Malgin qualified, Vehviläinen heading overseas, and other RFA notes

In a two week window filled with interesting events, restricted free agent qualifying day might not be the sexiest. It is underrated fun though, especially when most of the RFAs of significance have already been sorted out. Travis Dermott was signed pre-expansion draft so the Leafs had the opportunity to protect four defensemen and leave Dermott exposed. Now the Leafs have either a pretty good defenseman in Dermott, or a pretty decent trade chip.
Of their RFAs, Joseph Woll was likely the prospect of the most significance, and while people are starting to raise concerns about his AHL success, the slower development curve for most goaltenders makes adding Woll back a no brainer as well.
That brings us to today, and the remaining players, Denis Malgin, Nic Petan, Joseph Duszak, and Veini Vehviläinen. Taking a quick look at this list you can make a case for it being nice having any of these players back because they aren’t bad, but they aren’t players you are going to lose sleep over if Toronto moves on from them.
The first bit of news came today with Vehviläinen’s decision to return to Europe and play in the Swedish …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Top to Bottom: Thoughts on all of the Blue Jays pitchers at the All-Star break

I talked earlier this week about the 18 position players who have played for the Blue Jays this season, and, next up, we have the 31 (!!!) guys who have pitched for the team thus far.

The fact that the Blue Jays have used so many different pitchers perfectly sums up what the experience has been for the team in the first half of the season. The pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and the Blue Jays have had to dig deep to find guys to log innings and many of them have been ineffective, hence why Toronto ranks below average in the American League in terms of both starter and bullpen ERA.
Let’s talk about all 31 of these pitchers, how they’ve done, and what we can expect from them in the second half.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Robbie Ray (1.5 WAR)
I think a lot of people expected Robbie Ray to bounce back from the nightmarish season he had with Arizona in 2020 given his solid results after being traded to the Blue Jays, but I doubt that many predicted he would be the team’s ace coming out of the All-Star break. But here we are.
Ray has been excellent …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Thanks Ken Holland, the Leafs can now afford to re-sign Zach Hyman

Last week, the Edmonton Oilers locked up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a contract extension worth $5.125 million per year over a max-term of eight years with a full no-movement clause. Most members of the Edmonton media and the team’s loyal fanbase see the deal as a win-win. A former 1st-overall draft pick and core member of their team commits the twilight years of his prime to the team that drafted him at a noteworthy discount that will give GM Ken Holland some flexibility to navigate the flat salary cap and attempt to make the Oilers an overall better team.
So the one question that remains is, as always, how does this affect the Leafs?
Well, it’s quite simple, thanks to this contract signing, Ken Holland and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have set the market and in doing so, effectively killed the (mainstream media perpetuated) narrative that Zach Hyman is going to get contract offers in the range of $6 million a year for six years.
Let’s be real here, as much as we all love Zach Hyman and want to see him be rewarded for several years of stellar play (for a player of his skill level), he’s no Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 4 best free agents to target at small forward

Toronto Raptors: 4 best free agents to target at small forward

It has been over a week since the NBA Draft Lottery. And now that the Toronto Raptors will have the fourth pick, they will most likely pick either Jalen Green or Jalen Suggs. They could also pick Evan Mobley if he somehow drops at four or if the Raptors trade up. Since they will most […]
Toronto Raptors: 4 best free agents to target at small forward – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Pirasanth Gunasekaram / Raptors HQ

AL East Report – June 21

Well, that week sucked. The Jays played three against the Yankees and three against the Orioles and only came out with two wins thanks to a sweep at the hands of the former. 

On the bright side, the Blue Jays actually gained games on the Rays going from 8.5 games behind to 6.5 games behind, however they dropped 1.5 games to Boston. The biggest loss, of course, came to the Yankees due to the sweep. 
As they played two divisional rivals, I will touch upon how the Jays did against them in the Yankees and Orioles section respectively. Yes, that means Baltimore will be longer than a text you receive from your angry girlfriend…
Boston Red Sox:
Wait, isn’t Tampa First? Nope. We’ll get to that, but how did the Sox do this week? Well in all honesty, mediocre. First, they played the sub .500 Atlanta Braves in that weird AL/NL series where they have two games sandwiched between two off-days. They won both of them and then went to play the lowly Kansas City Royals. In Kansas, they lost two of three finishing the season.
This week, the Red Sox have two pivotal series against the Red Sox starting Tuesday …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Should the Leafs consider signing Tuukka Rask this summer?

It has been over a week since the Leafs’ season came to an abrupt end and yet people are still searching for answers on what went wrong and what needs to be done to fix it. The area that is perhaps the least of the team’s concerns is the goaltending because Jack Campbell proved he has what it takes to be a number one option and should continue to do so for 2021-22 and beyond.
While that is pretty straightforward, the question of who will be his backup is the exact opposite. Frederik Andersen seems destined to leave Toronto and sign elsewhere come July 28th. David Rittich was less than stellar in his brief stint with the team that cost them a third-round pick. Michael Hutchinson did improve from the season prior but who knows if it’s a sign of things to come or he’s bound to regress again. Then you have a bunch of goalies on the Marlies who are still a work in progress such as Joseph Woll and Ian Scott.
Because of the lack of clarity on who will be Campbell’s partner for the next campaign, it would be in the Leafs’ best …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, June 9th: The postseason/offseason drama continues

It’s Wednesday, and last week we brought you a special edition, so we’ve got two whole weeks of drama to catch up on! As we all know, hockey is very serious and has no drama (no soap operas!) so we’ve got nothing to talk about.
Heh. Yeah right.
Leafs Land
As usual we start with what’s happening for the Boys in Blue, even though the answer is Not Hockey. But there IS drama.
I try to stick my head in the sand and ignore any Zach Hyman leaving the Leafs talk, but it’s getting harder to avoid. First, though, let’s wish him a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday to @MapleLeafs own @ZachHyman! Have a great one! Hopefully there is a new contract extension waiting for you as a gift! #LeafsForever #zachhyman #leafsnation #Leafs pic.twitter.com/LyG0tLevwB
— Centre of Leafs Nation (@CntrLeafsNation) June 9, 2021

Meanwhile, yes, there is lots of chatter about whether and for what type of contract the Leafs re-sign Hyman. I’ll just go cry now.

Will Zach Hyman be a Maple Leaf next season? What deal would make sense to keep him in Toronto?@FriedgeHNIC joined #WritersBloc with @SNJeffBlair & @richarddeitsch …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

John Tavares is back on the ice (Foligno too).

Exactly a week ago we were witness to a very disturbing looking injury to John Tavares. After being kneed by Ben Chiarot, Corey Perry’s knee caught John Tavares head on the way to the ice. This was followed by a jaw dropping scene as Tavares’ head fell back after an attempt to get up and then he was stretchered off the ice. A chilling moment, and one that certainly impacted the team, and led them to a very firm stance that Tavares would be out indefinitely and they were going to make sure his wishes and the wishes of his family were respected. All of this seemed like we’d be lucky to see him again in the fall.
Since that time, Tavares has been facetiming with his teammates, and visiting the Leafs practice facility while the rest of the team dominated Montreal for him. All signs on Tavares have been encouraging, and both the player and the team seem to be committed to making sure he’s 100% before returning.
That’s why today is certainly provided us a shock…

John Tavares is back on the ice at Scotiabank Arena. pic.twitter.com/yB2Lauyn82
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 27, 2021



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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Reinforcement Options for the Struggling Bullpen

It’s no secret that, over the last week or ten days, the once strong Blue Jays bullpen has taken a turn for the worst.

It’s not entirely unexpected of course, given the injuries they’ve suffered and the total offensive numbers put up by all teams playing at TD Ball Park in Dunedin. With very few pitchers in The Jays bullpen overflowing with equity, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a number of developing arms in the high minors get their chance to shine as the team packs up and moves back to Buffalo. So, let’s have a look at some of the names you may not be familiar with who are likely to get consideration as the season progresses.
Tayler Saucedo – LHP
Saucedo was a 21st round pick of The Blue Jays in 2015. He’s a tall, slender lefty who’s pitched both out of the bullpen and as a starter over the course of his 142 appearances minor league career. It’s been an up and down road for him along the way, but after last year’s lost season, he appears to have discovered the strike-out in a meaningful way. Never having averaged more …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

AL East Report – May 25

This sucks. This week sucks even more. 
Last Tuesday was my first AL East report where I said this team had a huge chance to take over first place and for the first time this season they had a bad week. All but one of the games this week was unwinnable, but with a bunch of blown leads, a mismanaged game and hard-to-watch extras, it was definitely a tough week.

I wrote my first Jays Nation blog last week regarding the situation in the AL East and made some pretty bold claims in hindsight, such as how they had a 22-17 record, how they had one of the best bullpens in the league and how Vlad demolishes the ball like how I demolish unhealthy food.
While all of these were true at the time, they now own a 23-23 record, are 5.5 games back of the new division leading Rays and the bullpen has struggled mightily since last Tuesday. Vlad,  is still among the league leaders in home runs as well as owning the highest fWAR in the league. So that’s nice.
We have to ask ourselves, what went wrong, what is next, and most importantly, will they be able …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation