Staturday Weekly Column #6: Projecting the North Standings in 2021, Pt. 2

Last week for this Staturday column, I took a look at two analytical models designed to simulate the results of an NHL game. Those models were then run through for the 2021 regular season to see what it spits out. These models came from our former contributor Dom Luszczyszyn at The Athletic, and from the website
Meanwhile, two more models have been released and are ripe for the picking. These two come from Micah Blake McCurdy at, a site we covered in Column #2 about the more interesting analytics resources available in the public sphere, and the other comes from Sean Tierney, another fantastic viz generator and former contributor at EditorInLeaf, who now runs the site, and is the Director of Analytics for the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Both sites are behind partial paywalls, so that you have to subscribe on Patreon to access the really fun stuff, but in this case the previews are not paywalled.
Starting with McCurdy’s model, here is what he has to say about how it works:
I simulated the 2020-2021 NHL regular season a million times to estimate what is likely to happen. (I used a computer to help …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Alex Kerfoot suffers injury in practice, listed as day-to-day

The Leafs took to the ice for their second practice session of training camp on Tuesday with the same groups and lines as they had on day one, but there will likely be some alterations for Wednesday’s practice. Alex Kerfoot, who has been centering a third line featuring Ilya Mikheyev and Zach Hyman through the first two days of camp, suffered an unspecified injury on Tuesday and will be day-to-day according to head coach Sheldon Keefe.

Sheldon Keefe said Alex Kerfoot went down in practice, got a little banged up. Will be day-to-day from here, but doubtful he skates tomorrow.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 5, 2021

Keefe went on to say that someone from the second group would be called upon to fill Kerfoot’s spot in the coming days, which makes sense for a team that doesn’t want to be shuffling pieces around a whole lot while they work to establish chemistry in an abbreviated training camp.
The leading candidates to skate between Mikheyev and Hyman should Kerfoot have to miss any time would be Travis Boyd, a 27 year old center signed to one-year contract this past offseason, and Adam Brooks who played seven games for the Leafs …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays go from being no-hit through six to an explosive extra-innings win in Boston

It took a while for them to get there, but the bats finally showed up in the 10th inning last night. Better late than never.

Things worth mentioning…

Taijuan Walker got the start on Thursday night looking to build on the excellent Blue Jays debut he put together last weekend. Walker’s stuff was a little bit different this time out than it was with the adrenaline of his debut. He was sitting around 92 miles-per-hour on his fastball, which is a slight tick down from the 94 mph he was hitting against Baltimore. Still, Walker tossed five-and-two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four. If he can keep doing that for the rest of the season, it would be huge.
In the sixth inning, Walker allowed a couple of hits and then walked Christian Vasquez to load the bases. Charlie Montoyo pulled him in favour of Anthony Kay, a lefty, and Walker wasn’t happy with it at all. I know the general sentiment is you don’t want to see a pitcher “show up” a manager on the mound like that, but you have to love the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

More trade proposals from around Leaf Land

A couple of days ago we put out a call for trade proposals. We took a look at some of them in the post below…
Taking a look at the trades you want the Leafs to make

Given the number of trade proposals we received we’ve decided to do a follow up post a few of the other interesting proposals we received. So without further adieu…

To TorontoParayko
To St. LouisJohnssonLildjgren15th OA pick
— Tim Smitten (@TSmitten9) August 30, 2020

Scott:  This is one of those trades where I’m hesitant to say yes, but deep down know it’s a solid trade, which probably means that it’s good for both sides. That’s just my biased opinion, but I have no problem with this trade, although if anyone says no, it’ll be St. Louis.
Michael: Not 100% sure this will be enough of a return to convice the Blues to part ways with Parayko since they value him so highly. I like the idea behind it and more often than not this the kind of package teams need to give up to get a defeceman like …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: The Kyle Lowry Story (The Disruptor)

Kyle Lowry took some time before he became the “Kyle Lowry.” Before his time with the Toronto Raptors, he was labeled a trouble maker and was never a consistent starting Point Guard. His road to stardom was an unconventional one, but still a good one to read nonetheless. To say Kyle Lowry’s road to stardom […]
Toronto Raptors: The Kyle Lowry Story (The Disruptor) – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

A really, really early look at this winter’s free agent class (for pitchers)

Yesterday, I took a look at the notable names on the free-agent market among position players, so today I’ll finish up our very, very early look-ahead by talking about the pitchers set to hit the open market this winter.

Last year’s class featured two huge names at the top of the list. It was Gerrit Cole, who was coming off an incredible season in which he was the runner up for the American League Cy Young while striking out an obscene 13.8 batters per nine, and Stephen Strasburg, who put together his first fully healthy season in years to help the Nationals win their first-ever World Series.
There aren’t any aces like Cole or Strasburg headlining this year’s free-agent class, but there are still a handful of quality arms set to hit the open market.
In the event of a cancelled season, I think the market for pitchers will take more of a hit than the position players. Teams are already wary of handing out massive contracts to pitchers due to the inherent volatility of the position, so doing so after (possibly) not having seen these guys pitch for over a year will …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs winning pace, playoff chances, and why winning out West would be wonderful

Earlier this year Mike Babcock took heat for saying the Leafs should pick up six points in every five games, and that was his measure for success. He took a lot of heat for it, especially considering at the time, the Leafs were in consideration for possibly winning the division, Presidents trophy, and I’m sure if I put in a few minutes of research, I could find a few hockey men who had predicted the Leafs to win the cup. The six points in five games would put the Leafs on pace for a 98 point season, but just how are they doing in comparison to that target now?

Well, we can see where Mike Babcock didn’t do so hot, and bottoming out at zero points in five games really shows that by his own metric, he had to go. As for Keefe, well, his late November through early January heater is what has given him a significantly higher number, but since January 12 he hasn’t had a whole lot of success of staying above the six point benchmark either. Starting goaltender injuries, as well as injuries to three defensemen will do that to you, not …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Getting to know the 50 guys coming to Blue Jays spring training (Part 2 – Position Players)

I took a look at the pitchers who will be headed to Dunedin in the next little bit yesterday, so, today, I’ll finish off by talking about all of the position players.

OF Anthony Alford: Once a top prospect of the Blue Jays, Anthony Alford has struggled with injuries and consistency at the plate, resulting in him falling down the depth chart the past couple of seasons. Alford is out of options, so if he doesn’t crack the team out of spring training, he’ll have to be exposed to waivers.
IF Bo Bichette: Toronto’s No. 2 prospect behind Vlad Jr. came up and stole the spotlight last August, slashing a .311/.358/.571 line over 46 games. Bichette is this year’s starting shortstop, the bigger question is who backs him up.
IF Cavan Biggio: One of last year’s pleasant surprises was how well Cavan Biggio performed in his rookie season. Biggio never had the same hype as Bo or Vlad but you’d have never known that based on how he played in 2019. He’ll be the team’s starting second baseman this year but we’ …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Anderson, Marner strike out at NHL skills competition

Two Toronto Maple Leafs took part in the NHL skills competition Friday night as Frederik Anderson found himself in the save streak contest, and Mitch Marner in a new shooting star competition.

In the save streak competition, Anderson faced nine shooters with multiple attempts shooting on respective goalies to see who could stop the most in a row. The bar was set with St. Louis Blues G Jordan Binnington at 10, but Anderson was close with seven saves in a row.
Marner, meanwhile, took part in the new shooting stars competition that saw him firing seven pucks from the stands 30 feet above the ice at targets on the ice. Each target was given certain values, and Marner was able to total 22 points placing him in a three-way tie with Patrick Kane and Ryan O’Rielly.
With the trio each getting an extra shot, Marner fired his high over a 10-point arch, O’Rielly missed his and Kane ended up hitting a shot worth two points to give him the win.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Grades from Toronto Raptors big road win vs Brooklyn Nets

The Toronto Raptors took advantage of some poor Brooklyn Nets play to pick up a win on the road. How did everyone grade in the win? After a dismal offensive performance against the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors were all systems go as they traveled to the Barclays Center to take on the 16-17 Brooklyn […]
Grades from Toronto Raptors big road win vs Brooklyn Nets – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ