Keefe: Marner and Engvall to rejoin the Leafs tomorrow, and some pregame roster changes

Some quick news out of Sheldon Keefe’s media availability this evening…

Per Sheldon Keefe, Timothy Liljegren & Joey Anderson are in tonight
Marner & Engvall expected to join the team in Arizona tomorrow @TSN_Edge
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 13, 2022

The most exciting aspect of this is the return of Mitch Marner (and Pierre Engvall.) With the Leafs having a fully healthy forward group (knock on wood that something bad doesn’t happen tonight), the Leafs can roll their ideal lines.
This probably also means that if you are a fan of Nick Ritchie, you’ll want to tune in tonight because it may be a while before you see him again.
As for the second half of that news, with a gassed looking Leafs team going to a shootout last night, putting in a couple of reserve players into the lineup makes a ton of sense. Liljegren is an obvious choice, and I’m sure there won’t be any shortage of fans excited for his return. Playing against Arizona is a great chance for both Liljegren and Anderson to get back into a comfortable swing of things.

Keefe says Clifford will not play and there is a gametime/cap related move that may see Sandin be the defenseman who comes out of the lineup tonight.
— David Alter (@dalter) January 13, 2022

The downside of the move to put Liljegren in is that Sandin is coming out, and if Keefe is alluding to salary cap related shuffle, there is no one easier to shuffle than the waiver exempt Rasmus Sandin. Other options would include Clifford (who is still temporarily exempt from being waived) or Nick Ritchie. Though if Sandin and Clifford are out, it’s likely one of the two of them this go around. St. Louis will be a different story.
G …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs take the necessary step of waiving Nick Ritchie to ice their best lineup going forward

To some extent the news seemed inevitable. With the return of Marner and Sandin to the Leafs lineup, the COVID protocol list shortening, and now mix in the dominant play of Ilya Mikheyev and safety net of Kyle Clifford, it seemed like the obvious decision was eventually going to be to waive Nick Ritchie.
Now it has happened:

Nick Ritchie on waivers
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 6, 2022

One of the other reasons why waiving Nick Ritchie seems like an obvious decision is the fact that he carries a $2.5M cap hit for this season and next. That puts the Leafs in a situation where they either lose Ritchie and regain a ton of cap space or they retain him, get at least $1.125M to work with as cap space and can try again with Ritchie once he’s had a chance to work out his issues on the Marlies for a bit.
The most likely scenario is obviously that Ritchie goes unclaimed because that’s a lot of risk for another team to take on without dumping someone back on the Leafs. Crazier things could happen, but come 2pm tomorrow, you can probably expect Ritchie to be a Marlie.
Ritchie’s contract was always a bit of a risk. Toronto paid him for what he did last season in Boston, but that was a career year that also feat …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Pascal Siakam became a Top 5 all-time Raptors player on Sunday

Pascal Siakam became a Top 5 all-time Raptors player on Sunday

The Toronto Raptors have been bolstered by some quality performances out of Pascal Siakam in the last few weeks. As the team has started to string some wins together, they’ve done so on the back of some vintage showings from one of the greatest players in the history of this franchise. Siakam’s name is plastered […]
Pascal Siakam became a Top 5 all-time Raptors player on Sunday – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Which Leafs are going to break out in 2022?

Yesterday we ran some of our 2022 predictions. Predictably the predictions focused on whether or not the Leafs could make it out of the first round of the playoffs. I left the question too open, that’s on me.
Today we’ll get more specific with our predictions and we’ll talk about which Leaf is primed for a breakout year in 2022.
Nick Barden
Ilya Mikheyev. I think with him coming back from injury and the Leafs with a lot of good players challenging for spots, he’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder. I truly believe (and hope) it’s Mikheyev.
Joseph Zita
Ondrej Kase
Michael Mazzei
Petr Mrazek
Roxanne Khasow
Justin Holl
Nick Richard
He has proven to be a valuable member of the team since day one but we have really seen Ondrej Kase start to step up as of late. He has been a key member on the Leafs’ shutdown line while playing a key role on the penalty kill but has managed one of the highest shots on goal totals on the team despite limited time on the powerplay or in the top-six to this point. There is clearly more offense in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Around the NHL: The biggest surprises (good and bad) in the NHL this season

A few days ago, I looked into some of the biggest surprises from the Leafs, so today I figured I’d take a look at some of the biggest surprises in the NHL. This can include players/teams who have exceeded expectations, performed well below expectations, or some who had no expectations and still disappointed, and I’ll also try and guess if it will continue for the rest of the season. This is based on my own expectations going into the season, as well as my current evaluations, so there will probably be a few that you aren’t surprised by or don’t think shouldn’t be on this list.
Pleasant Surprise: Detroit Red Wings
The Atlantic division was probably the one division this year that I thought would be pretty easy to predict. Tampa, Toronto, Boston, and Florida would all be the dominant teams that they looked like on paper, Montreal would go back to being a mediocre team after a Cup Finals run, and Detroit, Ottawa, and Buffalo would be lottery contenders. Well, Detroit has decided otherwise, as they’ve come along and become a somewhat competitive hockey team. It shouldn’t be too much of …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs sign 2021 5th round pick Ty Voit to entry level contract

It seems like the Leafs always have some late round draft pick for fans to get excited about with how well Kyle Dubas has been drafting since he took over as GM, and it looks like we have another one in forward Ty Voit, who the Leafs have just signed to a three year entry level contract.

We’ve signed forward Ty Voit to a three-year entry level contract. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 19, 2021

Voit was a 5th round pick in the 2021 draft after not playing for a full year due to the OHL not restarting because of COVID-19. He had just 28 points in 49 games as a rookie for the Sarnia Sting, but many expected him to play at a higher level in his draft eligible year. He has since lived up to that expectations, already surpassing his totals from his rookie year in just 24 games with 29 points thus far, all while also making the transition from winger to center.
His stock has definitely risen over the course of the season, as he jumped up four spots since in October in fellow TLN writer Kyle Cushman’s draft rankings, sliding in at 13th on the team.
It’s a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

3 biggest studs in Raptors win against backup-laden Warriors

3 biggest studs in Raptors win against backup-laden Warriors

The Toronto Raptors may have been on the receiving end of some bad breaks this season, but they took advantage of one gift that was dropped in their lap on Saturday night. The Golden State Warriors decided to rest almost all of their key rotation players, including Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins. While […]
3 biggest studs in Raptors win against backup-laden Warriors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Two more Leafs players added to the COVID Protocol list

At some point you have to wonder when enough is enough. Earlier it was Tavares and Kerfoot, now Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds have also been placed in COVID protocols according to the Leafs:

Maple Leafs forwards Wayne Simmonds and Jason Spezza have been placed into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Forward Alex Steeves and defenceman Carl Dahlström have been recalled from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 18, 2021

Presumably the Leafs feel they have exhausted their recallable forward list since Carl Dahlstrom will be one of the two players coming from the Marlies.
Also, they should, I dunno, consider cancelling the games in Vancouver and Seattle. The Leafs have a growing list of ineligible players, and the Canucks are already in a rough spot as well, is it worth continuing with a game that does little more than risk the infection of other players?
Of course this is the NHL, and cancelling games isn’t something they do easily, so let’s just try and take a guess at what the potential Leafs lineup card could look like on Saturday night.
Bunting-Matthews-Kase (not bad)
Ritchie-Nylander-Mikheyev
Clifford-Kampf-Engvall
Steeves
Rielly-Brodie
Muzzin-Liljegren
Dermott-Holl
Dahlstrom-Biega
Yep. We’re in eight …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Asking price for Terrence Ross should rule out Raptors reunion

Asking price for Terrence Ross should rule out Raptors reunion

The Toronto Raptors may need to look at some of the poorer teams in the NBA for reinforcements, as they are still in possession of the worst bench in the league. On paper, bringing back Orlando Magic swingman and former Raptors lottery selection Terrence Ross might not sound like the worst idea in the world. […]
Asking price for Terrence Ross should rule out Raptors reunion – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Grading all Toronto Raptors rookies and sophomores so far

Grading all Toronto Raptors rookies and sophomores so far

The Toronto Raptors have relied on the contributions of some of their young players for large chunks of the 2021-22 season. The selections of Scottie Barnes and Dalano Banton in the 2021 NBA Draft in addition to the trade for Precious Achiuwa show that the youth movement is fully underway. While Fred VanVleet and Pascal […]
Grading all Toronto Raptors rookies and sophomores so far – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ