Page 6ix Wednesday, January 20th: Inaugural Week

We’re a week into the hockey season, folks, and what a week it has been! It’s been exciting, it’s been nerve-wracking, it’s been strange, but it’s been hockey! There’s lots to look at this week, especially with our Leafs boys and their families. Let’s dive in.
Leafs Lads (and Ladies)
New dad Zach Hyman is having himself a season, with 10 SOG in the most recent Leafs game alone. That new dad strength is really pushing him, eh? Check out these adorable Hymen men:

I’m fine. This is fine. Zach Hyman is a dad and I’m fine.
Narrator: she was not fine.
— robo fem mer (@MerOutLoud) January 14, 2021

Zach is enjoying being a dad, and definitely credits his new arrival with some of his on-ice success:

New dad Hyman: “It’s hard to describe. It’s the best feeling in the world. I feel re-energized playing for not just myself, my family, but I have a little one now, so it’s awesome. It’s always the best going home and seeing him after a game.” #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) January 19, 2021

Meanwhile, captain John Tavares is also dominating …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors loss to the Trailblazers

Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors loss to the Trailblazers

The Toronto Raptors were not able to get out of their cold spell as they lose another heartbreaker to the Portland Trailblazers. It’s been a rough season for the Toronto Raptors, and this game against the Portland Trailblazers proved just that. On a second night of a back to back, the Raptors suffer their second […]
Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors loss to the Trailblazers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

Waiver Wildness: Corey Perry, Luke Schenn, Jujhar Kharia, OH MY!

We’re starting a new series where we analyze the players placed on waivers around the league to see if there are any the Leafs should try and claim. We will also tell the likelihood Toronto might actually try and snag said player for free. 
In addition to the five players the Leafs placed on waivers this afternoon, well over 100 other players in the NHL had the same fate. A lot of the moves appear to be in preparation for setting up the taxi squad and lowering the roster sizes with the start of the 2021 season fast approaching, meaning we might be seeing more players placed on waivers soon.
Given that there were so many players on the waiver wire, there were bound to be a few intriguing players up for grabs. Let’s take a look at five of them and see which ones the Leafs should try and go after.
Corey Perry
Leading up to the start of the 2020 free agent frenzy, a lot of Leafs fans were hoping the team would try to snag up the 35-year-old winger. Instead, they outbid the Montreal Canadiens to sign Wayne Simmonds to a one-year deal. The Habs went on to …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Apparently the Blue Jays are one of the teams who has offered Ha-Seong Kim a multi-year contract

If we’re going to get a last-minute signing before 2020 comes to a close, it’s more than likely going to be Ha-Seong Kim.

Kim, a star from the Korean Baseball Organization, was officially posted by the Kiwoom Heroes back in early-December. Given the 30-day window for contract negotiations expires on Jan. 1, Kim will soon have to come to terms with a Major League club if he wants to make the trek overseas for the 2021 season.
According to Daniel Kim, ESPN’s KBO insider, there are multiple teams who have offered Kim a contract, and the Blue Jays are apparently one of them…

Sources – #BlueJays are one of the teams that offered multi-year contract to Ha-seong Kim. Said to be 5 years or more. Kim’s posting ends on Jan 1. #mlb #kbo
— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) December 28, 2020

Along with the Blue Jays, we’ve heard that the Mets (of course), Rangers, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Padres are interested in signing Kim.
I wrote about Kim a few months ago when his name first surfaced on the international free-agent market as a possibility for the Blue Jays. I thought he made quite a bit of sense because …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Rumour Dump: The Blue Jays are in on Tomoyuki Sugano, Jake Odorizzi, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

We’re at a point now where it seems absurd to post about Blue Jays-related interest rumours individually, so I’m going to dump the most recent three names into one post. Today, we have Tomoyuki Sugano, Jake Odorizzi, and Jackie Bradley Jr.! 

Tomoyuki Sugano… 
Sugano is one of the big names from Japan on the free-agent market this winter. He was officially posted by the Yomiuri Giants last week and will be available to Major League teams until Jan. 7. The Blue Jays, along with the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, and Boston Red Sox are teams who have reportedly shown interest in signing him.
Given this year’s fairly weak market for starting pitching, Sugano picked the right time to make the move over to North America. Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League Cy Young winner, is clearly the top arm on the free-agent market, but it gets shallow fairly quickly after that.
Sugano is coming off an excellent season for Yomiuri in which he posted a 1.97 ERA over the course of 20 starts with nice peripherals (8.6 strikeouts per nine and and 1.6 walks per nine). He’s a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award (Japan’s Cy Young) and turned 31 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

J.T. Realmuto might fall into the Blue Jays’ lap

We’re all expecting (or, at least, hoping) to see the Blue Jays make a big splash this off-season.

Who might that be? We’ve heard Toronto connected to just about every name out there this winter. George Springer seems like a natural fit to fill the need in centre field, DJ LeMahieu would also help fill holes around the infield, and Trevor Bauer would give the team another top-end arm.
But the Blue Jays’ big splash might end up being someone unexpected — J.T. Realmuto.
The Mets, like the Blue Jays, are expected to be a big player in free agency this off-season. They have a new owner who’s willing to spend and their name is attached to virtually every player available. If the Blue Jays want somebody, there’s a good chance that they’ll be in a bidding war with the Mets.
Realmuto was one of those names that the Mets have been associated with all off-season as the solution to the team’s woes behind the plate. But, according to the New York Post, the Mets are instead interested in James McCann, who had an excellent showing in 2020 in a very small sample size.
The …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Recapping the first half of the Leafs Prospect Rankings and the Rankings from our readers

We’re halfway through ranking and reviewing the Leafs prospects, and we’ve come to the point I’d consider my favourite part. The part where we get to criticize the rankings from our readers. I mean celebrate them. Yes. That’s it.
In fact, it’s hard to criticize the rankings because they are pretty close to what we put together, and to some extent you’ve all had the luxury of getting another month of looking at some of the players. I’m not going to spoil anything yet, but there’s definitely one player I think with the extra month we’d all have warmed up to as well, maybe not as much as our readers did, but what can I say? Recency bias is a mother.
Let’s start with the rankings of the TLN contributors:
You can find a summary of 16-20 and the honourable mentions here:
The Leafs Prospect Rankings so far

And here’s who was ranked this week:
Ian Scott is the Leafs 15th ranked prospect

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is the Leafs 14th ranked prospect

Mac Hollowell is the Leafs 13th ranked prospect

Roni Hirvonen is the Leafs 12th ranked prospect

Joseph Woll …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, November 18th: Does anyone actually know what reverse retro means?

Welcome gossip fiends. We’re back for another week of a look at what’s happening in and around the NHL that might pique our interest. Things have gotten a bit quieter, but there’s still some juicy fun to dive into.
Leafs Lads (and Ladies…and Littles)
As always, we start with a look at our own Leafs. This week, the focus is on my very favourite Leaf, Zach Hyman. If you weren’t already aware, Zach is going to be a brand new dad very soon! We got lucky, and he shared some lovely photos with his wife and her baby bump.

I’m not emotionally prepared for Zach Hyman to be a dad
— Mer (@MerOutLoud) November 13, 2020

We can not wait to meet Baby Hyman.
In more Zach news, it seems he has joined the new, expanded Return to Play committee:

Players that I hear are on the Return to Play committee:
David Backes, Darren Helm, David Savard, Justin Faulk, Lars Eller, Sam Gagner, Justin Abdelkader, Ian Cole, Zach Hyman, Ron Hainsey, Claude Giroux, Ryan Dzingel, Andrew Copp, Alex Biega, Chris Kreider, Mark Scheifele.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 17, 2020

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays are apparently interested in George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of ‘The Blue Jays have shown interest in _________’ this winter.

Most recently, the said-to-be-very-aggressive Blue Jays have reportedly shown interest in the two top centre fielders on the free-agent market, George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr. Jon Heyman talked about it on MLB Network’s Big Time Baseball on Monday and Tim Kelly of WEEI (a Boston radio station) pointed it out.
Anyways, this type of report is no surprise because, through the first couple weeks of the off-season, all we’ve heard is that the Blue Jays have been aggressive and that they’re poised for a big splash. Both of these free agents are names who makes all kinds of sense for the team to add because of the glaring hole at centre field.
As of right now, Randal Grichuk is the team’s centre fielder. He had a decent offensive season in 2020, slashing a .273/.312/.481 line (112 wRC+) with 12 home runs across 231 plate appearances. His defensive metrics suggest that he was poor in centre field but, personally, I figure the eye-test says otherwise. Grichuk, bat and glove considered, is a fine centre fielder, but he isn’t great.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Charlie Montoyo is probably the Blue Jays’ best bet to win a major award this year

The Gold Glove finalists were released yesterday so it’s time to start thinking about Awards Season.

Lourdes Gurriel was the only Blue Jay nominated for a Gold Glove, which isn’t particularly surprising given the fact that the team wasn’t exactly, ya know, good on the defensive side of the game.
As I mentioned yesterday, Gurriel is a bit of a headscratcher for a Gold Glove but so are many, many other selections. Managers had to vote on the top fielders in their respective leagues even though they didn’t get to see two-thirds of the teams this season. As a result, a player like Gurriel who makes highlight-reel grabs and guns guys out at home will warrant attention.
Will Gurriel win the Gold Glove? Probably not. Kyle Tucker has the best defensive metrics of the three while Alex Gordon is the nice, easy, lazy choice because he’s already won seven times. I imagine a few managers just said fuck it and made Gordon their pick because of his history.
Anyways, are there any other Blue Jays who could take home a major award this season? For major awards, I’m talking Most Valuable Player, Rookie of …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation