Around the NHL: A Missed Opportunity for the Kraken

Another expansion draft has come and went, and much like the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft, a lot of fans left it underwhelmed, especially with the really good players left unprotected by other teams.
That said, there’s a big difference between the underwhelming picks by Vegas, and the underwhelming picks by Seattle. With Vegas, a lot of fans failed to consider how some players would excel in new roles. William Karlsson was an anomaly, but even Reilly Smith, Nate Schmidt, and Colin Miller excelled in larger roles when they were analytics darlings in lesser roles on worse teams. That’s not to say Seattle didn’t do that either (more on that in a bit), but there’s a bit less upside to their picks.
Also, Vegas’ expansion draft didn’t get quite have the impact on the team that you might think still. Of their 30 selections in 2017, only six players remain on the team, and two of them (William Carrier and Tomas Nosek) are bottom six forwards. Vegas made a bigger impact in the expansion draft through side deals and expanding their draft capital, creating the contender they are today.
Granted, Seattle clearly has an identity they’re …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs is the betting favorite to go No. 4 overall

Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs is the betting favorite to go No. 4 overall

The Toronto Raptors went from a team with the seventh-best odds at earning the top selection in the 2021 NBA Draft to a squad in prime position to add a game-changer with the No. 4 overall pick. In all likelihood, Toronto will end up with one of either Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley, or Jalen Green. […]
Toronto Raptors: Jalen Suggs is the betting favorite to go No. 4 overall – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Grading Pascal Siakam’s 2020-21 season

Toronto Raptors: Grading Pascal Siakam’s 2020-21 season

Very little went right for Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors this season, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced them out of their country and took a huge chunk out of their squad depth, Much like the team as a whole, Siakam’s performance this season was all over the place, especially early in the year. Siakam […]
Toronto Raptors: Grading Pascal Siakam’s 2020-21 season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Toronto Raptors need to bury 2021 version of small-ball

The Toronto Raptors need to bury 2021 version of small-ball

The Golden State Warriors, who went on a five-year string of NBA Finals appearances between 2015-2019, winning the Larry O’Brien trophy three times, are the template for small-ball imitators like the Toronto Raptors. While small-ball suggests moving to a smaller lineup to facilitate better speed, shooting, ball handling, and defensive flexibility, it does not come […]
The Toronto Raptors need to bury 2021 version of small-ball – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Why did the Leafs trade for David Rittich?

So, Kyle Dubas decided to try and slip one by us before we all went to bed and it didn’t work. The Leafs acquired David Rittich from Calgary in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022 just after 10PM.
This could mean a lot of things (that you’ll have to find out by watching the video)!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Diesel Engine wasn’t anywhere near fired up as the Blue Jays get dropped in Texas

That went just about as well as you’d have expected it to. The Blue Jays, on Tanner Roark day, take the loss by a score of 7-4.

Things worth mentioning…

I was willing to give Tanner Roark the benefit of the doubt after a miserable 2020 season given the fact that there wasn’t a normal spring training before the 60-game sprint and a lot of pitchers struggled because of it. But, this season, Roark had ample time to get the Diesel Engine rolling (he allowed 10 earned runs in 10 2/3 spring innings) and he still got lit up by a hapless Rangers offence on Tuesday. Roark got clubbed for five earned runs on six hits, three of which were homers, and only lasted three innings.

I don’t know how you can put Mayza and Kirk on the roster because you’re only here to win ballgames this year, then give Roark any more than three starts if they’re going to be like this. Maybe two.
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) April 7, 2021

I know it’s just one start but… yeesh. Roark was only able to hit 92 miles-per-hour or higher on the gun three times and his pitches that are supposed to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are off to Texas to (hopefully) kick the crap out of the hapless Rangers

Opening Weekend went about as well as anybody reasonably could have expected for the Blue Jays.

They rolled into Yankee Stadium without George Springer, their top two projected starting pitchers, and their closer, and they managed to take two of three games thanks largely to some impressive pitching performances.
Now they have a really good opportunity to get off to a hot start to the season as they travel to Texas to face the Rangers, who, on paper, are arguably the worst team in baseball. According to ZiPS projections, the Rangers are expected to win just 66 games this season, which is better than only the Baltimore Orioles (65 wins) in the American League.
The Rangers will also become the first big-league team to welcome fans back at full capacity for their home opener on Monday. What could go wrong!
How they’re doing…
You generally don’t want to draw too many conclusions from Opening Weekend but Texas’ three-game set in Kansas City with the thoroughly mediocre Royals validates the notion of how bad the Rangers supposedly are. Texas lost the first two games of that series by a combined score of 25-14 and salvaged things on Sunday with a 7-3 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell traded to Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood

Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell traded to Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood

The Toronto Raptors went into the trade deadline with the intention of selling, and they did just that by sending Norman Powell on his way after the former second-round pick evolved into a star this season. Powell has averaged 19.6 points per game this season while shooting 50% from the field and 44% from 3-point […]
Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell traded to Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Trying to understand why Jimmy Vesey plays every night

Okay, so I went into looking at Jimmy Vesey’s stats fully expecting that there would be a huge difference between the eye test on him and the numbers. My eyes when it comes to Vesey are strained. Generally it’s hard to tell that he’s even in the lineup, but at some point he’ll find himself in the right position and he’ll create an opportunity, and then it serves to remind you about how you haven’t noticed him the rest of the time he was playing, which has been around 12 minutes a night.
Injuries to Simmonds, Thornton, Hyman, etc. have certainly made it easier to see why Vesey is the lineup right now, but the 12 minutes part still remains a bit perplexing, because, well, he hasn’t been good. And with Nic Petan showing that he can work well with Travis Boyd, and Jason Spezza, Alex Barabanov might be beginning to find his footing in the NHL as well, Alex Galchenyuk waiting to make his Leafs debut, and of course Nick Robertson and Joey Anderson sitting on the Marlies waiting for their next opportunity, it’s starting to hurt my brain trying to establish why …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Aaron Dell era is over, the Jason Spezza era continues in Toronto.

It went exactly as expected. Aaron Dell was claimed off of waivers today at noon.

Devils claim Dell…
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) January 18, 2021

So the good news here is that Dell didn’t go to Scotia North Division opponent that needed a goaltender (read: the Oilers.) The fact that Dell went to New Jersey meant that he wound up exactly were he was expected to be after Corey Crawford announced his retirement and a capable backup was required for Mackenzie Blackwood. Previously the Devils had claimed Eric Comrie off of waivers, but Dell would certainly be an upgrade. It remains to be seen if they’ll move forward with three goaltenders, or if Comrie will be on waivers later this week. He could be an interesting depth option, although we can definitely see the challenge in getting third string goaltenders to the taxi squad at the moment. In that regard, Michael Hutchinson is a solid safety net for the Leafs, as he’s at least on par with most of the third string options around the league. It’s just unfortunate that goaltending depth will no longer be a position of strength for the Leafs.

Jason Spezza clears waivers – he’ll be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation