Toronto Raptors: A realistic expectation for Fred VanVleet this season

Toronto Raptors: A realistic expectation for Fred VanVleet this season

After getting his well-deserved payday to remain with the Toronto Raptors, the eyes on Fred VanVleet are at an all-time high. Ahead of the new season beginning, we’ll take a look at what the realistic expectation for the undrafted guard is. From the moment soundbites were released of Fred VanVleet’s comments on JJ Redick’s podcast, […]
Toronto Raptors: A realistic expectation for Fred VanVleet this season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kyle Oliveira / Raptors HQ

Who will be Canada’s best NHL team next season?

The All-Canadian division looks to be a sure thing and with that comes predicting the best and worst teams.
Every NHL club has made significant moves that have altered their team in some way, shape or form. The question is, whether it changes their team for the good, or the bad. We will have to wait and see what happens for that but we can still try and predict who Canada’s top team is.
Here are my predictions and who I think will be the best and worst teams in the inevitable All-Canadian division. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Egor Korshkov to stay in KHL for rest of season

Egor Korshkov to stay in KHL for rest of season

Egor Korshkov is staying with his KHL team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, until the end of their season, said a source close to the 24-year-old.
Lokomotiv is currently third in the KHL’s Western Conference and their last game is on February 27th, which would mean the 24-year-old may not return to Toronto until then. If Lokomotiv makes the playoffs, it’s possible that he isn’t back until the end of April. Korshkov currently leads all Lokomotiv players in scoring with 19 points in 27 games and is 30th in all of the KHL.
There were a lot of question marks regarding if the Russian winger would make the Maple Leafs, or be a part of the possible “taxi squad” when the NHL season starts. But with this news, he may not play with the Leafs at all this upcoming season.
The NHL is currently working with the NHLPA to try and have a start date of January 1st, but with the NHL’s salary deferral/escrow asks (according to Pierre Lebrun), the start date may be pushed back. If that happens, it’s possible Korshkov can return to North America in time to play with the Maple Leafs or Marlies.
There are …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Mac Hollowell is the Leafs 13th ranked prospect

In Kyle Dubas’ final OHL draft, with his 2nd to last pick, he selected Mac Hollowell. He was only 5’8″ and 169 lbs when the Greyhounds snagged him 237th overall, but he would wind up cracking the OHL the season after he was drafted.
When it came time for Hollowell’s NHL draft in 2017, his name was not called. The diminutive defenceman was struggling to get top 4 minutes thanks to the deep roster Dubas left behind when he joined the Leafs. It wasn’t until the 2017-18 OHL season when Hollowell started turning heads, assuming a larger role for the Greyhounds while Rasmus Sandin and Conor Timmins were at the World Juniors or injured.
Kyle Dubas was handed the Leafs reins ahead of the 2018 draft, and he made short work of acquiring the Greyhound’s two top scoring defencemen. The Leafs selected Sandin 29th overall, and Hollowell 118th overall. It’s worth noting that Hollowell was projected closer to the 6th round, but the Leafs took him in the 4th. Not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Dubas shows his confidence in the evasive RD.
RANK – GRADE – NHL READINESS
Position: RD
Age: 22
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted: 2018 4th …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Raptors sign Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher to contracts

Toronto Raptors: Raptors sign Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher to contracts

The Toronto Raptors were faced with a tough decision to make with some of their free agents and who they would bring back and who they would let walk. The Toronto Raptors entered free agency with three big free agents of their own that they needed to take care of. Fast forward into the free agency period […]
Toronto Raptors: Raptors sign Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher to contracts – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

2021 free agent targets for the Toronto Raptors if Giannis re-signs with the Bucks

2021 free agent targets for the Toronto Raptors if Giannis re-signs with the Bucks

With the Milwaukee Bucks doing all they can to get Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign the super-max this offseason, the Toronto Raptors should start looking at other potential targets from the 2021 free-agent class. The Milwaukee Bucks are breaking the bank and mortgaging the future to bring in Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s requested reinforcements. After their moves for […]
2021 free agent targets for the Toronto Raptors if Giannis re-signs with the Bucks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

The Babcock Firing, One Year Later

It’s crazy, with everything that’s happened in the last year, it seems like it’s been ages since the Leafs fired Mike Babcock, and yet it also doesn’t seem like it’s even been a year with how much hockey has happened since then.
I still remember when it happened. I was filming an interview for a school project, and I checked my phone as I was packing up to find at least 30 missed calls, texts, and messages from other social media apps asking me about my thoughts. Considering how I had been on the “Fire Babs” bandwagon for almost a year at that point, a lot of people figured I’d be happy about it, I guess.
Which I was. I was growing frustrated with Babcock during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 due to his very inconsistent analysis on player talent, but I always defended him because he was at least a good systems coach. Come 2018-19, and he was making very interesting choices on his systems for a highly skilled team, and after a hot start, the team was starting to show it’s inconsistencies as the season went on.
But it wasn’t until February 12, 2019 …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Jokerit terminates Mikko Lehtonen’s contract and he’ll likely be heading to Toronto soon

With the state of a potential 2020-21 season remaining up in the air, one member of the Leafs roster made the move to prepare for his arrival in Toronto.

#Jokerit and Mikko Lehtonen have mutually agreed to terminate the player’s contract. Next stop for him is Toronto.
Thank you Mikko and all the best in North America!#KHL pic.twitter.com/OgrrJVMuVV
— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) November 20, 2020

This comes mere hours following updates regarding the state of recent meetings between the NHL and NHLPA in regards to negotiation on salaries. By no means does this guarantee a new season is happening, but Lehtonen wouldn’t have done this if there wasn’t any indication that he would get to play for the Leafs in 2021.
While Lehtonen’s campaign with Jokerit was shorter than expected, he still made the most of it by posting eight goals, nine assists, and 17 points in only 17 games played. Had it not been for a potential exposure to COVID-19 that put his season on pause for two weeks, the aforementioned numbers might have been even higher.
Now that Lehtonen will soon be on his way to Toronto, you can expect the likes of Joe Thornton, …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Seven former Blue Jays are on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot

With this off-season trudging along at a glacial pace, we finally have something baseball-related to talk and argue about. The 2021 Hall of Fame ballot!

Here’s a look at the ballot, courtesy of the indispensable Hall of Fame vote tracker Ryan Thibodaux…

There are seven former Blue Jays on the ballot, three of whom are new additions this season. The new guys are Mark Buehrle, LaTroy Hawkins, and A.J. Burnett, while the returnees are Roger Clemens, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, and Jeff Kent.
Obviously, none of these players would be wearing Blue Jays caps if they were to get inshrined in Cooperstown but it’s an interesting discussion regardless.
I imagine that Clemens will eventually get in as the world sort of gets over being weirdly mad about the steroid era. Rocket Roger got 61 percent of votes last year, just 14 percent shy of making the cut. This is his ninth year on the ballot so it either happens this year or in 2022 or he’ll have to get in via the Veterans Committee.
Vizquel is another one who’s going to get eventually mostly due to his longevity and the fact he won 11 gold gloves. Kent has been passed …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Prospect Rankings: The Honourable Mentions

We are going to kick off our 2020 TLN Prospect Rankings with the three players who didn’t make the top 20 but are still relevant enough to make our honourable mentions.
Dmitri Ovchinnikov
Position: C
Age: 18
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 163 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2020 Round 5 #137 overall
Highest TLN Prospect Rank: 12 (By Nick DeSouza)
I personally had Ovchinnikov ranked the highest out of the TLN crew at 15. To many, Ovchinnikov was regarded as a sleeper prior to the draft and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Leafs were the ones to take him. One thing that was surprising though, was the fact that they traded up for the pick, something that we don’t usually see too often by Dubas.
Ovchinnikov is currently playing in Russia for Sibir in both the KHL and the MHL (most of his games have been with the MHL). While Ovchinnikov’s raw offensive numbers in the MHL are quite impressive, it’s his ability to transition the puck up the ice that makes me so high on him. It feels like he’s constantly generating zone entries and odd-man rushes for his team whenever he is on the ice. In the offensive zone, he has …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation