In the 6th and 7th rounds the Leafs proudly select a lot of players

If the Leafs draft strategy wasn’t clear in the early rounds, Kyle Dubas made sure everyone understood what he was up to in the final rounds of the draft. He was out to draft high skill players that have a league to play in this year. Not a bad strategy, but for a team that is based in Ontario and used to relying heavily on the Ontario Hockey League for its prospects, it was certainly a change. The fact that in the middle of the draft word came down that it is going to be difficult to have hockey in Ontario this season should serve as some validation for Dubas’ strategy.
Loading up on players this year is also smart. Next year who knows how much many of the prospects will have played. Those who are playing might have been further down the depth chart than they’d usually be in, and getting around to see players play will be a challenge for scouts. Using 12 picks and using them on active players makes sense.
As for who those players are from the 6th and 7th rounds, here they are:
Veeti Miettinen
Miettinen is a 5’9 right winger from Finland, and …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Anthony Alford has been designated for assignment

Here’s something that wasn’t expected.

After beating the Phillies in the first half of Thursday’s doubleheader, the Blue Jays have designated Anthony Alford for assignment ahead of the second game. The move, of course, opens up room on Toronto’s active roster for Trent Thornton, who’s starting the nightcap, to be activated from the 10-day Injured List.
Once one of Toronto’s top prospects, Alford simply wasn’t ever able to figure things out at the plate. This season, in limited action, he’s managed three hits (one homer) over 16 plate appearances, striking out seven times and not taking a single walk.
It seems the organization figured that, at 26 years old, Alford just wasn’t going to pull it together. But, the somewhat strange thing here is that he never really got an extended look at the Major League level, even in 2019 when the team was fully in rebuild mode.
Since making his debut in 2017, Alford has only had 75 plate appearances in the big-leagues. Of course, he didn’t exactly command more opportunities, as he slashed a .155/.200/.245 line over that time.
Given the fact teams have …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Top Leafs Players Outside the NHL: Honourable Mentions

Yesterday we kicked off the series by mentioning who wasn’t in the mix for being the top Leafs outside the NHL, so with Sandin, Engvall, Rosen, and Barabanov not factoring into the conversation, these three players still failed to make the top 20.
Two of these players certainly classify as longer term projects, while one has had a pretty limited look with the organization, but shows a little promise.
Filip Kral
The recently signed Kral has been hiding away in the far reaches of the Western Hockey League for the past couple of years, but he has quietly been doing a decent jump as an offensive defenseman, who has begun to round out his game.
Kral, 20, is a left handed defensemen from the Czech Repubic, has played the past three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. Drafted in the 5th round in 2018, the 6’1 defender has been relatively consistent in his performance, and not taking any significant leaps. He possesses the foot speed, and the intelligence to be a contributor at the AHL level, but it’s questionable if he has any standout abilities that put him on track for the NHL.
The Leafs have historically done well with …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

OG Anunoby’s career night wasted as Nuggets defeat Raptors 133-118 in Mile High City

OG Anunoby dropped a career-high 32 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto Raptors fell 133-118 to the Denver Nuggets. The loss was Toronto’s third in a row. Sunday’s game, at altitude against the second-place Denver Nuggets, was always going to be a tough one to win for the Toronto Raptors. And that would’ve […]
OG Anunoby’s career night wasted as Nuggets defeat Raptors 133-118 in Mile High City – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Apparently the Blue Jays are bringing Marc Rzepczynski to camp

Now here’s some news I really wasn’t expecting to see this morning. According to Ben Wagner, the Blue Jays are adding Marc Rzepczynski to camp, presumably on a minor-league deal.

Appears the #BlueJays are adding Marc Rzepczynski to camp. More to come when we hear from the skipper and GM later this morning.
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) February 24, 2020

Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, Rzepczynski spent a couple of years with the team as a starter before getting converted to the ‘pen in 2011. After that, Rzepczynski would spend a good chunk of the 2010s as an effective LOOGY, making stops in St. Louis, Cleveland, San Diego, Oakland, Washington, and, most recently, Arizona.
Rzepczynski was a part of the big three-team deal that brought Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Blue Jays. He would go on to win the World Series with the Cards that year, pitching well out of their ‘pen as a lefty guy.
Given MLB’s change to pitcher substitution rules in which a pitcher now must face a minimum of three batters, the LOOGY has sort of lost its value. …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Tanner Roark Brings Durability to Blue Jays Rotation

It wasn’t the flashiest signing but the Blue Jays inking of Tanner Roark for 2 years $24M, brings durability and consistency to a rotation that is sorely lacking that. Roark was worth 2.0 WAR last season, split between the Reds and Athletics. Steamer, the projection system hosted at Fangraphs, projects him to worth a similar 1.6 WAR this upcoming season.
Roark was signed primarily because of his durability. He has thrown at least 150 innings in each of the last four seasons. He should in theory replace the 124.0 innings thrown by Clay Buchholz, Clayton Richard and Edwin Jackson last season (a trio that combined to be worth -0.6 WAR).
Roark is your standard back of the rotation arm. He doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts but gets enough (21.9% K rate), to be effective. Same with walks, he doesn’t have pinpoint control (7.1% BB rate), but it’s good enough to be effective. The biggest thing for Roark is the long ball. His home run per fly ball rate has been double digits in each of the last three seasons. His best two seasons in 2014 and 2016 he was able to keep that under 10% and his ERA was under three. …

Read More

Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Grades from Toronto Raptors ugly win against the Orlando Magic

It wasn’t pretty, but the Toronto Raptors earned a road victory against the Orlando Magic on Friday night. How did the team perform individually? In what felt like their 45th meeting of the season, the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic apparently decided to keep their offenses at home. Both teams looked defensive-minded, played a little […]
Grades from Toronto Raptors ugly win against the Orlando Magic – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Mike Bossetti / Raptors HQ

5 Thoughts from Tonight’s 6-5 shootout loss to Montreal

Well this was a mess, wasn’t it? The Leafs looked to have a solid 4-1 lead in the third, proceeded to blow it and almost lose the game in regulation, but a late goal from Auston Matthews got them a pity point in an eventual shootout loss.
And honestly, it was deserved. The Habs had a 58% 5v5 CF% and slightly outscored them in 5v5 expect goals at 1.63-1.47. With that in mind, let’s look at five notable things from this evening.
Matthews continues his hot streak
What probably wasn’t surprising for anyone is that Matthews scored a couple more times again today. His two goals gives him five goals in three games to start the season, which is another hot start for him.
This should be expected to be the norm at this point. Last season, he had 10 goals and 16 points in his first seven games, seven goals and 12 points in his first eight games in 2017-18, and six goals and 10 points in his first six games in his rookie season. So, not only does he consistently start strong, he seems to be improving, and maybe we should expect a bit more from him in these next …

Read More

Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

SHOCKER: The Most Disappointing Former Leafs Staged the Saltiest Exits

*YouTuber voice*: “Storytime!”
I wasn’t the best student in middle school. Sure, there were a few outside factors that didn’t exactly nurture my learning curve, but for the most part, the blame for my academic mediocrity fell almost entirely upon my own two shoulders. It was my fault. Plain and simple. But 13-year-old Mike certainly didn’t believe that, though. No, sir!
You see, rather than engaging in some duly needed introspection, that pre-teen dummy took the coward’s way out and deflected the shame of his self-inflicted failure onto everyone around him instead; the school, the teachers, even the air inside that stale building.
I was a bitter little boy. And though I ultimately made it through grades seven and eight and marched on to high school, if you had asked that same, bitter little boy to reflect back on his time at Deer Park Public School, he probably would’ve spouted off on how his teachers all licked a bunch of ass.
Which brings me to Igor Ozhiganov.

Igor Ozhiganov 2 @Dima_Erykalov: It’s so different overseas.When you get to a lockerroom it seems all the players are ass-lickers that just wait for a coach to …

Read More

Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Report: Nick Nurse nearing deal to coach Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team

As if Saturday night wasn’t impressive enough, multiple reports Sunday tabbed Nick Nurse as the future Team Canada coach Still basking in the glow of leading the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse might be adding another entry to his resume: Team Canada head coach.
As TSN Insider Peter Yannopoulos first reported on Sunday morning, Nurse is set to become the head coach for Canadian Men’s National Team for this summer’s 2019 FIBA World Cup:

The news keeps getting better for basketball in our country. Sources confirm to me that Nick Nurse will become the next head coach for Team this summer at the world championships in China. Brillant hire by Rowan Barrett and Canada basketball. #RDS— Peter Yannopoulos (@PeteYannopoulos) May 26, 2019

Lori Ewing of the Canadian Press and Michael Grange of Sportsnet further confirmed the reports, but no official statement has been made at this time.
The move would seem to make sense for Team Canada, which has traveled a long road in finding a replacement for Jay Triano, who stepped down in March. Triano was popular among players, so finding a replacement was always going to be a tall order; …

Read More

Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ