The Bruins can never be taken lightly as a playoff opponent

If one thing was made clear in our post earlier today, there’s no shortage of people who think it’s in the Leafs best interest to face the Bruins. I’m not sure I fall into that camp, and while it seems less than likely the Bruins will be who Toronto faces in the first round, there is still a very real possibility that a team whose identity is based on playing “playoff hockey” is going to be able to upset either the Panthers, or based on the current seeding, run through the Metropolitan Division and reemerge to face an Atlantic Division opponent in the Conference Finals. If the Leafs somehow find themselves there, I can’t imagine a more fitting, but unwelcome barrier to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Boston by the numbers:

97 (10th)
106 (3rd)
231 (18th)
293 (2nd)
201 (4th)
234 (18th)
21.6% (14th)
27.8% (1st)
82.3% (8th)
83.0% (7th)
as of April 19th
For a team that has a reputation for playing a punishing style of hockey, they are also statistical darlings and their lower point total shouldn’t put teams at ease, especially when looking at their PDO. If things start going anywhere close to right for this team, they are capable of making things difficult for absolutely every team in the league.
A forward group that begins with a line of Pastrnak, Bergeron, and Marchand begs to be taken seriously. Throw in a supporting cast led by Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith and the Bruins show signs of offensive depth.
Of course, the Bruins are first and foremost shit disturbers and it doesn’t stop at Marchand. Trent Frederic, Nick Foligno, and Jake DeBrusk aren’t fun to play against. Even the Bruins depth seems to understand that if they want to be in the lineup, they need to make life difficult means there aren’t too many easy shifts …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Off Day Notes: Multiple unvaccinated Red Sox will miss trip to Toronto, the Yankees’ struggles with the Orioles, and more!

The Blue Jays have a day off today, so let’s take a look around the American League.

The big story today is that the Boston Red Sox have multiple unvaccinated players who won’t be able to join the team as they travel to Toronto next week. As of right now, the only one we know about is pitcher Tanner Houck, who would have been lined up to start next Tuesday for the Red Sox in Toronto.

Cora was asked after an 8-1 win over Minnesota on Sunday if he expected to be missing other players.
“Yeah,” Cora said. He was not asked a follow-up question and then ended the press conference.
Asked earlier about Houck, Cora said: “We knew it beforehand, so we’ll plan accordingly.”

Tanner Houck tells the Globe that he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19. Because of Canada’s vaccine mandate, Houck won’t be able to pitch next Tuesday in Toronto.
“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck said
— Julian McWilliams (@byJulianMack) April 17, 2022

As an aside, the language here is yet another example of the disingenuous way that the Canada-U.S. border situation is being reported on. It’s always “Canada’s laws are making it so this guy can’t enter the country,” when, in reality, the United States has the same rules when it comes to those who are unvaccinated crossing their border. While this as framed as an advantage to the Blue Jays, they’re still up against the same obstacle, and they’ve had to consider vaccine status when putting together their roster.
Anyways! We know Houck, who has a 3.00 ERA over two starts this season, won’t be joining the Sox in Toronto, but we don’t know who else will be staying behind. But before we get there, we have a three-game series in Boston with the Red Sox to think about.
Yusei Kikuchi …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

3 advantages Raptors have over 76ers in potential playoff matchup

3 advantages Raptors have over 76ers in potential playoff matchup

If the season ended today, the No. 5 seed Toronto Raptors would be locked into a grueling playoff matchup against Joel Embiid and the No. 4 seed Philadelphia 76ers. Considering how well Toronto has played them this season, this promises to be a very competitive matchup. The 76ers will lean on an MVP candidate in […]
3 advantages Raptors have over 76ers in potential playoff matchup – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Gosuke Katoh has made the Blue Jays and will be added to the 40-man roster

We learned earlier today that Greg Bird had opted out of his minor league contract with the Blue Jays as the team opted not to add him to the 40-man roster.

We know now why that was the case.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith, Gosuke Katoh has cracked the Blue Jays’ roster. He was also at camp on a minor league deal, so Katoh will fill the Blue Jays’ final open 40-man roster spot.

Gosuke Katoh has made the #BlueJays
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 4, 2022

While everybody got really charged up about Bird because he used to be a top prospect and he had a good spring, Katoh made more sense for the Blue Jays given their roster composition. Bird is pretty much limited to playing first base or serving as the designated hitter, while Katoh, who’s also a lefty, can play just about every position. With Vladdy entrenched at first base and the DH slot a revolving door for off-days, a utility infielder is a better fit for this team than a power bat.
Katoh had a solid spring, going 8-for-23 with two doubles and a homer, along with two walks and six strikeouts. The former second-round pick of the Yankees has never played at the big league level, but he slashed an impressive .306/.388/.474 line over 402 plate appearances for the San Diego Padres Triple-A team last season.
Assuming nobody is designated for assignment, the Blue Jays are now at a full 40-man roster.

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Bluelines: Introducing The Leafs Nation’s game day betting guide

Today is our maiden voyage of Bluelines, our betting guide in partnership with PointsBet Canada, which launches in Ontario today. Every Leafs game day we’ll give you a quick look at what is being said about the Leafs, some player props, and a couple of other bets that might be worth your time.
Leafs vs. Lightning (Leafs: +110)
It seems unfair that we have to start off this series with the Leafs being underdogs, but it’s a tough couple of days for Toronto. It’s hard not to say bet on the Lightning at home, but if you are a true Leaf believer, you have the potential to be rewarded twice.
Corey Perry to score (+300)
Heading into a Leafs game I always check to see what former Leaf is going to burn Toronto, and while I wouldn’t rule out Bogosian getting on the scoresheet, expecting a goal from him seems like a little much. I also considered putting money on Brandon Hagel, a favourite deadline target, to get on the board, but I can’t imagine anything worse than Corey Perry scoring on the Leafs, so that’s what I’m counting on tonight.
Go big with a Matthews …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

McKenzie: Rasmus Sandin injury could be more than day-to-day

As we try to cover as many trades as possible today, there’s one person who’s enjoying their Maple Leafs reporting, and that’s Bob McKenzie.
Over the course of the last hour, the Maple Leafs have stepped onto the ice for practice missing two key players — Ondrej Kase and Rasmus Sandin. Kase, we know was injured when he took a hit to the head by Matt Duchene.
But for Sandin, that’s an injury that seems to be a mystery.

No Rasmus Sandin on the ice for TOR practice today. If it’s a longer term injury, he would be a candidate for LTIR and, if so, would give TOR a little more cap flexibility today.
— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 21, 2022

Above is the thread of tweets courtesy of McKenzie, where he discusses all the possible avenues that Toronto can go down in terms of trades ahead of 3PM.
Then, he threw out this tweet, which gave us a better look at what might be going on with Sandin.

Sandin’s injury is believed to be his knee. Certainly not day-to-day.
— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 21, 2022

There’s no report on how big of an injury it is, but if the 22-year-old is out for some time, Toronto will likely have to look for another defenceman. I’m sure they knew about this prior to their trade yesterday for Mark Giordano, and maybe this was part of the reason they waived Petr Mrazek and Kyle Clifford.
Yes, it was to acquire the two of Giordano and Colin Blackwell, but it also could be part of this move, too.
There may also be more players within the Maple Leafs organization on the move, such as Alex Biega, who’s just been traded to Nashville as I write this.
Obviously, there’s a lot going on, so we’ll keep you in the loop as best as we can on this fun, but hectic day. …

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Travis Dermott has been traded to the Canucks

The rumblings turned to scuttlebutt turned to a trade today, as the rumours of Travis Dermott to Vancouver came to fruition.

Travis Dermott has been traded to Vancouver.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 20, 2022

Travis Dermott wanted out. The Leafs didn’t have a place for him, and it seems that Vancouver is as good a place as any to send him, as a non-playoff Western Conference team will burn the Leafs a lot less than anyone else on this type of move.

Leafs get a third round pick in return for Dermott
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 20, 2022

The Leafs pick up a draft pick in the process, which shows that this deal was largely about clearing cap space and giving Travis Dermott a fresh start, not much else.
Dermott’s departure means a hit to defensive depth, but with the arrival of Giordano, Dermott was going to be at least the 9th defenseman on the depth chart. He deserves a better shot than that, especially with so much of his career still ahead of him.
We’ll update this post once we know what year the 3rd round pick is from.

Less than a week away from the NHL Trade Deadline and @DailyFaceoff will have you fully covered!
3.5 hours of breaking news and top-notch analysis with @frank_seravalli and @PeteBlackburn and our full staff! Live at noon eastern.
Shoutout to @manscaped
— Daily Faceoff (@DailyFaceoff) March 16, 2022

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Free Agency Wrap Up: Day 2

Well, the flood gates sure opened up today. The Jays have added their fifth starter, while some notable names came off the board.

Unlike yesterday morning’s article, I won’t be covering every single transaction that took place on Saturday. Just the notable moves.
Yusei Kikuchi to the Blue Jays:
I wrote about this shortly after this broke. If Pete Walker can help fix Kikuchi’s game, the 3 year, $36 million contract may come off as a steal. Furthermore, the Jays look to have one of the best starting rotations, except for maybe the Mets.
Luke Maile to the Guardians:
Former Jays’ catcher Luke Maile has signed with the Guardians. I only bring this up because I bought a child sized Luke Maile jersey (accidentally back in 2018, as it was an inside joke between my editor and I. Nothing for the best for the Maile man, as he always delivered.
Chris Bassit to the Mets:

We’ve acquired RHP Chris Bassitt from Oakland for RHP Adam Oller and RHP J.T. Ginn.
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 13, 2022

So, this wasn’t a signing, but it’s still notable. The Mets traded two right handers, Adam Oller and J.T. Ginn to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Chris Bassitt. The Mets now have a starting rotation of Jacob DeGrom, Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and former Jay, Taijuan Walker. 
The last two didn’t have a great season, but the first three pitchers in that rotation are crazy.
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa to the Twins, Mitch Garver to the Rangers:

Catcher Mitch Garver is headed to the Rangers in the deal for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 12, 2022

Kiner-Falefa is a good defensive shortstop who can occasionally hit for power as he had eight home runs in 2021. Garver, a catcher, is looking to find his 2019 form where he hit 31 homers for the Twins, more than every other season combined. Garver hit 13 in 2021.
Joe Kelly to the White Sox:
I doubt the Jays were ever in play to sign the right hander who has recently transitioned to the pen …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Jake Muzzin Situation

I left work today with my phone at 1% battery, so I get to the car, plug my phone in, and I’ve got 10 notifications saying “Dance, CBA man, dance!” The people demand to know why Latvian legend Kristians Rubins and KHL stud Brennan Menell have emerged on the Leafs roster seemingly out of nowhere.
As you likely know by now, the Leafs recalled those two defencemen and subsequently loaned Rasmus Sandin to the minors. This was an attempt to get as close to the upper limit as possible before placing Jake Muzzin and his $5.625m cap hit on LTIR. In the most simple terms, teams do this because any unused cap space at the time a player is placed on LTIR is lost.
Typically this is demonstrated by saying a team has an $80m cap hit on an $81.5m upper limit. That team has a $5m player they want to put on LTIR, and no matter what, the day they place that player on LTIR they will have exactly $5m in cap space. If they make no roster moves, $1.5m is essentially lost. If they recall two players with a $750k cap hit before placing said player on LTIR, t …

Read More

Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Canadian women fly past the Swedes, continuing their unbeaten streak at the 2022 Olympics

Today, the Canadian women faced the Swedish women’s team in their quarterfinal match at 8:10 AM Eastern time in Beijing. The game was another blowout for Canada, as they demolished the Swedes 11-0.
Canada was led by their potent offense and deadly powerplay, which is scoring on over 50% of their opportunities so far in these Olympic games. The game saw hat tricks from both Brianne Jenner and Olympics rookie Sarah Fillier.
Goalie Emerance Maschmeyer put up an 11 shot shutout, as the dominant Canadian skaters prevented the Swedes from ever really setting up their offense. It has to be pretty rare that the goalie has the same number of saves as their offense does goals.
Marie-Philippe Poulin and Sarah Nurse each had incredible games, with 4 assists each. Poulin especially was on fire, including a delightful royal road primary assist to Erin Ambrose for the 6th goal of the game, partway through the second period.
For the Swedes, they suffered a disheartening loss and really didn’t have the skills to establish anything in this game. It was really all Canada. In past big winning games, against the Swiss and the Finns, the Canadians were dominant also, but those teams at least had moments where they looked dangerous. In this …

Read More

Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation