Who will be Canada’s best NHL team next season?

The All-Canadian division looks to be a sure thing and with that comes predicting the best and worst teams.
Every NHL club has made significant moves that have altered their team in some way, shape or form. The question is, whether it changes their team for the good, or the bad. We will have to wait and see what happens for that but we can still try and predict who Canada’s top team is.
Here are my predictions and who I think will be the best and worst teams in the inevitable All-Canadian division. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Michael Hutchinson 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Leafs certainly are making sure they don’t find themselves in the awkward situation of having Michael Hutchinson as their backup goaltender again. The way they are ensuring that is by bringing back Michael Hutchinson as their fourth string goaltender.
The press release:

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed goaltender Michael Hutchinson to a two-year, two-way contract. The contract carries an NHL average annual value of $725,000.

Hutchinson, 30, split his 2019-20 season at the NHL level between the Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche and had a 5-9-1 record, posting a 3.47 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage. In four appearances for the Avalanche during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was 2-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Hutchinson also appeared in four games with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) during the 2019-20 season and went 3-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. In 127 career NHL games between Winnipeg, Florida, Toronto and Colorado, the Barrie, Ontario, native is 51-52-14 and has a 2.80 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
Hutchinson was originally selected by the Boston Bruins in the third round (77th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft.
So, there’s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix: Hockey Gossip From Around the League

Well, it sure has been an interesting week in the world of hockey, hasn’t it? And I don’t mean the actual hockey. AND it’s only Wednesday! TLN crew were chatting this morning about all the recent drama around the league, and it occurred to us that having a quick weekly roundup or rundown of the latest drama and gossip hits might be useful (and more importantly, fun.)
Introducing: Page 6ix. Your weekly hockey drama roundup! We’re just reporting it as it happens, gathering info in one handy place.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
 
A Knight’s Tale
The drama this week kicked off with this now infamous tweet by Allan Walsh, agent to Vegas Golden Knight goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury spoke to the press the following day, but never confirmed whether he knew about the tweet ahead of time. I’m not sure we’ll ever know the true story and all the details, but this certainly suggests that there is some drama in Knights-land.
 
Battle of the Blogs
Moving on, last night was a bit of a rollercoaster on social media. After …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

Kyle Clifford: “We like our chances”

As I’m sure is the case for many of us, Kyle Clifford wants the Leafs to be back in action. In a conference call interview on May 14, Clifford made his case for getting back to playing for the Stanley Cup.
“Just speaking with the guys on our team, there’s a real strong appetite to get playing no matter the circumstances. We look at our group and we like our chances. We know it’s not going to be easy, but at the same time, there’s an exciting group here.”
“Obviously do it safely, but I think the team is hungry to get back playing, and the fans are hungry for us to get back playing as well.”
The appetite is understandable, of course. Professional athletes like those in the NHL don’t get to where they are without an undying sense of competitiveness and an unquenchable thirst for greatness.
For the Leafs, living and playing in the biggest city in Canada, a restart would be an unenviable challenge for team health officers and local, provincial and federal public health officials.
Ultimately, for Clifford, the journey is about …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Pontus Aberg back up with the Leafs as absences pile up

Let’s start with what we know for sure, and that is that Pontus Aberg has been recalled from the Marlies…

The @MapleLeafs have recalled forward Pontus Aberg from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL). pic.twitter.com/DJ6VXrlfs5
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 10, 2020
Cool. He seems like a nice guy who loves his kid. Good for him. He’s been doing pretty decent on the Marlies, but hasn’t stood out on the Leafs. That happens a lot around here.
The bigger question is who is he potentially replacing…

William Nylander in attendance for #Leafs practice today, after missing last two games with an illness
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 10, 2020
Well, I guess we’re over the Nylander illness hump, and he’ll be back tomorrow night. That’s wonderful news since he’s very good and one of the most aggressive goal threats down low.

#Leafs have recalled Pontus Aberg from the Marlies.
John Tavares & Justin Holl (illness), Zach Hyman (“bumps/bruises”), and Kyle Clifford (funeral) will not be at practice. Andersen placed on IR retroactive to last Monday, but that doesn’t affect his …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are here! Make sure you’ve got all the Toronto Raptors fans in your life covered. We’re here to help with this item showcase. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Toronto Raptors fans! But before you start chugging egg nog and filling up on cookies, you need to take care of your […]
Toronto Raptors 2019 Holiday Gift Guide – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nathan Cunningham / Raptors HQ

Hot Takes From The Farm: Week Fourteen

Honestly, I’m not sure this is even a thing that people care about anymore as a marker of potential vulnerability but I’m going to make a post out of it anyway. The rest of the baseball world has moved on to metrics that I only understand insomuch as it goes to comparing one player to another but I’ve been too lazy to teach myself a really clear comprehension of them. So I freely admit there’s probably some metric that fleshes out this observation in ways beyond what I’m about to say. This, really, is just an observation not a conclusion: a lot of the Blue Jays best young hitting prospects strike out a LOT. Here’s a list of hitting prospects in general prospect status order including only those who’ve struck out more than once per game played. (Just players on full season teams for the same of sample size)
Anthony Alford: 76K/62k
Griffin Conine: 60/38
Kevin Smith: 92/71
Riley Adams: 84/68
Cullen Large: 72/68
Logan Warmoth: 66/60
Chavez Young: 75/70
Ryan Noda: 91/75
Hagen Danner: 76/64
Brock Lundquist: 74/70
Jake Brodt: 101/72
I’ll stop now because I’m getting into the marginal guys now. Of the top 50 on my list, 27 are …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Darren Dreger’s most recent offer-sheet speculation is hilarious

I’m not sure what dirt Mitch Marner’s camp has on Darren Dreger, but the TSN Insider was out doing his public relations rounds on behalf of the Leafs’ restricted free agent this morning. Dreger appeared on First Up on TSN 1050 and suggested that Marner (or one of the other major RFAs this summer) could warrant a contract as big as $13 or $14 million annually.

This offer sheet talk is getting way out of hand. $13-14,000,000 x 5?!? One of these guys is going to be made the highest paid player of all time, and a team is going to give up four firsts to do so? pic.twitter.com/vSO1HkY4Ac
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) June 25, 2019

What?!?!?
First of all, this annual cap hit would place Marner (or any of those other guys like Matt Tkachuk, Mikko Rantanen, or Brayden Point) as the player with the biggest cap hit in the league. It would give them an annual salary higher than Connor McDavid’s increasingly-modest looking $12.5 million figure.
Beyond that, the five-year thing is baffling to me. Why on earth would a team give up four first-round picks for the luxury of signing a guy to the largest single-season cap …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Kadri will either head into the 2019-20 season with a new home or a redemption story arc

I’m not sure if Nazem Kadri wants a mulligan on all of the 2018-19 season, but I’m sure he’d appreciate the do-over on his short lived playoff appearance.
Kadri didn’t have a great season, and that was to be somewhat expected simply based on his reduced role. The arrival of John Tavares meant that Kadri was going to be bumped to a third line role, and get the accompanying linemates that go along with that. Throw in the fact that William Nylander wasn’t available until December, Patrick Marleau’s performance fell off a cliff, and any expectation of maintaining a 30 goal a season pace of the past two seasons wasn’t likely.
That’s not to say that Kadri had a bad season (just a miserable playoffs), and the fact that he was a 44 point forward on the third line probably points to a lot of good hockey still being left in Nazem. The biggest question might be where Kadri will be playing that hockey.
Season recap:
Okay, so really there is only one thing we’re going to remember from this year and that is for the second straight season Kadri was suspended for …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Forgotten Raptors Playoffs: Morris Peterson gets the nod against Philly in 2001

Vince vs. Iverson? Sure, but do you remember the Morris Peterson vs. Aaron McKie matchup that swung Game 7? Welcome to Forgotten Raptors Playoffs! All throughout the 2019 NBA Playoffs, we’ll be looking back at past Raptors series — going all the way back to 2000 — and digging into the hidden, underrated, forgotten or straight-up wacky subplots and memories!
Today, we look at possibly the most well-remembered Raptors playoff series of all: The Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in 2001.
The Situation
Toronto Raptors (47-35, 5th seed; def. New York in round 1) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (56-26, 1st seed, def. Indiana Pacers in round 1)
The Outcome
Philadelphia defeats Toronto 4-3 in the best-of-seven series.
What Everyone Remembers
There’s a lot to remember here, including two 50-point games, but Vince Carter attending his college graduation the day of Game 7, and then missing the game-winning jumper at the buzzer, will never be topped.
What You Should Probably Remember Instead
The Raptors started a dang rookie in games 6 and 7.
That’s right, Morris Peterson, 21st overall pick out of Michigan State, who only played in three games in the first round for a total of 35 minutes, started the last two games against Philly — and played 38 minutes alone in Game 6!


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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ