Transactions: Breyvic Valera and Travis Bergen are back with the Blue Jays

We’ve got some transaction news as two familiar-ish faces are back in the mix.

First, as you would have noticed if you watched Sunday’s game against the Yankees, infielder Breyvic Valera is back with the Blue Jays after being reinstated from the Restricted List. Valera was unable to join the team last season as he wasn’t able to get out of Venezuela due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Valera is a really random name you might have completely forgotten about until today. He was claimed by the Blue Jays from the Yankees back in September of 2019, a dark period of time many of us have wiped from our memories, and he got into five games with the team that season.
His numbers in Triple-A that season (between the Giants and Yankees minor-league affiliates) were actually quite good. Valera slashed a .303/.389/.480 line over 107 games with a 50-to-44 walk-to-strikeout ratio. Of course, he’s also 29 years old with no success at the big-league level.
Anyway, Valera is apparently in the mix for a backup infield gig with Santiago Espinal and Joe Panik, who’s in Florida as a non-roster invitee. I figure Valera is a pretty likely candidate to be …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Nylanderthals rejoice! We’ve got a new The Leafs Nation shirt for sale

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Leafs shirt up on the Nation Gear site. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to, it’s that we wanted to wait to give you a design that is unique and something that we would want to wear ourselves. Thankfully Anthony Stewart gave us this gem…

Ah yes us, the “Nylanderthals” indeed #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/jAzpHpnvKL
— David Nestico (@davidnestico200) February 19, 2021

NYLANDERTHALS!!!
It didn’t take long for twitter to immediately either fall in love with the term like we did, or take it as a slight against Leafs fans. I’ll let you guess what side of that we fall on based on this.

That’s right! It’s our brand new, sexy and stylish Nylanderthal shirt. Fine enough to wear to at any occasion, but ideally to rub in your uncle’s face on family zoom calls.
If you are a proud Nylanderthal, now is your opportunity to broadcast it to the world in this 100% ring spun cotton shirt and let the Steve Simmons’ of the world know that you believe in our beautiful Swedish son. Also, that IKEA furniture really isn’t that hard to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Marlies pick up a draft eligible goaltender as an OHL season begins to seem less likely

Marlies pick up a draft eligible goaltender as an OHL season begins to seem less likely

It’s been a while since we’ve had any kind of signing news related to the Toronto Marlies, but out of the blue this morning, the Leafs’ AHL team offered up an Amateur Tryout contract.

A draft eligible goaltender is joining the Toronto Marlies.
If you thought 2020 was a weird year, 2021 is saying don’t forget about me. https://t.co/IF5uNG4Swk
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) February 6, 2021

The most interesting thing about this move has to be the fact that Lennox is draft eligible. And with no timelines for the start of the OHL season, apparently Tristan Lennox has opted instead to join the Marlies, as he would be eligible to play there as long as there isn’t an OHL season going on.
Of course there isn’t an AHL season to speak of for the Marlies to speak of either, but the intention is that there will be an AHL schedule for the Canadian teams announced by Monday, and that both Toronto and Belleville will start their seasons largely on the road until Ontario allows them to play or they can find some farm land in southern Saskatchewan to call him for the next few months, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs Nation Preseason Prediction Poll

It’s been a long off season. We’ve gone a long time without the joy of cheering the Leafs, blaming the refs, and laughing at the Habs. Tomorrow night that all comes back. We need this.
With the return of the season, we’ve decided to take a different approach to our annual predictions than we’ve done in the past. We’re still asking the same questions, but we’ve also asked a few more, and rather than sharing the individual votes, we’ve rolled everything up into the official, guaranteed result predictions of the TLN team. Take these to the bank, but know if you win anything because of these predictions, we demand a cut. Similarly if you lose, remember, we don’t know what you’re talking about and these are for entertainment only.

First off we asked, how far the Leafs will make it this year, and the result was we all think the Leafs will do better than they have since the Quinn era. The majority of our contributors think they will match the Leafs best results since 1967, but no one was willing to step up and be bold and predict a Stanley Cup …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Hutchinson on waivers, Petan clears, and it’s Leafs Game Day!!!

It’s Leafs Game Day!!! It’s something we’ve been waiting for since the summer, and as an added bonus we’re guaranteed to see them win. Of course we’re also guaranteed to see them lose, but we’ll have none of that negativity here, thank you very much.

Sheldon Keefe on tonight’s game: “This is the culmination of the camp. It’ll end here today. We’ll come back, and we’ve got two practice days before we prepare to play Montreal.”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 9, 2021

With the above statement from Sheldon Keefe we can probably expect the Leafs to be very active on waivers tomorrow, and the we’ll have a good idea of who is on the main roster and the taxi squad in the coming days.
As for the other waivers news, the Leafs have put Michael Hutchinson on waivers today, and Nic Petan cleared waivers yesterday. Petan will either be assigned to the Marlies or dealt to a team that is excited to see if they can turn him into a NHLer. Hutchinson is also very likely to clear, despite the fact that New Jersey is now in the same boat as Washington, as their …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Stories of the Year: Professional Women’s Hockey Comes (Back) to Toronto

If you’re a TLN reader at all, you definitely know by now that we’ve launched an exciting partnership with the Toronto Six – the newest team in the NWHL, and the only Canadian franchise. While we’re thrilled to bring you exciting content and coverage of the team’s inaugural season, there’s more to it than just hockey coverage. The establishment of a Toronto-based NWHL team is logical, necessary, and important.
Leafs fans often proudly joke (and other teams’ fans often derisively joke) that Toronto is the centre of the hockey universe. But the fact is, that’s more or less true. Toronto is home of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the NHL’s “situation room”, and one of the most prominent Original Six teams in the league. The Toronto hockey fanbase is so deeply established and embedded in Toronto life, that the waiting list for Leafs season tickets (if one can afford them) is twenty years long.
Hockey and Toronto are synonymous. And bringing an NWHL team to the city further cements that. After the CWHL folded, and following the lengthy discussions about the creation of one women’s league, the launch of the Toronto Six signifies …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Nick Robertson is the Leafs top prospect

What a strange journey it’s been. We’ve come a long way since we started these prospect rankings back in November with William Villeneuve grabbing the #20 spot. We’ve taken a look at a lot of promising young players who have the potential to push for NHL jobs, take on role player type duties, and some that are swing for the fences type players. Now here we are with the most established blue chip on the team, Nick Robertson.
Robertson edged out Sandin, and Amirov, who both received 1st place votes, but an electrifying year in the OHL coupled with his involved with the Leafs during their brief return to play. On the other side of things, Robertson did receive one 4th place vote from one of our writers, who saw him behind Amirov, Liljegren, and Sandin, in that order. So while he certainly hold Robertson in high regards, he just sees others as potentially more impactful, and like many of our rankings that exclude a Matthews or Marner to rank, there is plenty of room for debate on who is the best.

RANK
GRADE
NHL Readiness

1
A
0-1 YEARS

Position: LW
Age: 19
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 164 pounds
Shoots: Left


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What we (think we) know about hockey returning

After a period of uncertainty, we’ve gently been nudging towards an actual start date for the 2021 NHL season:

The working agreement is the agreement the two sides announced in July. Still a lot of work to get done on this season, but the expectation is the NHL Board of Governors will approve. https://t.co/w9eARPI5Tk
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 8, 2020

From an NHL team exec this monrning, FWIW: “NHL is season is starting Jan 13th. Confirmed last night. We are going to be playing 56 games.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 8, 2020

So that’s encouraging, I think. I mean, the league isn’t reaching into my pockets, and while I don’t think the owners deserve a single penny more and should be solely accepting the risk, I’m content to let the NHL and NHLPA work this out amongst themselves without further disruption to the season.
As for what the season looks like, well…

Both sides targeting Jan. 13 start to season in order to get 56-game sked but even with financials no longer an issue as @DarrenDreger first reported, still some work to be done on protocols, schedule, critical date, etc, plus subject to NHL BOG and NHLPA …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Leafs on loan, Hallander heating up

We’ve now moved beyond the exciting, transaction filled part of the offseason into the slog of GM meetings and discussions surrounding the return of various leagues throughout North America, both amateur and professional. There have been vague plans and tentative target dates but everybody knows that the coming season is still very much up in the air for leagues like the the AHL and CHL, as well as the USHL and NCAA. With many NHL prospects on something of an indefinite hiatus, their clubs have been hard at work hammering out loan agreements with teams in Europe that have already gotten their seasons underway. Roster spots are becoming scarce in the European professional ranks, so NHL teams are being forced to prioritize and act quickly if they want to get their young talent into meaningful games before 2021.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev – C – Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
SDA had a disappointing draft+1 season but bounced back last season to the tune of 75 points in 55 games playing alongside fellow Maple Leafs prospect Nick Robertson in Peterborough. The 76th overall pick from 2018 was ticketed for his first tour of duty with the Marlies this season but that will have to wait, with the North …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

MAILBAG: Who replaces Andersen, Does Marner Deserve an A, and more…

It’s been a while since we’ve done a mailbag, so in this the beginning of the dark of void of no transactions and no hockey being played, we thought we’d reach out to you, our beautiful readers to see what’s on your mind, and what we can answer for you. Our writers were eager to answer, and I’m pretty sure everything we’ve said is 100% correct, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff.

If Freddie wants a big raise next offseason, who’s a tendy Dubas should look at as a replacement in free agency or a trade?
— Lyle (@InsiderLyle) October 20, 2020

Michael Mazzei: I don’t think the Leafs should be quick to search for a new goalie via trade or free agency. They have two serviceable netminders in Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell on the roster and there is a real chance that they could be the tandem heading into 2021-22. Kyle Dubas made the move to acquire Campbell in part because of his potential and also his track record of progression. We saw briefly how much his presences helped stabilized the backup position and raise questions as to whether he should be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation