The official launch of The Leafs Nation Radio Podcast

Today, we are incredibly happy to announce the launch of The Leafs Nation Radio Podcast!
Whether it be storylines, players, trending topics, rumours, sharing our pain and agony, the list goes on, The Leafs Nation Radio Podcast has you covered. Host Caroline Szwed joins the TLN team of Nick Barden, Nick Richard, Mike Mazzei, Roxanne Khasow and Mer to kick off our first ever season. Brace yourselves because there’s so much more to come!
Podcasts will be coming out on Mondays every week!
Both the pilot episode and first official episode have been released today. Currently, it’s only on Spotify, but in good time we’ll have it on Apple Podcasts as well as YouTube (so you can see our faces)!
We hope you enjoy it, and we’re excited to start the newest podcast at The Nation Network!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

There are still more Leafs players to rank

Earlier today we finished up with our prospect rankings, and probably to surprise of no one, Rasmus Sandin was crowned the best of the bunch. If you haven’t read it yet, sorry for spoiling it for you, but I’m assuming you connected the dots when he was the last one left unranked, or put two and two together based on his NHL readiness, upside, and performance so far in his career. Before going any further I want to thank the TLN group for the excellent work they did on the series, and it’s because of that good work that I’m rewarding them with even more work.
Every preseason we take a look at the Leafs roster and profile the players and do our best to guess what they will deliver in the coming year. Sometimes we present them to you alphabetically, other times we’ve gone completely random, this year we’re sticking with the spirit of Ranking SZN, and ranking the top 20 Leafs start next Monday. To make it even more fun, I’ve decided that each article the writer has to assign a goal song to the player they are writing about. Well, at …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What sponsor should the Leafs have on their jerseys?

With the reports today of the NHL placing sponsors on their jerseys, starting in the 2022-23 season, we at The Leafs Nation thought — “Who do we want to see sponsor the Leafs jerseys in the future?”
So, we decided to put all of our ideas together and create one great big roundtable. Some are food, some are stores, and a few are brands. But without further ado, let’s discuss which companies should be the sponsor on the Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys.
Nick Barden
I think one of the best things about having a jersey sponsor is being able to reach out to other niches. Hockey is a sport that’s built on a lot of the same things, and people don’t really go outside of the ‘bubble’. It’s more or less — boring.
Say you struck a deal with OVO (October’s Very Own), which is a company owned by Drake. On one side, it would bring more people to the team asking “what is this team that has an OVO logo on it?” Others, like myself, might be saying “Woah, an OVO logo on the jersey? Let me buy that!”
I believe with brands like that, and …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs add defensive depth with Alex Biega and Carl Dahlström

If you were expecting big signings from the Leafs, today isn’t your day. It’s not like replacing Zach Hyman or upgrading at the third line center position is something they should be doing, right?
Anyways, enough of my pissing and moaning, and onto the signings…

Leafs have signed Alex Biega and Carl Dahlstrom on defence.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 28, 2021

Both players check out well in the Rel Defense category pic.twitter.com/NsMGyK8AmE
— RkB Stats (@reversekneebar) July 28, 2021

So yeah, that’s a whole lot of depth defense and likely Marlies support. If we’re looking at who they are reasonably replacing it’s Martin Marincin and Ben Hutton, and given that the Leafs have pretty much a fully stocked blueline at the NHL level, Biega and Dahlström will likely be Marlies bound for most of the year.
As of right now we don’t have the contract details, but if there are seven digits on either players AAV, I’m gonna throw up.
Dahlström 
Last season Dahlström played 17 games in the AHL and the season before he was a part time NHLer with the Jets. He’s 26 and 6’4, but the 6’4 that doesn’t hit, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: Some stray thoughts heading into the expansion draft roster freeze

Today we’ll be granted a short break for trades and buyouts as the league heads into it’s roster freeze until after the expansion draft. While there were plenty of rumours of Alexander Kerfoot or Travis Dermott being on the move, nothing has materialized yet, and with just five hours to go, it seems like the Leafs roster is locked until Wednesday night when the Kraken player selection will be made official.
While it’s possible the names of players protected by each team will start leaking out tonight, nothing official is expected from the clubs until tomorrow.
Here are a few of my stray thoughts heading into what will be a busy couple of weeks for the Leafs.
The best trade partner might be the Seattle Kraken
Once the lists are made official and it is known who teams are leaving exposed in the draft, it might not be the worst thing for the Leafs to connect with the Kraken and ask them to do a bit of shopping on Toronto’s behalf. Especially on positions such as goaltender this could be a huge advantage for both Seattle and the Leafs if they can find a situation that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays drop a frustrating one in extra innings

Out of everything that I wanted to do today, writing an article where the Jays fell 9-7 to the Mariners in extra ranks last. That was a long game and made me mildly unhappy. The ThunderBisons did not as there were Bison’s players who could be called up soon that performed well.

Things worth mentioning…
The broadcast team:
The broadcast team was not good. There is no cohesion nor structure to their calling of the game. Thankfully I also had the Bisons’ game on with audio. I’ll write about that more near the end of this article. I did enjoy the use of advanced stats as well as defensive positions for the fielders on the Jays broadcast though.
Errors and poor defence:
Oh man, that game was terrible defensively. Biggio and Gurriel combined for an error which eventually led to a big inning for the Mariners. Next was an errant throw by Adams that didn’t cost them. Another was committed by Bichette which the Jays also worked around.
A team can play poor defence without committing errors, which was the case tonight. Teoscar didn’t play the bounce properly on the Mariners’ first run. However, what hurt …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Alek Manoah got suspended for five games and Nate Pearson is going on the IL with a groin injury

Today was supposed to be a good day because of the return of George Springer, but, since the Blue Jays can’t have nice things, there’s also some bad news to report.

Alek Manoah has received a five-game suspension for hitting Mikael Franco of the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
Manoah hit Franco in the fourth inning and was subsequently kicked out of the game, which seemed like a bit much at the time. A suspension on top of that is insane.
There was no beef going on in the game, the Blue Jays and Orioles were playing each other for the first time this season over the weekend, and Manoah is a rookie with a noticeable history of loose command, made evident by the fact he hit multiple batters during his time in Triple-A this year.
It was very clearly not intentional and it really feels as though the league is trying to spook him out of being intense and aggressive on the mound, which really sucks.
Anyways, Manoah will miss a start, so the Blue Jays will have to find somebody else to go in his place.
Nate Pearson, perhaps? Nope! Pearson has been placed on the seven-day …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Bullpen help! The Blue Jays acquire Jacob Barnes from the New York Mets

Today, the Jays announced that they traded 24-year-old minor leaguer Troy Miller to the Mets in exchange for the 31-year-old reliever Jacob Barnes.

Let me just tell you that the ERA stat is not the most sophisticated descriptor of how good a pitcher is. Jays fans immediately flocked to whatever medium they use to view stats and saw a glaring 6.27 ERA. His FIP this season doesn’t fare much better, coming in at 6.22. However, his xFIP is at an acceptable 4.29.
So why the inflated ERA? Well because he gives up a boatload of HR/9. This season, his HR/9 is at a very scary 2.89 while his HR/FB% is at 25%. It’s safe to say his 18.2 IP this season for the Mets has been pretty poor. If you’ve paid close attention, I have been saying “this season” describing a 31-year-old. There’s more to the story than just a 6.27 ERA and HR/9 of 2.89.
Last season for the Angels, he pitched 18 innings. This season, he had a 5.50 ERA, which again, doesn’t look great on paper. However, looking at better metrics than ERA, we can see his FIP was an astounding 2.25 while his xFIP was a 3.24. He struggled in 2019, but his …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Marlies to play 72 games in 2021-22 season

The AHL announced today that the Toronto Marlies will play 72 games in their upcoming season which will begin on October 15th.

The AHL Board of Governors has approved a schedule unification plan that will see every team play 72 games beginning in 2022-23.
Alignment and schedule lengths for 2021-22 have also been set.
Details: https://t.co/RY25ya38VC pic.twitter.com/FFoKPfux0W
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) June 7, 2021

Toronto will be a part of the North Division with the Belleville Senators, Cleveland Monsters, Laval Rocket, Rochester Americans, Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets. All of Toronto, Belleville, Laval and Utica will each player 72 games this season, while the remaining teams in the division play 76.
The league Board of Governors also approved a “schedule unification plan” that will see all AHL teams play 72 games beginning in the 2022-23 season.
“I am very pleased that we were able to achieve a schedule of 72 games for all teams in the American Hockey League,” said American Hockey League President and CEO, Scott Howson. “In coming together to create a plan that is fair and equitable, our owners have demonstrated a commitment to the long-term strength of the league.”
The AHL also said there will be …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation