3 free agents still alive in playoffs Raptors could target this summer

3 free agents still alive in playoffs Raptors could target this summer

The Toronto Raptors are in a position where they need to make some improvements to the bench following the conclusion of their 2021-22 season. The lack of depth behind Fred VanVleet was one of the main reasons that this squad was unable to do much in the postseason against the 76ers. After VanVleet and Nick […]
3 free agents still alive in playoffs Raptors could target this summer – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Jack Campbell grabs two wins in three solid starts, Mark Giordano continues to be a staple on the blue line

After coming off a three-game week where we saw the Maple Leafs lose yet another stinker to the Buffalo Sabres, flat out dominate the Washington Capitals on home ice, and then win a back and forth game in overtime against the Ottawa Senators, Toronto had themselves another busy week on the schedule with four games waiting for them, including two against two divisional rivals again.
The Maple Leafs opened up their busy week on Sunday at home against the New York Islanders, and boy was that a boring first period but good thing things started to pick up and the game got a little more entertaining as it rolled along. After what was a pretty even yet boring first period, Toronto controlled the rest of the game through the last two periods with a combined shot total of 28-20 and ultimately came away with a big win for the standings 4-2, and a big thanks to Jack Campbell for his performance because he made the stops when the team needed them.
Currently, on a three-game winning streak, Toronto stayed home and welcomed the struggling Philadelphia Flyers in …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Civil Discourse: The Leafs have too many good defencemen. What should they do now that Muzzin is back?

Welcome to Civil Discourse, an article series where two TLN writers discuss a topic of interest rationally without resorting to personal insults. So basically the anti-Twitter.
Mark Norman
I think we can safely say this is a nice problem to have: the Leafs have too many good defencemen. With less than 15 games left to go in the regular season, our playoff opponent still unknown, and the return of Jake Muzzin, it begs the question of what the Leafs should do with their suddenly-crowded blueline. Ryan, what are your thoughts on how things should shape up now that Muzzin is back?
Ryan Hobart
I have been pretty unimpressed with Jake Muzzin this season overall. Of course, him being healthy is the best thing possible, but I’m not sure that him playing is the best thing. We know that his pairing with Justin Holl, previously quite solid, struggled greatly this year. When not with Muzzin, Justin Holl has played well, at least in terms of underlying numbers. My main thought is that if Muzzin is getting in, it shouldn’t be Justin Holl going out. The thing that’s really up in the air is how Ilya Lyubushkin can manage essentially top-pairing minutes with Morgan Rielly. What is your sense of that pairing? Are they too good together to break up?
Mark
I’ve liked Lyubushkin with Rielly: he brings a physical element that the Leafs have missed much of this season with Muzzin out of the lineup, and he frees Morgan up …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Marlies could end their season with two players etched in the record books and some new goaltenders

The Marlies are having a season to remember, but also one where they’ve battled to be in a playoff spot.
Toronto pretty much has a playoff spot booked, however, now it’s about seeding. The Marlies are battling it out with four other teams (Belleville, Rochester, Laval, and Syracuse) to finish the season in second or third place.
At this moment, Toronto is the fourth seed, meaning that they would play Rochester in the first round in a best-of-three series. I doubt any team wants to be in that series while the rest of the teams watch on.
On one hand, the Marlies are having an incredible season as players like Alex Steeves and Bobby McMann are having incredible years. On the other hand, they’re going to try and push for one of the top spots without any goaltenders that the Maple Leafs or Marlies have under contract.
It began with Keith Petruzzelli, who was experiencing concussion-like symptoms on Tuesday night before their game in Abbotsford. Toronto then went out and signed Talor Joseph to an ATO. Once the Marlies knew Petruzzelli couldn’t go, Michael Hutchinson was set to start the game. That was until Petr Mrazek got injured with t …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Stop deterring hockey’s best moments

There has to be an NHL where fighting and having skill both belong in the game.
On Friday night, Trevor Zegras scored another lacrosse goal, and the Arizona Coyotes didn’t like it very much. There was a lot that happened in this game including Nick Ritchie intentionally high-sticking Kevin Shattenkirk, a fight between Michael Carcone and Sam Carrick, and then this — Jay Beagle fighting Troy Terry — a player who gets fed punches while he keeps his gloves on.
Not all of it’s related to Zegras’ goal, but each incident led up to the fight below.

“That’s the problem with these young players. You wanna embarrass guys? You wanna skill it up? You better be prepared to get punched in the mouth.”
Coyotes broadcast applauds Jay Beagle cross-checking Trevor Zegras/beating Troy Terry senseless. Embarrassing commentary pic.twitter.com/1AfenuTRkL
— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) April 2, 2022

After this game, there was a lot of reaction, but I want to focus on the commentary from the clip above for a second. If NHL players are getting embarrassed by others scoring highlight-reel goals, I think they’ve picked the wrong sport to play. No player deserves to get punched in the face because they’re playing good hockey.
I believe if that’s happening, it’s clear that the player who’s throwing the punches isn’t good enough for the NHL. That’s the type of play that belongs in beer league.
This situation would be easier to understand if Zegras did this on the 5-0 goal, but it was only 3-0. If a player is scoring on you with skill, it’s unfortunate for you, because you c …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs can probably beat anyone in the playoffs, but they first must overcome themselves

“This is where we’re supposed to be right here. This is where you do it. You can exercise so many f—in’ demons and they got demons in their heads, they got them in the car, they got ’em under the f—in’ beds. Every where they turn there’s a f—in’ demon. The biggest obstacle this team has right now is themselves.”
This is what assistant coach Paul MacLean said between Game 6 and 7 of the Leafs’ first-round matchup against the Canadiens that was captured in the “All or Nothing” documentary. We already know how the story ended and rewatching it won’t spur a different outcome, but what he said still holds weight as the team gets set for another playoff push in 2022.
Heading into tonight’s matchup against the Jets, Moneypuck has Toronto at a 100% chance of making the postseason, meaning they are basically in. The Eastern Conference playoff combatants have pretty much been determined with the only thing remaining being the matchups themselves. Meaning that the Leafs’ opponent in the first round should they start tomorrow would be the Lightning.
These next few weeks will no doubt play a large factor in how the playoff picture shakes up and this could in many different ways. Toronto could still very much finish atop the Atlantic Division or find themselves in one of the Wild Card spots by the time th …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Källgren on standby, NCAA update, Niemelä nearing return

Normally, this would be the space where we get to set aside whatever is happening up with the big club and take a look towards the future but continued problems in goal for the Leafs have now crossed over and made their way into the Prospect Roundup. With the Sheldon Keefe continuing to search for consistency in net, the organization’s younger netminders are becoming increasingly viable options between the pipes.
On a more positive note, this past week saw a handful of Leafs NCAA prospects earn accolades for their strong regular seasons before kicking off play in their respective conference playoff tournaments, as well as the arrival of the Leafs’ latest ELC signing.
Without further ado…
Erik Källgren | G | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
The Leafs have dealt with more than their fair share of goalie troubles over the last couple of months and things only got worse when it was announced last week that Jack Campbell would be out of action for at least two weeks with a rib injury. The injury to Campbell meant that Petr Mrázek would be given a real chance to run with the starting job and the Leafs opted to recall Erik Källgren to serve as Mrázek’s backup.
Mrázek has struggled mightily in his first seas …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Mitch Marner extends point streak amid poor week, John Tavares breaks goal drought

After coming off a four-game week where we witnessed some great games and some stressful games, the Toronto Maple Leafs had three games on the schedule last week including a meeting with the Washington Capitals for the first time since October of 2019. Along with their meeting with the 2018 Stanley Cup champions, the Maple Leafs were also set to host both the Buffalo Sabres and the Vancouver Canucks at home.
They began their week on Monday night in Washington for a clash with the Capitals and it was a pretty good game if I’m being honest right now. The Maple Leafs did blow a 3-1 lead but they managed to stick around and get the lead back to ultimately win the game on the road. There were some questions in this game because Washington is such a heavy team to play against and at times when Toronto had puck possession, it felt like the Capitals were bullying Toronto nonstop, especially when Tom Wilson threw down John Tavares, but I guess it was alright given he set up the eventual ga …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

‘He’s going to help us a lot’ Josh Ho-Sang has returned to the Marlies and is ready to do something special

After an Olympics where Team Canada unfortunately didn’t make it to the medal rounds, Josh Ho-Sang is back with the Toronto Marlies.
The 26-year-old returned Marlies practice a few days ago, but Tuesday was the first time we got to speak with him since he arrived back in Canada from Beijing.
“It was an amazing opportunity,” said Ho-Sang of playing in the Olympics for Team Canada. “Obviously it didn’t end the way that we wanted it to and that’s unfortunate, but it was a great group of guys, a great experience.”
Ho-Sang has been to many parts of the world, most recently playing in Sweden just last year, and although there was a lot of hockey played in Beijing, there was also a lot of learning about their culture too.
“I do think it’s really cool to see culture around the world so you can appreciate where you come from and stuff. There’s certain things there that were amazing that I wish we had here, and there’s certain things that are here that I wish they could experience there.” Said Ho-Sang. “I think that that’s one of the beauties of the world.”
Joining a group of players at an Olympic games can be a daunting task. Each team is put together so quickly …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs 3 stars of the week: Mitch Marner sets career-high, John Tavares finding the scoresheet again

After coming off week 15 of the season where the Toronto Maple Leafs only played two games due to their weird schedule given postponements from COVID-19 and attendance issues, they were scheduled to play just two games this past week yet again. They opened week 16 with a home game against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and followed that up with a road game in Detroit to take on the Red Wings who were on the second half of a back-to-back.
Wednesday’s game against the young and fun Ducks was a dominant game for the Maple Leafs in almost every possible way. They were the better team on special teams as they went 3/4 on the power-play and 2/2 on the penalty kill, but just like games prior, they found ways to choke a multi-goal lead and stress out their fans who were watching the games. They outshot the Ducks 44-20 and had a 3-1 lead at one point but eventually won the game in the shootout 4-3 after the Ducks tied the game at three just over halfway through the third period.
They ended their week against Detroit and if we’re being completely honest right now, this was not one of Toronto’s best games. …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation