BJN Radio – Ep. 60: Flaws with the Hall of Fame, movement in negotiations, teeth, and more!

We’re getting closer and closer to the start of Spring Training and there’s still no Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Fortunately, there’s been some positive news lately that MLB and the Players’ Association are slowly inching towards maybe possibly agreeing on something.
BK and I talked in this lockout edition of BJN Radio about what’s happening in the negotiations and what changes we can realistically expect when a deal is reached. We also talked about the 2022 Hall of Fame class and our issues with Cooperstown.
Finally, we went into some Random Blue Jays Talk, in which we looked back at a hilariously bad lineup from 2019, Kevin Gausman not getting a contract offer from the Giants, and why the Blue Jays couldn’t hit in the late innings.
We also fielded some questions, including one about teeth.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Auston Matthews and Jack Campbell are the Leafs All-Stars

If I were to ask you which two Leafs would you most like to see get some rest over the All-Star weekend, you’d probably answer Jack Campbell and Auston Matthews. And to that the NHL will say you’re shit out of luck because…

𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐀𝐓𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐓𝐈𝐂 𝐃𝐈𝐕𝐈𝐒𝐈𝐎𝐍 𝐀𝐋𝐋-𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐑 𝐂𝐀𝐏𝐓𝐀𝐈𝐍 #NHLAllStar | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/PCUWnGEzF2
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 13, 2022

Our Souper star! #NHLAllStar | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Cgz9b1sSCV
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 13, 2022

Well here we are. And while it’s undoubtedly a feather in Auston’s cap that he won the fan vote in such a deep division to be the team All-Star, and that Jack Campbell now has yet another accomplishment to use against the Leafs as he negotiates his contract this summer, the cynic in me still wishes that more Habs fans showed up for Nick Suzuki and Jake Allen and we could rest the stars instead of sending them off to Vegas for a weekend, especially with Auston still not having tested positive for COVID.
Considering that the Olympics aren’t happening and we don’t need to worry about that ruining the Leafs stars from that, maybe I should take the shut the hell up approach, and shift back to the positives here.
We are celebrating seasons that have Matthews and Campbell in contention for some major awards as well, and have kept the Leafs at the top of the league. They are certainly players deserving of being celebrated and today we’re doing that.
As for the rest of the Atlantic Division lineup, here it is (courtesy of NHL.com)

Atlantic Division (All-Star appearances)
F Drake Batherson, OTT (1st)
F Patrice Bergeron, BOS (3rd)
F Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (2nd)
F Dylan Larkin, DET (2nd)
F Auston Matthews, TOR (4th)*
F Nick Suzuki, MTL (1st)
D Rasmus Dahlin, BUF (1st)
D Victor Hedman, TBL (3rd)
G Jack Campbell, TOR (1st)
G Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL (4th)
Presumably players like William Nylander and Morgan Rielly could receive some consideration in the last man in voting, and with just two defensemen on the Atlantic roster it seems like we are a collision course with Rielly being the selection, although I don’t doubt Detroit will show up for Seider as well, and again (somewhat cynically) we are going to see players opt out or have convenient injuries before the game is played.
It does seem silly that we are looking at a lineup that includes Nick Suzuki, Dylan Larkin, and Drake Batherson, but not Steven Stamkos, Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak, so the Atlantic has plenty of places to go.
The All-Star game will be played on February 5th. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

William Nylander’s long road to dominance

“I look forward to dominating.”
Those were just a few of the words William Nylander had for the media ahead of Leafs training camp in 2019, following a disappointing season that was derailed by a contentious contract negotiation that lasted right up until the signing deadline on December 1st. He would end up missing the first two months of the 2018-19 season before coming to terms on a six-year deal with the Leafs and never really found his footing while playing catch-up with the rest of the league. Perhaps feeling the pressure of his new contract, Nylander managed just seven goals and 20 assists over 54 games that year – the lowest points per game mark of his career.
Even in the most difficult season of his career, there were signs that things would eventually turn for Nylander. He led the team with a 55.64 xGF% and put up an identical individual expected goals per 60 rate as the previous season when he scored 20 goals in 82 games, but he suffered from some poor shooting luck and just wasn’t as sharp with the puck on his stick …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

2 studs and 1 dud from tight Raptors victory against Pelicans

2 studs and 1 dud from tight Raptors victory against Pelicans

Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors were as hot as can be in the new year, as they went into a matchup against Brandon Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans ready to pick up another victory. With Khem Birch starting over the injured Gary Trent Jr. in this game, could Pascal Siakam and the offense […]
2 studs and 1 dud from tight Raptors victory against Pelicans – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

News from the Rink: Maple Leafs’ Marner and Engvall in COVID protocol, Ritchie clears waivers

The Maple Leafs were missing three players in the final practice before their four-game road trip south of the border.
Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall were placed in COVID protocol shortly before Friday’s practice began. After practice, Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe said the two players are experiencing minor symptoms.

Sheldon Keefe says Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall are experiencing minor symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19. #Leafs
— Joshua Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) January 7, 2022

Coming up from the Toronto Marlies is Joey Anderson and Brett Seney.
The two have combined for nine points in the four games they’ve played since the Marlies returned from their COVID break.

The Maple Leafs have placed forwards Pierre Engvall and Mitch Marner into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Forwards Joey Anderson and Brett Seney have been assigned to the Maple Leafs taxi squad from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 7, 2022

Ondrej Kase was skating before the Maple Leafs practice on Friday. However, the 26-year-old did not take part in full practice.
Earlier this week, Keefe said the 26-year-old tweaked something at practice. After Friday’s practice, Keefe said he won’t play Saturday vs. Colorado but will join the team on their road trip.

Sheldon Keefe says Ondrej Kase is not expected to play tomorrow but will join the team on the trip.
— David Alter (@dalter) January 7, 2022

The Maple Leafs lines at practice
With Marner, Engvall, and Kaše out, the Maple Leafs had a lot of line juggling to do. Here’s how their lines shaped up in practice.

New lines for the Leafs with Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall in protocol:
Bunting — Matthews — KerfootMikheyev — Tavares — NylanderRitchie — Kampf — SpezzaClifford — Seney — SimmondsAnderson
Rielly — BrodieMuzzin — HollSandin — DermottBiega — Liljegren
CampbellMrazek
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) January 7, 2022

With Marner being out, Alexander Kerfoot has moved up — something that’s different from what we’ve seen be …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Frank Seravalli’s list of trade targets provide some interesting options for the Maple Leafs

We’re told that the trade market is heating up. It’s something that normally happens around this time of year, but normally around this time of year the season is half over and the trade deadline is slated for February. With the Leafs still a month to the halfway point of their season, and the trade deadline not until late March, talking trades now seems both right, but also incredibly premature.
With the Leafs being very much in contender mode again this year (whether or not they let us down is another debate) it’s very likely that the Leafs will be looking to add, and add someone significant. That’s where a list like Frank Seravalli’s Trade Targets comes in handy. Most of the names on the are ones we are already talking about, as we’ve discussed Chychrun, DeBrusk, Strome, and Kane (as an absolute no) already to great length.
Others like Borgstrom, Hertl, Rackell, Kravtsov, and Reilly Smith we’ve provided quick summaries of why they’d add value to the Leafs. Hertl being a clear strongest option.
Today we’ll look at some of the new names on Frank’s list, and maybe a couple of others that we should have given some attention to in the previous look at his list.
Lawson Crouse
The thing with Chychrun and Crouse being on the list is it’s moving on from the players that the Coyotes actually want to dump and instead is focusing on the players that smart teams would rather have instead of Phil Kessel or Anton Stralman rental opportunities.
After the Leafs dipping their toes into in their alternate universe draft picks earlier with bringing in Nick Ritchie to address some toughness, there might be some hesitation about trying to do the same with Lawson Crouse. Thinking this way completely ignores that Crouse is a better player, although much more suited to a bottom six, two way player role than Ritchie’s power forward, sheltered offence abilities.
Crouse at $1.53M and pending RFA is priced right for what Toronto could use in a depth forward spot heading into the playoffs. It’s just a matter of what they’d be willing to spend to get Crouse and given that Arizona probably wants to keep him, a late first or good prospect could be the ask.
The Coyotes do have other options available, as Christian Fischer could provide some bottom six physicality with pote …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 59: How are the owners and players going to find a middle ground?

We’re stuck in the dog days of winter without any good news.

Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association haven’t met since the lockout started at the beginning of December and it doesn’t appear as though they have any plans to do so in the coming days. The Blue Jays have told their players not to rush to make accommodation plans for spring training in Florida, so it’s safe to assume there won’t be a resolution to this battle anytime soon.
For our first podcast of 2022, we took a look at how the owners and the players could find a middle ground on the major labour issues that have led to this lockout. We looked into free agency, control years, the playoff format, and even into the wet and wild world of relegation! We then tried to get some positive vibes in the mix by looking back at our favourite moments from 2021.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors lose Yuta Watanabe, Svi Mykhailiuk to COVID-19 protocols

Raptors lose Yuta Watanabe, Svi Mykhailiuk to COVID-19 protocols

The Toronto Raptors were buoyed by Yuta Watanabe and Svi Mykhailiuk in the closing stages of 2021, as big names like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet were placed in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol. The two may be the best perimeter shooters on the Toronto bench. While Mykhailiuk has been up and down, […]
Raptors lose Yuta Watanabe, Svi Mykhailiuk to COVID-19 protocols – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Free agent departures: Frederik Andersen’s bounce back month, Nick Foligno’s struggles, and more

Free agent departures: Frederik Andersen’s bounce back month, Nick Foligno’s struggles, and more

We’re now almost three full months into the 2021-22 NHL season and we’ve now seen enough games for some former Leafs on their new teams. You have guys like Frederik Andersen and Zach Hyman who are finding success on their new teams, but you also have guys like Nick Foligno and Alex Galchenyuk who are struggling right now and can’t seem to find success on their respected teams.
Now, some of these players have dealt with injuries so far this season and some had been placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list as well, so that could also be a reason why they haven’t found success early on with their new teams but we’re also in January now and I think it’s time for them to step up and make a case to their new team as to why they went out and signed this player.

(As of December 31st, 2021)
 
1. Zach Hyman – EDM – 29 years old – LW/RW
December 2021 stats: 8 GP – 2 G – 2 A – 4 PTS – 19:49 TOI
2021-22 stats: 29 GP – 11 G – 8 A – 19 PTS – 19:02 TOI
Contract: 7 years x $5.5M
Zach Hyman hasn’t quite been on the same pace he was to start the season in October …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

How should Raptors handle Malachi Flynn/Dalano Banton puzzle?

How should Raptors handle Malachi Flynn/Dalano Banton puzzle?

We’re big fans of Toronto Raptors rookie Dalano Banton. The Nebraska alum and Rexdale native brings with him some solid athletic ability and defensive versatility, and those skills helped him leapfrog Malachi Flynn in the rotation. However, his regression over the last few weeks has been very tough to see. Banton went from making over […]
How should Raptors handle Malachi Flynn/Dalano Banton puzzle? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ