Alek Manoah is the best Blue Jays pitching prospect since Roy Halladay

I got on the Alek Manoah hype train at the first stop, when he was the second pitcher taken at 11th overall in the 2019 Amateur Draft.

It wasn’t any of his immense on-field attributes that pulled me in, however, but his larger-than-life personality and big heart. When Alex Anthopoulos signed Jose Bautista to a team-friendly, five-year, sixty-five-million dollar contract in 2011, he said he wasn’t making a bet on the player, but on the person. For some reason that’s always stuck with me.
It was a tweet to the newly acquired Anthony Kay in July of 2019 that made me a fan of Alek the person, as much or more than I was of Alek the player. He welcomed Kay to the family, of which he himself had only belonged for a few weeks.

Welcome to the fam brother! The future is now
— MANOAH (@Alek_Manoah47) July 31, 2019

A close eye on Manoah’s social media timeline showed in the weeks and months that followed that this wasn’t out of the ordinary — this wasn’t just a kid trying to make a good impression with so many new eyes on him. He has a history …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

REPORT: Leafs asked Wild for permission to speak with Bruce Boudreau

The “Get Bruce Boudreau to Toronto” train seemed to generate more steam last night after a report came out on Wednesday night.
According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, the Leafs asked the Wild for permission to talk to Bruce Boudreau at some point during the last few months. While a meeting did not take place, he was aware of it and those in his inner circle say he is “intrigued” by the possibility of coaching for his hometown team.
Following the departures of Paul McFarland and Andrew Brewer last week, the Leafs are in the market for a guy with experience as an NHL coach to be added to the coaching staff. Sheldon Keefe has been highly involved in the interview process thus far as he looks to bring on a mentor to join him behind the bench.
Should Boudreau fail to land a coaching gig elsewhere, he reportedly would like to join the Leafs for a few personal reasons. One of them to be close to his mother who lives in the city and the other to help Toronto win the Stanley Cup.
While there has been no formal meeting between the parties and …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Newly-signed Leaf Mikko Lehtonen named KHL Top Defenceman

All aboard the Mikko Lehtonen hype train, folks. The Leafs’ newest KHL addition has been named the league’s top defenceman for the 2019-20 season.

#KHL has named Mikko Lehtonen as the league’s top defenseman in 2019-20. Big congrats, Bobi! #Jokerit
— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) May 18, 2020

Lehtonen scored 49 points in 60 games this season, which led Jokerit Helsinki in team scoring and was good forth sixth overall in league scoring and tops among defencemen. He finished eight points clear of the next highest scoring defenceman, Slava Voynov, so Lehtonen winning this award isn’t really much of a surprise.
Signed to a one-year, entry-level deal a few weeks ago, Lehtonen could be a nice bargain addition to the Leafs next season. If he’s anywhere near as effective as Ilya Mikheyev, Toronto’s KHL addition from last off-season, that would be a nice boost to the team’s blueline.

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Dubas on Nicholas Robertson: “We’ll give him every opportunity to make the team”

All aboard the Nicholas Robertson hype train, everyone.

After making a mockery of the Ontario Hockey League last season, the Maple Leafs’ second-round pick from 2019 could be ready to make the jump earlier than expected. Kyle Dubas himself even said so. According to Chris Johnston, Dubas said that the Leafs will give Robertson a legitimate opportunity to crack the roster off the hop next season.

Kyle Dubas on prospect Nick Robertson: Come training camp, we’ll give him every opportunity to make the team.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 31, 2020

Robertson being ready to take the next step gives Dubas some added flexibility when putting together his roster over the off-season. We’ve heard plenty of talk about Kasper Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot being moved in order to free up salary cap room or to address holes elsewhere on the roster, so having Robertson ready makes it easier to move on from one or more of those players.
Robertson posted 55 goals and 86 points in 46 games for the Peterborough Petes this season. His goal total was the 29th highest ever in the OHL for a player under the age of 19 years old. Had the season not been cut short …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs Pregame #45: 5 Things to watch for against the Jets

After a rather long train ride out east, the Jets are enjoying the luxury of flight on their road trip around the Atlantic division. Tonight they get the privilege of playing Toronto against the Leafs, who having to deal with their devastating one game losing streak which has shaken all our beliefs about this team.

Rating: 73.9#46 LW

Rating: 82.2#2 C

Rating: 78.5#6 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 78.19#5 FL1

Rating: 72.8#70 LW

Rating: 80.0#8 C

Rating: 78.0#9 RW

FL2 Rating
Rating: 76.92#3 FL2

Rating: 73.2#60 LW

Rating: 70.2#151 C

Rating: 73.0#59 RW

FL3 Rating
Rating: 72.11#12 FL3

Rating: 73.2#59 LW

Rating: 68.9#127 RW

FL4 Rating
Rating: 71.06#14 FL4

Rating: 76.0#10 LD

Rating: 76.4#12 RD

DL1 Rating
Rating: 76.17#5 DL1

Rating: 71.8#82 LD

Rating: 73.2#45 RD

DL2 Rating
Rating: 72.51#26 DL2

Rating: 72.8#57 LD

Rating: 71.5#81 RD

DL3 Rating
Rating: 72.16#15 DL3

Rating: 78.8#9 LW

Rating: 79.3#12 C

Rating: 75.1#28 RW

FL1 Rating
Rating: 77.74#6 …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: How do your favorite players train during the offseason?

How do your favorite Toronto Raptors train during the offseason? I talked with Joe Abunassar, the man responsible for training Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Terence Davis to find out. The NBA is seasonal. However, your favorite player’s work ethics are not. They’re constantly focussed on improving their game. For a few Toronto Raptors, that […]
Toronto Raptors: How do your favorite players train during the offseason? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ