Vladdy breaks out of his slump, Nate Pearson goes back to Triple-A, Oakland relocation talk, and more!

Quite a bit happened yesterday so let’s go through all of it…

Before Tuesday’s series-opener in Atlanta, our good pal Paul wrote that Vlad Jr. was going through his first slump of the 2021 season, highlighted by a 6-for-27 showing with no homers over the team’s six-game strip through Oakland and Houston. Paul noted that opposing pitchers had started pounding Vladdy low in the zone resulting in a bunch of balls getting drilled on the ground.
On Tuesday, Vlad went 3-for-5 with a game-tying home run and another clutch game-tying single. The ball that he hit out of the park off of Bryse Wilson, who was cruising, was located in the lower half of the zone, which is a good sign that Vladdy has made the proper adjustment to break out of this cold snap.

OPLAKATA PO pic.twitter.com/dwqKbM0sZo
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 12, 2021

The Blue Jays ended up winning thanks to a three-run rally in the eighth inning, in which Teoscar Hernandez hit a rare bases-loaded infield single that drove in a run and Cavan Biggio drew a bases-loaded walk. Also key to the win was a strong start from Robbie Ray, which featured …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Lenny Wilkens remembers Raptors tenure and fans fondly

Toronto Raptors: Lenny Wilkens remembers Raptors tenure and fans fondly

The Toronto Raptors struggled through some truly awful basketball through the first few years of their NBA existence, but the hiring of Hall of Fame coach Lenny Wilkens helped turn this team around as soon as he arrived in Toronto. Wilkens ended his Raptors tenure with a sub-.500 record, but he made the playoffs in […]
Toronto Raptors: Lenny Wilkens remembers Raptors tenure and fans fondly – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Baylor guard Davion Mitchell scouting report: Could the Raptors be a fit?

Baylor guard Davion Mitchell scouting report: Could the Raptors be a fit?

As the Toronto Raptors continue to trudge through a disappointing season, they can take solace in knowing that this summer’s NBA Draft is deep with talent that can make an impact on their roster, regardless of position. One name to keep an eye on should the Raptors find themselves outside of the top five is […]
Baylor guard Davion Mitchell scouting report: Could the Raptors be a fit? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kartik Rudra / Raptors HQ

Leafs look to make it two in a row against Flames

The Leafs are rolling through the prairies right now, stacking their wins column in all three games of the road trip so far. Though they needed OT for the first two, last night’s defeat of the Flames came in regulation, with Michael Hutchinson in net. The wins might not be as pretty as they were in the early part of the season, but a win is a win, and this Leafs team is finding ways to grab them.
Coming into night two of a back to back for both teams means the playing ground is even in terms of rest and wear, but the Flames will be hungry to split the series and topple the Leafs tonight. They’re on a three game losing streak, and keeping it from becoming four will be priority number one. Veteran goalie Jacob Markstrom is likely to be in net for the Flames tonight, with Jack Campbell at the other end of the ice.
The big boys showed up for the Leafs late in yesterday’s game, with both John Tavares and Auston Matthews scoring goals in the third period to bring the team to a 4-2 win. Though the Leafs looked a …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Does Jalen Harris have a future with this team?

Toronto Raptors: Does Jalen Harris have a future with this team?

The Toronto Raptors tried to build through the draft this year, using two draft picks in order to select a pair of Mountain West stars in San Diego State point guard Malachi Flynn and Nevada shooting guard Jalen Harris, both of whom are 22 years old due to the fact they transferred in and lost […]
Toronto Raptors: Does Jalen Harris have a future with this team? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Scott’s Thoughts: Mid-season report cards

We’re more than halfway through the season, and with that means we can start to hand out some report cards for the Leafs players based on their performance so far. Their grades will be waited by a combination of their performance, but also their expectations going into the season. The evaluations will be based on a combination of my own opinion as well as the numbers they’ve put up, so there’s a very good chance that you aren’t going to agree with every grade.
We have a lot to get through, so let’s get started.
Auston Matthews: A
Matthews had the expectations of the best player on our team, and he has performed as such so far this season, especially before his injury. He had a massive lead in goals before his injury allowed McDavid to catch up, and is also still an incredible playmaker. His underlying numbers are spectacular as well, with a 54.16% CF% and a 59.15% xGF% this season, and a 6.9 GAR (nice) this season. The only thing holding him back from getting an A+ is that his defensive game has taken a slight step back from last season, but that hasn’t hindered …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Masai Ujiri should absolutely go after Zach LaVine in a trade

Raptors: Masai Ujiri should absolutely go after Zach LaVine in a trade

The Toronto Raptors are in a weird position through 20 games. They’re not good enough to compete for an NBA title, but they’re not bad enough to tank for a high draft pick. Being stuck in no man’s land is the most frustrating position in professional sports, especially when you’re a franchise like Toronto that has […]
Raptors: Masai Ujiri should absolutely go after Zach LaVine in a trade – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Stephen Nixon / Raptors HQ

What does this season mean to the Maple Leafs?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been through almost everything.
It has been an interesting last few years to say the least. I’d like to say it started with the Nikita Zaitsev signing in May of 2017 — a questionable choice. A year later, Lou Lamiorello, the Maple Leafs GM at the time was let go and Kyle Dubas was named the new GM.
There was a new head honcho for the Toronto Maple Leafs — someone younger, who can present new ideas and create a new team. That year was the hardest for Dubas and most Maple Leafs fans because 2018 was the year that William Nylander was an RFA, until December 1st.
A few months later, Auston Matthews signed his five-year, $58.17 million contract and it felt like a weight was lifted off our shoulders. Yet again though, we didn’t know what was upon us going into that summer. The Maple Leafs and Mitch Marner couldn’t agree on a contract, and later that summer his agent, Darren Ferris, said that the then 22-year-old would soon leave for Europe if there was no solid contract offer.
Fast forward to September 13th, Marner signs a six-year, $65.3 million contract and flies out St. Johns, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: A Christmas Wishlist of what needs to be done in 2021

Toronto Raptors: A Christmas Wishlist of what needs to be done in 2021

2020 has been a rough year for everyone, but through it all the Toronto Raptors have consistently performed well. From being second place in the Eastern Conference last season to reaching the semifinals in the playoffs last season with the recent departures of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Although it doesn’t feel as Christmas day […]
Toronto Raptors: A Christmas Wishlist of what needs to be done in 2021 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Zelniker / Raptors HQ

Leafs darkhorse prospects

As we continue to march our way through the TLN prospect rankings, I thought I’d take a moment to ask some of the contributors on the site, who their darkhorse prospect is for being a solid NHL player. As we head into a week with the top five prospects being showcased, I figured now would be as good a time as any to look back at some of the favourites we’ve covered (or haven’t covered.)
Earl Schwartz: Kristians Rubins
After we ranked him 18th in the TLN prospect rankings I’m not sure Kristians Rubins is considered a dark horse, but I will take any opportunity to stan Rubins. There was a time where the Leafs had an abundance of large D prospects, I remember the picture of Rasanen, Gordeev, and Middleton towering over Barb Underhill. Then it turned out they were actually not very good, and the Leafs best D prospects were undersized. At 6’4″ and 220 lbs Rubins diversified the Marlies blue line, but he also makes plays with the puck. He did figure skating as a kid and it shows, he’s such a smooth skater for a big man. When you see a 6’4″ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation