Burning Question: Will the Leafs make it beyond the first round this year?

Over the course of the past couple of weeks we’ve been running some Burning Questions posts on this site, trying to deal with some of the big questions surrounding the Leafs. The one big burning question that has always been left looming is the one that has a lot of fans willing to completely throwaway or ignore the regular season and focus entirely on the postseason, and that question is “Is this the year the Leafs finally make it out of the first round?”
We’ll start with the fact that it’s impossible to know for sure. Law of averages say that a team as good as the Leafs will eventually have something break their way instead of things going against them, and they’ll get there. I can appreciate that appeal to the math of it. The problem with math though is that it ignores the fact that it’s the Leafs we’re talking about. They’ve always been able to find new spectacular ways to have things fall apart on them. No other team blows a 4-1 lead in a game seven, no other team loses to an emergency backup goaltender that they employ, no …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs Nation Radio Podcast: Episode 3

On this week’s episode of The Leafs Nation Radio Podcast, Caroline is joined by Mer, Michael, and Nick R. to discuss the latest happenings in Leafs land and the rest of the hockey world.
The team dives into the wild story of the Danbury Trashers from Netflix’s “Untold” series and the impact of fighting in hockey, what life might look like for Zach Hyman in Edmonton and what his departure means for the Leafs, the addition of Nikita Gusev to Leafs camp on a PTO as well as the signing of prospect Pavel Gogolev, what fans can expect when attending a game at Scotiabank Arena this season, and more!
Check out The Leafs Nation Radio Podcast on Spotify and Apple, with new episodes dropping every Monday! Be sure to rate, review, and subscribe if you like what you hear!

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Recapping TLN’s 2021 Leafs prospect rankings

Over the last few weeks, we here at The Leafs Nation have been counting down the top-20 prospects in the Leafs’ organization as voted on by our team of writers, as well as a couple of outside contributors familiar with Toronto’s system. Our countdown reached it’s conclusion on Friday with Rasmus Sandin taking over the #1 spot after Nicholas Robertson had held that honour a year ago.
A handful of players made their debuts in our prospect rankings this year, including 2021 second-round pick Matthew Knies coming in at #7 and undrafted free agent signing Pavel Gogolev landing the #15 spot. The Leafs’ didn’t graduate anyone from the 2020 list but last year’s #5 prospect Filip Hallander was dealt back to Pittsburgh earlier in the offseason, vacating a spot in the top-five.
Our biggest risers from a year ago include a pair of players who were honourable mentions for the 2020 list in St. Cloud State winger Veeti Miettinen and Sibir Novosibirsk forward Dmitri Ovchinnikov. Miettinen racked up plenty of accolades during a tremendous freshman season in the NCAA and Ovchinnikov torched Russia’s junior league, earning a look in the KHL as an 18-year-old. After impressive draft+1 seasons, Topi Niemelä and Roni …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Report From The Rock: ladies and gentlemen, we’re back

After weeks and months of speculation, worry and anxiety, the Newfoundland Growlers and the city of St. John’s announced this morning a short-term lease agreement for the use of Mile One Centre in downtown St. John’s. Hockey is officially back on The Rock.

eh b’y
It’s the “lease” we could do.
Want tickets?
Join the waitlist at https://t.co/9akvp20BlN pic.twitter.com/7veNxTIlyS
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) August 25, 2021

Per a press release from the Growlers, the new lease agreement will run for three seasons and goes on to say that in the coming weeks “we will provide a media availability to demonstrate our long-term commitment and further investment in professional sports teams and facilities in the region.”
This is just speculation on my part but the statement seems to suggest that the Growlers ownership group is moving on from their bid to acquire Mile One from the grips of City Council and will instead turn their focus to building their own arena elsewhere in the metro region. When that media availability takes place, as well as player signing announcements (which the team says will be coming soon), we’ll have all the details here, so stay …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: What Scottie Barnes means for the offseason and beyond

Raptors: What Scottie Barnes means for the offseason and beyond

We were hearing the Scottie Barnes rumors for weeks now with a somewhat healthy degree of skepticism, but the Toronto Raptors actually pulled the trigger on the Florida State product over Jalen Suggs with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The mock boards all agreed that Suggs was the pick at 4, […]
Raptors: What Scottie Barnes means for the offseason and beyond – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

The Leafs have hired Dean Chynoweth as an assistant coach

After weeks of speculation, the Leafs have finally announced who will be replacing Dave Hakstol on the bench for 2021-22. It turned out to be someone no one expected would be in the running for the job.

We’ve hired Dean Chynoweth as an assistant coach. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 12, 2021

Dean Chynoweth had spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, who have proven to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. During that three-year span, the Hurricanes had allowed a combined 2.64 GA/G (In that same stretch, the Leafs have allowed 2.95 GA/G). They also boasted one of the best penalty-killing units in the NHL, finishing eight, fourth, and third in each of the past three seasons.
Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe surely think that Chynoweth can carry over those results to Toronto and make the Leafs an even better defensive team than they did last season where they averaged 2.64 GA/G. It may not be an assistant coach that can bring some much-needed creativity to the struggling power-play (i.e. Bruce Boudreau), but it does signal that the Leafs want to double down on being better in their own …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 26: An underwhelming result against the Mariners, Ryu’s struggles, Teoscar an All-Star starter, and more!

That was disappointing!

A couple of weeks ago, the Blue Jays embarked on what we all pointed out could be a season-changing stretch against bad opponents.
They swept a two-game set with the Marlins and won five of seven against Baltimore, setting up an opportunity to really put together a good result for the stretch in the final series against Seattle. Toronto won the first game but then dropped the next two and ultimately went 8-4 in that 12-game easy-ish opponent stretch.
Not terrible, but not exactly season-changing, either.
Anyways! We talked about everything from the Seattle series, ranging from Hyun Jin Ryu’s rough start and recent struggles to Adam Cimber’s debut and what kind of difference he can make to the team’s bullpen. We also talked about Teoscar Hernandez’s amazing rise from going down to Triple-A to fix his swing to being voted in as an All-Star game starter.
Finally, we looked ahead to a very, very important set against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are limping a bit right now and the Blue Jays see them six times before the All-Star break. Doing well against them now would certainly help the Blue Jays …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are under .500 for the first time in April and they need to capitalize on the upcoming schedule

A couple of weeks ago, the Blue Jays finished off a two-game sweep of the Miami Marlins.

Their record sat at a respectable 29-25, they were on pace for 87 wins, and were only four-and-a-half games back of first place in the American League East.
Since then? Woof.
The Blue Jays faced a very, very difficult schedule and did not do well. They dropped two of three to the Astros and the White Sox, they earned a split in a four-game series with the Red Sox, and then, to cap it all off, they got swept by the Yankees.
Now they’re 33-34, below .500 for the first time since late April, and they’re eight-and-a-half games back of the Rays.
The incredibly frustrating thing here, of course, is the number of winnable games that have been pissed away. The Blue Jays went 2-5 against the divisional opponents they’re trying to leapfrog and they easily could have gone 5-2 with any kind of competent relief pitching.

Blue Jays have now lost an MLB-worst 10 games when leading in the 7th inning or later pic.twitter.com/Jq1LnYuNPF
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) June 18, 2021

As the graphic above shows, nobody in baseball is worse …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Sunday’s Rundown: Three free-agent centres the Toronto Maple Leafs should target

Sunday’s Rundown: Three free-agent centres the Toronto Maple Leafs should target

For this week’s Sunday’s Rundown, we’re on the topic of free-agent centres that could be hitting the open market and that the Toronto Maple Leafs should potentially target this summer heading into next season. Last week we took a look at three left-wingers the Maple Leafs should target and all three players mentioned were pretty solid players that could definitely be a solid addition to this lineup next season and beyond.
All three players come into Toronto and can easily play anywhere in the lineup and all bring a similar style of play that would benefit the Maple Leafs. This week, it’s three free-agent centres we are going to take a look at, and these three centres, just like the left-wingers would definitely come here and make an impact for this team next season.
It’s no secret that Toronto wants to make more changes to this team this off-season and keep the “core 4” together for at least one more run at the cup, so they could potentially be looking at the free-agent market to fill out the remainder of their roster spots. So here are three free-agent centres that are set to become free agents …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews has won the Rocket Richard trophy, but you already knew that

What has felt like a formality for the last few weeks has now become official with the regular season finally ending: Auston Matthews is your 2021 winner of the Rocket Richard trophy.

Auston Matthews wins the Rocket Richard! pic.twitter.com/tnoqrJh01B
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) May 15, 2021

Matthews finished the campaign with 41 goals, with eight goals separating him from the runner-up (Connor McDavid with 33), making it the largest gap since the 2014-15 season. He is also the first American-born player to win the award and the first American since Keith Tkachuk in 1996-97 to lead the NHL in goals.
This is his first major individual award since capturing the Calder Trophy following his rookie campaign in 2016-17. Last season saw Matthews come close to winning the award but missed the cut by a single goal (47), losing out to David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin (both with 48).
We can only hope this isn’t the only trophy added to Matthews’ collection by season’s end, but I’m sure this isn’t the last time we talk about him winning the Rocket Richard.

All stats unless otherwise noted are from Hockey-Reference.com and Natural Stat Trick.

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation