts below the 50 player max.
The 30 year old defenseman was drafted 95th overall by the St. Louis Blues, although he never played for them as his rights were traded to Boston for Vladimir Sobotka. He made his NHL debut in 2013-14 with the Bruins, and has played in parts of 5 NHL seasons, garnering 55 games and 11 points, as well as four playoff games with no points.
This isn’t really a move that significantly impacts the Leafs a ton. They already have eight or nine defensemen capable …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

J.A. Happ Round Three?

We all want the Blue Jays to make some pitching additions this off-season. Perhaps adding somebody from the New York Yankees? Maybe a left-handed starter?

Apparently, according to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays have expressed interest in doing exactly that, though it isn’t the Yankee lefty you’re probably hoping for.
Nope, not James Paxton to satisfy your need for CanCon. The Blue Jays have shown interest in old friend J.A. Happ.

Sources: #BlueJays interested in free agent LHP J.A. Happ, who had two prior tenures with the club: 2012-2014 and 2016-2018. Happ, 38, ranked fourth in ERA+ this year among free-agent pitchers who threw at least 40 IP. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2020

Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling mentioned the possibility of the Jays circling back to Happ as a veteran pitching addition last week, so it isn’t all too big of a surprise to see his name mentioned here. Also, it seems the Jays are checking in with literally everyone so this might not mean anything.
Anyways, J.A. Happ, Round Three? Why not, I guess?
This obviously wouldn’t be the top-of-the-rotation upgrade we’re all hoping for, but Happ is still a fairly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why Toronto Raptors should sign Canadian free agent Lindell Wigginton

Why Toronto Raptors should sign Canadian free agent Lindell Wigginton

The Canadian free-agent guard could add some depth in a position that is facing some uncertainty for the Toronto Raptors. The Toronto Raptors are in a pivotal offseason for the future of the franchise. With the draft two weeks away and free agency still to be determined, the Raptors front office is certainly running through all […]
Why Toronto Raptors should sign Canadian free agent Lindell Wigginton – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

It looks like the Vancouver Canadians are becoming an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics

Here’s some bad news for Blue Jays fans out west.

It appears as though the Vancouver Canadians, who have been the Blue Jays’ short-season rookie ball affiliate since 2011, are becoming a full-season affiliate for the Oakland Athletics.

interesting baseball development (to my interests + geography, anyways)
According to @susanslusser article, the @vancanadians MLB affiliate may be changing from the #BlueJays to the #Athletics.
+ moving up a level with minor league restructuring?https://t.co/XEhwISwu10 pic.twitter.com/XoKy9Qx8s6
— Mike McKinnon (@mikemckinnon) October 20, 2020

The original Vancouver Canadians played in the Pacific League back in the Good Old Days with the Edmonton Trappers and Calgary Cannons. But, in 2000, they got purchased by new ownership and packed up and moved south to Sacramento, California. Calgary and Edmonton would soon follow.
Immediately after the original Canadians moved south, a new Canadians franchise popped up and became a Class-A affiliate for the A’s. They would be an Oakland affiliate from 2000 to 2010 before reaching a deal to become one of the Blue Jays’ rookie ball teams.
So, really, affiliating with Oakland isn’t anything new, it’s actually a throwback. It’s just a shame that fans in Vancouver and the rest …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs announce roster for phase 3 training camp

For the first time in months, we have some Leafs lineup news to chew on. Well, kind of. On Sunday morning the team announced their roster for phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play:

Off to summer camp.
Phase 3 Return to Play roster announced. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/GncCslBpO6
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 12, 2020

The roster includes a few surprises among the 18 forwards and 12 defenceman that make up the group of 30 skaters permitted for phase 3. Up front, the Leafs opted for more center depth in the form of Tyler Gaudet over wingers like Miika Salomaki and Pontus Aberg.
Mac Hollowell will be in tough to earn a roster spot for phase 4 but after starting the season with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, being included in this limited training camp environment speaks to how the Leafs feel about his potential. Teemu Kivihalme flew under the radar a bit this season but was forced into big minutes with the Marlies as injuries on the Leafs blue line depleted the AHL squad’s depth. The organization thinks highly of him but he could fall victim to the numbers game as camp wraps up.
There is a 31 player roster …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: The Kyle Lowry Story (The Disruptor)

Kyle Lowry took some time before he became the “Kyle Lowry.” Before his time with the Toronto Raptors, he was labeled a trouble maker and was never a consistent starting Point Guard. His road to stardom was an unconventional one, but still a good one to read nonetheless. To say Kyle Lowry’s road to stardom […]
Toronto Raptors: The Kyle Lowry Story (The Disruptor) – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Raptors in Orlando: Four secret weapons Toronto has for NBA playoffs

The Toronto Raptors have some lesser-known players who can make impact The NBA is returning in late July, and the Toronto Raptors will, of course, be included. In a closed-campus environment, the defending champion Raptors will look to win a repeat NBA Championship in one of the strangest settings we’ve ever seen. Unconventional is the […]
Raptors in Orlando: Four secret weapons Toronto has for NBA playoffs – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Josh Wilson / Raptors HQ