Leafs prospects looking to shine at the World Juniors this Christmas

It looks like Edmonton will be back for Hub City 2: Electric Boogaloo.
A Hockey Canada press release announces the tournament will get underway on Christmas Day, a day early than the usual Boxing Day start:
For the first time since 2005, the IIHF World Junior Championship, a holiday hockey tradition, will get underway on Christmas Day. Three games highlight the opening-day schedule before Canada’s National Junior Team begins defence of its gold medal against Germany on Boxing Day.
Hockey Canada and the host committee, on behalf of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), unveiled the full tournament schedule Monday. All 28 games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alta., from Dec. 25, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021.
While most Leafs fans will default to cheering for Canada, there’s little doubt that our eyes should be elsewhere as well. The Leafs representation in the tournament is going to be decidedly Finnish and Russian, and while Nick Robertson could be the big focal point, Bob McKenzie is hinting that he might not be attending…

Zegras stayed in ANA to work out/skate there as did Kaliyev in LA and Robertson in TOR. Turcotte is in Germany, where he’s been assigned to play by …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Someone found an insanely rare Pascal Siakam basketball card

Basketball cards collectors will be coveting this Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam card Basketball cards collectors and Toronto Raptors fans everywhere are going to be extremely jealous of one particularly lucky Raptors fan who got his hands on a rare piece of Pascal Siakam memorabilia. Calling it his “grail”, one Reddit user got a booklet insert […]
Toronto Raptors: Someone found an insanely rare Pascal Siakam basketball card – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Josh Wilson / Raptors HQ

What teams suffer the most from a flat cap?

As we approach NHL Free Agency we will see a new type of contracts, those signed under the new CBA. They will be the first signed with the knowledge of what the salary cap will look like multiple years down the road. Teams would very much enjoy this insight under normal circumstances, however knowing the cap will remain flat seems like a dark cloud over their heads.
The National Hockey League’s highest paid players are demanding higher salaries every year, based on the annual increase of the upper limit. Now, it is not clear if the cap will rise until 2022, and even then the increase would be limited to $1m. Top free agents now have to negotiate for the same contract value as their comparables, rather than percentage of the cap. Even then, existing contracts were signed with the expectation that the percentage of the cap that contract occupied would dwindle over time. Every cent of every contract from this point on will take up a measured amount of space in a team’s cap structure.
The two big extensions already signed under this CBA are examples of how the flat cap will impact negotiations. Those belong to defencemen …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Rowdy Tellez is on the Blue Jays’ wild-card series roster, Jordan Romano and Julian Merryweather are not

The Blue Jays and Bay Rays will kick off their wild-card series today, and the team has released the 28-man roster that will be active in Tampa Bay.

Let’s do this! Presenting your AL Wild Card Series Roster! #WeAreBlueJays pic.twitter.com/0MN2ImMhIa
— Toronto Blue Jays – x (@BlueJays) September 29, 2020

Some interesting notes…

Rowdy Tellez, who missed the last few weeks of the season due to a knee injury, is on the roster. He wasn’t able to make it into a game for a tune-up, but it seems the Jays believe he’s healthy enough to contribute. Maybe he’ll be used as the designated hitter or maybe he’ll be used in pinch-hitting situations. Regardless, that’s a great addition to the team’s lineup.
While Rowdy made it back without a regular-season tune-up, a couple of key pitchers, Jordan Romano and Julian Merryweather, did not. There hasn’t really any word on Merryweather, who’s dealing with an elbow issue, so his omission isn’t surprising. But there had been talk that Romano could return even though he didn’t make an appearance in the final weekend of play against Baltimore. That isn’t the case, unfortunately. …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blueprint for Beating the Tampa Bay Rays

Its official the Blue Jays will play Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round. Tampa Bay was the class of the American League in this shortened season. They went 40-20 to lead the AL finishing just three games behind the Dodgers for the MLB lead. The Blue Jays went 32-28 taking the second wild card.
The Blue Jays enter this series as heavy underdogs, but there is a way they can win this series.
The official rotation for the Blue Jays hasn’t been announced yet but it seems likely that Taijuan Walker will start Game 1 instead of Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s been speculated that he perhaps asked the Blue Jays to give him an extra day of rest.
This actually can work in the Blue Jays favour. They get their ace fully rested and in a situation he is comfortable with and having Walker pitch Game 1 isn’t the worst thing.
For one Walker’s primary pitch is a four-seam fastball. It averages 93.2 mph, with 2143 rpm of spin, per Baseball Savant. Batters hit just .156 off the pitch the 14th lowest in the league among pitchers who faced at least 50 batters. He gets whiffs on it 23.1% of the time. It’ …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Should the Toronto Raptors re-sign Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, or Both?

One of the major questions the Toronto Raptors will have to answer this offseason is which one of their free-agent centres should they re-sign? After an incredible championship defending season, the Toronto Raptors are now officially in the 2020 offseason. This means it is time to start answering some of the many questions Masai Ujiri, […]
Should the Toronto Raptors re-sign Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, or Both? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hani Salehi / Raptors HQ

NHL Draft moved up to Oct 6/7 and who the experts think the Leafs could take at 15th overall

The Leafs first round pick and our new favourite son will arrive three days earlier than originally expected, as the NHL has announced Tuesday, October 6th as the opening night of the entry draft.

NHL Draft is being moved ahead a couple of days. First round Oct 6, rest on Oct. 7.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 8, 2020

Breaking with the tradition of having the event on the weekend, the NHL is looking to maximize the potential for a little down time and have a true offseason by moving the draft forward. It’s entirely possible we see a similar move with free agency as well.
One of the other drivers behind this decision is probably to move the draft off of a holiday weekend, as it allows the league to shutdown for Canadian Thanksgiving as well as Columbus Day in the US.
So we are now officially less than one month to the entry draft. Cool. To celebrate, here’s a rundown of the TLN draft content for you to consume…
From Erik Karlsson to Cody Ceci — A look at recent No. 15 overall picks from the NHL draft

Should the Leafs lean towards drafting more players from European …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews could win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy on Friday, as NHL will reveal award winners this week

On Saturday, the NHL announced that they will be revealing the winners of the 2020 NHL Awards once a day, starting on Sunday, Sept. 6, through the Conference Finals.
Winners will be announced on NBC Sports, Sportsnet and TVA Sports during their pregame windows through the Conference Finals. Eight awards will be given out once a day for eight days throughout the Conference Finals.
Of the award finalists, Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews is particularly a name to note. He is currently one of the finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is the annual award given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The winner of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy will be revealed on Friday, Sept. 11.
After the initial eight awards are handed out, the remaining five awards (the Calder Memorial Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, James Norris Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Vezina Trophy), will be revealed at some point in a 30-minute program during the Stanley Cup Finals.
 
Below is the complete schedule for all the awards, along with their finalists.
Sunday, Sept. 6
King Clancy Memorial Trophy ( …

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Author: Matthew Rodrigopulle / The Leafs Nation

With the 15th overall pick the Leafs are proud to select… Braden Schneider?

Welcome to the first of what will be a month long look at potential first round candidates for the Leafs, assuming they hold onto their pick. The TLN writing crew will dissect the first couple of rounds and see who we can land on to help improve the Leafs prospect depth that has dwindled from the glory days of Marner, Nylander, Kapanen, and Matthews, but still isn’t too shabby with players like Robertson, Liljegren, Sandin, and Korshkov all close to being able to make an impact in the NHL. Our first player in the series is one that checks some boxes for Leafs fans, as he’s a right shooting, physical defenseman who already has NHL size.
Today we’ll look at Braden Schneider, a right handed defenseman from the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Schneider’s vitals are part of his selling point for many, as he’s 6’2, 210 lbs, and shoots rights. That checks a lot of boxes for Leafs fans who have worried about the undersized blueline, and the Leafs inability to find anyone who can slot in on the right side. Schneider being one of the older first year eligible players in …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Matt Murray to the Leafs rumours aren’t going anywhere

Folks, sooner or later the Leafs will be Soo Greyhounds alumni team and Auston Matthews. It appears to be inevitable, and after adding one former Greyhound in goal last season by bringing in Jack Campbell, it is entirely possible that Dubas and Keefe are primed to bring in another, and in this instance I’m not talking about Robin Lehner.
From Pierre LeBrun:
My guess is the Leafs wouldn’t want to trade for a goalie without knowing if they could move Andersen. I did have an executive from a rival NHL team tell me this week that Dubas does have interest in Murray. So perhaps there’s a deal to be made there after all but later on.

Frank Seravalli: “The Pittsburgh Penguins are believed to have one standing offer on the table for Matt Murray. The Maple Leafs, Oilers, Flames, Senators, Sabres and Avalanche are among the potential suitors for Murray’s services – a list that may soon grow.” #LetsGoPens
— NHL News (@puck_report2) September 3, 2020

So there the Leafs are at the top of the list for Matt Murray. Cool. Of course there’s also this…

Friedman said …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation