Pavel Gogolev assigned to the Newfoundland Growlers

In a bit of surprise news, Toronto Marlies forward Pavel Gogolev has been loaned to the Newfoundland Growlers.
The news was first confirmed by the official AHL Transactions page. Gogolev, 22, signed a three year ELC with the Leafs on July 29, 2021, so this move makes him the only current Growler on an NHL contract.
Gogolev was not drafted by any NHL team, but he came onto the Leafs radar after putting up 96 points (45 goals) in 63 games with the OHL’s Guelph Storm during the 2019-2020 season.
After joining the Marlies during the 2020-21 season, Gogolev scored 12 points (6 goals) in 13 games playing in a top-six/middle-six role. This season, however, he has been deployed almost exclusively on the fourth line and has struggled, scoring just 8 points in 30 games. The move to the ECHL is likely to see him gain a much higher role with more ice-time, which will be more beneficial to his development than being underutilized in the AHL.
The move was speculated yesterday, Mar. 3, when Gogolev did not join the rest of the Marlies on the ice at practice. Sources say that Gogolev will likely play tonight in the Growlers’ first of three home games this weekend against the Adiro …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Top Leafs prospect Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela have been named to the Finnish World Junior Roster

So here’s the thing. This really shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. Roni Hirvonen has been playing very well for some time, and Topi Niemela…well…no Finnish defenseman in the history of Liiga is having a season like he’s having. He was not only a lock, but a lock made out of adamantium with a vibranium locking mechanism.

Finland announced its World Junior roster today. pic.twitter.com/PqnBkChbKW
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) December 8, 2021

Roni Hirvonen’s numbers:
Season
Team
League
GP
G
A
P
PIM
2019-20
 Ässät
Liiga
52
5
11
16
14
 Finland U18 (all)
International-Jr
9
6
6
12
10
 Finland U20 (all)
International-Jr
3
1
2
3
14
2020-21
 Ässät
Liiga
54
6
15
21
54
 Finland U20
WJC-20
7
2
4
6
18
2021-22
 HIFK
Liiga
26
4
9
13
18
 Finland U20
WJC-20





 Finland U20 (all)
International-Jr
11
12
3
15
14
Topi Niemela’s numbers:
Season
Team
League
GP
G
A
P
PIM
2019-20
 Kärpät U20
U20 SM-liiga
1
0
1
1
0
 Kärpät
Liiga
43
1
6
7
8
 Finland U18 (all)
International-Jr
9
0
4
4
2
 Finland U20 (all)
International-Jr
9
0
4
4
2
2020-21
 Kärpät U20
U20 SM-sarja
6
1
3
4
0
 Kärpät
Liiga
15
0
4
4
2
 Finland U20
WJC-20
7
2
6
8
6
2021-22
 Kärpät
Liiga
27
5
17
22
6
 Finland U20
WJC-20





 Finland U20 (all)
International-Jr
9
2
5
7
8
Both players had a strong WJC performance last year, and the expectations are just as high, if not higher this year as …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Spezza’s suspension adds to a growing number of key absences for the Leafs

It comes as no surprise that Spezza was going to be suspended. The “in-person” hearing was definitely made the suspension a lock, and set the bar of Players Safety targeting around 5 games or possibly more, with Spezza having the opportunity to maybe negotiate it down. With Spezza’s long career suspension free career there was certainly a possibility of that, but then again Players Safety is about as predictable as a goaltending prospect.

Toronto’s Jason Spezza has been suspended for six games for Kneeing Winnipeg’s Neal Pionk. https://t.co/DDlM0Tdzw3
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 8, 2021

So here we are. Jason gets six games. No Spezza until the Leafs play the Kraken on December 19th. (The things people will do to avoid an Alberta road trip.) The suspension is certainly warranted as there is little doubt that Spezza deliberately targeted Pionk, and even if the intent wasn’t to injure, he certainly wanted to make him hurt for what Pionk did to Sandin. Of course the fact that Spezza is missing more time than Pionk got for the Sandin hit is an irony not lost on Leafs fans.
Having Spezza out of the lineup at the same …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Is Scottie Barnes’ great workout a good sign or bad omen?

Raptors: Is Scottie Barnes’ great workout a good sign or bad omen?

By now, the Toronto Raptors’ draft night surprise and the Scottie Barnes vs. Jalen Suggs debate are in the past, as Barnes was taken with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. In truth, we’re still a long way from being able to properly evaluate the club’s risky, against-the-grain choice of Barnes over […]
Raptors: Is Scottie Barnes’ great workout a good sign or bad omen? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

Frederik Andersen making progress but won’t join the Leafs on the road trip

It’s probably not too much of a surprise that Andersen won’t join the Leafs on the road trip, as they are already in Winnipeg and it’s an awfully long bus ride there from Toronto, but in addition to missing Friday’s game against Winnipeg, Andersen also won’t be in Calgary on Sunday and Monday…

Sheldon Keefe said Frederik Andersen had follow up appointment today. The feedback is that he’s progressing well. #Leafs will continue to monitor him and reassess next week.
Won’t join Leafs on this trip.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) April 1, 2021

So this means a couple of things. First, progress is good, but progress can mean a lot of things.
Second, the earliest that the team will be back in Toronto with Andersen will be on Tuesday before their Wednesday game against Montreal. If the intention is to reassess him at that time, we can probably assume that Andersen won’t be in goal Wednesday either. That essentially means that if the Leafs want to get a look at Andersen in advance of the trade deadline to know the level he’s playing at it, it will Saturday the 10th against Ottawa. Given that it …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

ALL ABOARD THE KIRK TRAIN (Alejandro Kirk as made the Blue Jays roster, along with Tim Mayza and Trent Thornton)

I don’t think this is that much of a surprise but it’s great to see the news — Alejandro Kirk, everyone’s favourite Large Adult Son, has cracked the Blue Jays opening day roster.

#BlueJays have told Alejandro Kirk, Trent Thornton, Tim Mayza and Rowdy Tellez that they’ve made the team.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 28, 2021

We learned earlier this week that Jonathan Davis and Joe Panik will be on the team’s 26-man roster so, with the announcement that Kirk, Trent Thornton, and Tim Mayza breaking camp, we’re starting to get a pretty clear picture of the group the Blue Jays will carry into the season. Also, I have no idea why Rowdy Tellez, who has been a given all spring, was added to that tweet, but, anyways…
It’s pretty clear that Kirk is big-league-ready. The only question surrounding whether or not he would make the team was the fact that Reese McGuire is out of options and would be subject to waivers if he was sent to Triple-A. We know that the Blue Jays’ front office is conservative when it comes to asset management and they don’t want to lose a decent back-up like McGuire …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Joe Panik will be on the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster

To the surprise of nobody, Joe Panik will be travelling north remaining in Dunedin with the Blue Jays when the team breaks camp.

The #BlueJays have told Joe Panik he’s made the team, but won’t make roster move to get him on 40-man until opening day roster is set, team says
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 26, 2021

Panik, who is currently at spring training on a minor-league deal as a non-roster invite, will reportedly be added to the 40-man roster within the next few days.
There’s no word yet on Francisco Liriano, who’s also at camp as a non-roster invitee. Both players have opt-outs on their minor-league deals before the end of spring training so they can have a chance to stick elsewhere if they don’t crack the Blue Jays roster.
Again, it’s no surprise that Panik has made the team, given the Blue Jays seemed to like him in the backup infielder, utility role last year. Santiago Espinal might be the better player but he’s better off playing every day in Buffalo while Panik’s long-term development as a player isn’t a priority for the organization. I would imagine that Breyvic Valera gets designated for …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Reasons why Chris Boucher should still come off the bench

Toronto Raptors: Reasons why Chris Boucher should still come off the bench

It’s no surprise to anyone that the Toronto Raptors have had their struggles this season with their centres and the decision on who to start and who to sit. The Toronto Raptors signed big men Aron Baynes and Alex Len after losing both of their own big men in Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, which […]
Toronto Raptors: Reasons why Chris Boucher should still come off the bench – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

All five Leafs players clear waivers

To the surprise of no one, all five Leafs players placed on waivers yesterday cleared. IN fact, all but four players around the league were not claimed by any team.

Carolina claims Anton Forsberg from Edmonton;San Jose claims Rudolfs Balcers from Ottawa;NJ claims Eric Comrie from Winnipeg;Nashville claims Luca Sbisa from Winnipeg
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 12, 2021

Notice how two of the players that were claimed are goalies. If you may recall, Aaron Dell was one of the guys the Leafs decided to keep on their main roster instead of attempting to sneak him through waivers. With goalie depth being such an important asset to have for the coming season, it was wise that Toronto decided to keep him on the roster rather than risk losing him for nothing to make Michael Hutchinson the third goalie on the depth chart.
You can tell Kyle Dubas learned his lesson from three years ago when he lost both Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard both got claimed on waivers prior to the start of the 2018-19 campaign.

With two goaltenders claimed off waivers — Anton Forsberg to CAR, Eric Comrie to NJ — the #leafs strategy of keeping No. 3 Aaron Dell pays off. …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the Numbers: Ilya Mikheyev

The surprise emergence of Ilya Mikheyev last season seems like it was fun for everyone involved (except the goalies he scored on). Coming over from Russia, he immediately found a role as a top-6 forward playing a more energy role, like Zach Hyman does on whatever line he’s playing on.
At 5-on-5 last season, Mikheyev scored 6 goals and 15 assists. He also rose to fame with a simple comment on soup, earning him an endorsement with Campbell’s.
That’s why Ilya Mikheyev’s number is 44.
Why? Because for an 82-game season, in what was his debut NHL season, he was on pace to score 44 points. And also, his commercial for Campbell’s soup is 44 seconds long (according to YouTube; nominally it is a 45-second commercial).
If you live under a rock and didn’t know, Mikheyev landed the deal with Campbell’s thanks to an innocent comment in one of his postgame interviews:

Ilya Mikheyev bravely faced the Toronto media post-game, in English. Did a great job.
Talked about the adjustments to being in Canada now: “I like soup. I don’t know why you don’t eat soup. My girlfriend cooks for me, so I’m very happy.”
— …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation