Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant

While the Toronto Raptors need to figure out what exactly is going on with Chris Boucher and Thad Young before they start adding additional pieces elsewhere to improve this roster, the center spot will need to be remade eventually. Washington Wizards big Thomas Bryant could be one way to fill that void. The Raptors need […]
Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Leaflets: Giordano signing is a great start, defensive offer sheets, and what’s next for Simmonds

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Leaflets post so rather than just simply doing one, I’ve decided to commit to this as a regular Monday thing going forward. Consider Leaflets a small dose of my correct bad opinions for you to get mad at. It seemed like it was going to be a quiet long weekend, but much to delight of everyone, Kyle Dubas showed he was hard at work getting a former Norris Trophy winner back at a bargain price, so let’s start there.
The Giordano signing is impossible to hate
I immediately regret that assessment, as there is a pocket of Leafs fans outraged over Jason Spezza being around at all despite making league minimum and still putting together stretches of productive hockey. I am confident someone while emerge to teach us why Mark Giordano at two years for $800k AAV is bad, but for now let’s focus on all the reasons it’s good including when we last saw Mark Giordano a few weeks ago he still seemed like a perfectly capable middle pairing, or stellar bottom pairing option for the blueline.
So first off, this is a player at the end of his career signaling to his teammates that he believes the Leafs provide him the best opportunity …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Tiedemann impresses in his High A debut + a look at pitching prospects performances from this week.

While the bats have not picked up, the pitching has been something special.

This is a statement that works for the big league club, but it also applies to the rest of the organization at all levels.
There were some great performances from starting pitching prospects since the start of the minor league week. Let’s look at them.
Nick Fraze:
On the day that Orelvis Martinez went deep for his 11th home run of the season, the 24-year-old righty Nick Fraze had quite an impressive game. Below is his line from Tuesday’s game.
4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Yes, three earned runs in only four and a third doesn’t seem that impressive, but look at his strikeouts compared to walks. Fraze is rocking a 4.09 ERA and 4.27 FIP, which is already solid. However, in his 33 innings pitched, he has only allowed four total walks. In fact, he has hit more batters with pitches (7).
I wrote an article about him last season, but after putting up mediocre numbers in his short stint in New Hampshire, he has flown under the radar. In 2022, Fraze seems to have adjusted to Double A. It’s possible that the 22nd rounder pitches in Triple A in 2022. 
Sem Robberse:
From one pitcher that has figured out his level to the next, Sem Robberse is showing why he is easily the second best pitching prospect in the organization. Here is his line from Tuesday evening.
6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
I’ve written about his background ad nause …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors should correct mistake, sign Gary Payton II in offseason

Raptors should correct mistake, sign Gary Payton II in offseason

While former Toronto Raptors G League player Oshae Brissett has had his success, Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II may be the best player that was in the ranks of Raptors 905 and slipped away to another team. Luckily, the Raptors will have a chance to rectify that mistake. Payton was G League Defensive […]
Raptors should correct mistake, sign Gary Payton II in offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The Raptors must be in on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason

The Raptors must be in on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason

While the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz came into the season with completely different sets of expectations, they both ended up losing their respective first-round playoff series in six games. Donovan Mitchell and Fred VanVleet might see their teams make major changes in the offseason. The Raptors put up a heck of an effort to push […]
The Raptors must be in on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Matthew Chiu / Raptors HQ

No Michael Buntings this year, but the Group 6 UFA list is beginning to take shape

For a while this has been one of my favourite annual traditions, looking around to see what players haven’t played enough games for teams to still negotiate with them as restricted free agents, and see who might be a hidden gem that will be released into the wild, and often had for a fairly reasonable price (see Michael Bunting’s contract.)
First a brief definition of what a Group 6 Free Agent is via PuckPedia:
A player becomes a Group 6 UFA if they are 25, completed 3 or more professional seasons, has a contract expiring, and has played less than 80 NHL Games.  For goalies, this is 28 NHL games with more than 30 minutes of ice time.
A Professional Season is defined as any season where a player aged 18-19 plays in 11 or more Professional Games, and a player 20 or older plays 1 or more Professional Games.  A Professional Game is a regular season or playoff game in the NHL, minor league (AHL/ECHL), or European professional while under an NHL contract.
While there doesn’t appear to be a Bunting in the mix or a Verhaeghe, or any other obvious target, at least at forward. There are a few players that stand out, some good, and some that seemed like they’d be good six or seven years ago, and perhaps most hilariously 2/3rds of the players that Boston selected instead of d …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Knies watch begins as Minnesota was eliminated from the Frozen Four

While all eyes were rightfully on Auston Matthews’ record setting night, there was another game of importance being played with a less than ideal outcome for the Leaf prospects involved in it.
The University of Minnesota suffered a 5-1 defeat, knocking them out of the Frozen Four. This has implications largely tied to Matthew Knies, but it certainly seems worth mentioning a couple of the other players worth paying attention to out of this as well.

Matt Knies and Bryce Brodzinski head in on a 2-on-0 rush and Knies finishes it to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/Loochly1ke
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) April 8, 2022

I guess we can take comfort in the fact that Matthew Knies was the only Gopher who got on the board, and that it really was a nice 2 on 0, but it clearly wasn’t enough and now we’re weighing the pros and cons of whether bringing him into the fold is the right decision for the Leafs, for Knies, and of course all of this is dependent on whether Knies wants to leave University, which at this point it doesn’t sound like he wants out.
Should Matthew Knies turn pro and sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Kyle Cushman put together a very detailed argument for why Knies staying with Minnesota makes a lot of sense, but I’d counter with there not really being much harm from having the kid around the Leafs for the rest of the season and getting some exposure to the pro life. A contract with the Leafs opens up a lot more that can be done by the player development department to work with Knies, he’d have the opportunity to attend the full Leafs camp next fall, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Clippers couldn’t stop praising Scottie Barnes after Raptors win

Clippers couldn’t stop praising Scottie Barnes after Raptors win

While the upstart Los Angeles Clippers gave Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors everything they could handle, Toronto puts the clamps on their offensive attack down the stretch to secure a 103-100 victory. Toronto won their fifth straight game after a sluggish second-half start. Barnes recorded 15 points in the win, coming alive in the […]
Clippers couldn’t stop praising Scottie Barnes after Raptors win – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

WATCH: Marlies react to Erik Källgren’s first NHL start and shutout

While the Maple Leafs were celebrating Erik Källgren’s first NHL start and shutout, the Marlies were cheering him on from afar.
After Wednesday’s practice at Coca-Cola Coliseum, a number of players including Rich Clune and Curtis Douglas, as well as Marlies head coach Greg Moore expressed their joy for Källgren.
In my latest video, I discuss all of that, plus a new prosect joining the Marlies, and more!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

It looks like the Blue Jays have traded for Matt Chapman

It’s taken a little while, but here’s the big move for a position player that we’ve been hearing about.

Late last night, Carlos Baerga reported on Instagram that the Blue Jays were trading for Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics. Given the fact Baerga also said that Toronto would be signing Freddie Freeman in free agency, it was difficult to tell how legitimate this report was.
But then on Wednesday morning, Jon Morosi reported that the Blue Jays and the A’s were finalizing a Chapman deal. We don’t yet know the return, but Morosi said that the Blue Jays are “not giving up players from their projected Opening Day roster.”

The #BlueJays are finalizing a trade for 2-time Platinum Glove-winning 3B Matt Chapman, source confirms. Carlos Baerga was the first to report. @MLBNetwork @FAN590 @Sportsnet
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 16, 2022

Chapman is an interesting addition for the Blue Jays. He fills the hole the team has at third base, as he’s a plus defender who has won three gold gloves at the hot corner, but he’s also another right-handed bat in an already right-heavy lineup.
He’s also coming off a somewhat rough season at the plate, as his .210/.314/.403 slash line produced a .716 OPS, the worst of his big league career. Despite the ho-hum season offensively, Chapman was still worth 3.5 WAR last season (per FanGraphs) largely because of his excellent defence and ability to hit the ball out of the park.
He might not be Freeman or Jose Ramirez, but the last time the Blue Jays traded for an Oakland third baseman coming off a down year, things turned out pretty well! …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation