The Maple Leafs have signed Timothy Liljegren, now it’s time for Rasmus Sandin

Two years with a $1.4 million annual average value — that’s the rate Timothy Liljegren received to stay with the Maple Leafs.
When Liljegren spoke with the media on Monday, he discussed how it was his goal to get a bridge deal in Toronto. Two years will allow him to develop even more into the player he wants to be and they got it done.
Looking at the signing, it’s a fairly safe bet for both sides. Liljegren is going to be a great defenceman in the NHL and will soon prove that. The Maple Leafs will also have him at a low cap hit when the team needs it most — this season and next.
But now the next question is, how much will Rasmus Sandin get?
This was one of the most interesting questions heading into the off-season. Of course, there was the examination of Jack Campbell’s career as a Maple Leaf and what Toronto will do in free agency, but I found the contracts of Liljegren and Sandin most fascinating.
One of the many reasons behind it was in part because of their careers and how each of them have played. They’re both different players in terms of handedness and offensive capabilities, yet they provide similar numbers over the s …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

5 potential third-round targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs

With the 2022 NHL Entry Draft just over a week away, it’s time to start looking at prospects that could be targeted for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Most of the attention has gone to their 25th overall pick, as it is the first time the Leafs have held a first-round pick since 2020 when they drafted Rodion Amirov, but it is important for Toronto to hit on their later picks as well. Currently holding the 79th overall pick and potentially adding more mid-round picks depending on what the week ahead has in store, today we’ll be looking at prospects expected to be available in the Leafs range during the third round.
Excerpts on each prospect have been taken from Nick Richard’s final top 100 rankings for the 2022 draft, be sure to check out the list in full for lots of great information on prospects throughout the draft board.
Nick Moldenhauer, RW, USHL
Consolidated #76
Not dissimilar from Matt Knies’ draft season a year ago, Nick Moldenhauer is an intriguing prospect thanks to his excellent play late in the USHL season.
To begin the year, Moldenhauer was sidelined with an illness that kept him out through Chicago’s training camp and the first month of the season. Upon finally getting back to health and making his season debut, Moldenhauer was cut on …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. declines home run derby invite

Vladdy won’t be slugging it out with the best of ’em.

The Blue Jays star has declined an invitation to participate in the home run derby at the MLB All-Star weekend, Sportnet’s Shi Davidi reported Tuesday.
Guerrero Jr. is reportedly dealing with some soreness in his left wrist causing him, for the second year in a row, to decline participation.
“My wrist is fine right now but I’ve got to be careful — there are too many swings in a home run derby,” Guerrero said through interpreter Hector Lebron. “I don’t want to take a chance that my wrist gets hurt again and it gets bad and I won’t be able to help the team win, which is what we’re trying to do here. I don’t want to risk it.”
The wrist issue has plagued Guerrero Jr. since his days in the minor leagues, Davidi reported, with the slugger saying it flares up “especially when I take a bad swing or if I chase a pitch and have to stretch it.” A regular schedule of exercises and treatment helps keep things at bay.

Vladdy took part in the 2019 home run derby smashing a record 91 dingers, but fell one short of Pete Alonso in the final round to win the title.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.
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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Former Raptors pick Lucas Nogueira returns to Canada in CEBL

Former Raptors pick Lucas Nogueira returns to Canada in CEBL

Before Masai Ujiri got his feet under him with the Toronto Raptors, the franchise’s NBA Draft history was littered with mistakes in and near the lottery. Ujiri’s first few years with the Raptors didn’t produce excellent drafts, with the addition of Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira drawing attention. Projecting a player as young as Nogueira who only […]
Former Raptors pick Lucas Nogueira returns to Canada in CEBL – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Things should pick up for the NHL and the Leafs this week

With the exception of the coaching carousel, there hasn’t been a lot of news out the NHL throughout June. That’s probably the way the NHL likes it, but for those of us ready to embrace the full force of the offseason, a little news here and there would have been nice.
All of that seems set to change this week as there are actually noteworthy events on the horizon this week that are bound to produce at the very least league news, but hopefully some Leafs news as well.
June 26th: Game Six
If the Colorado Avalanche close things out tonight that expedites the opening of the buyout window by two days. As it sits right now buyouts can happen on July 1st, but an earlier end to the season moves that up. It also does away with the NHL’s strong suggestion to the rest of the league to avoid major news during the playoffs. Presumably, the Leafs are a big part of that strong suggestion as anything that happens in Toronto can overshadow the rest of the hockey world.
June 27th: HHOF induction announcements
This is at least something to sit around and debate, and former Leaf Alex Mogilny is still patiently waiting to punch his ticket. It doesn’t seem particularly likely this year with the Sedins, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The recent history of 25th overall draft picks

Let’s start with the fact that whether you pick 25th overall or 20th overall, or 30th overall the story is going to be somewhat the same and teams that scout well, draft well, and those who don’t will select Stuart Percy. The 25th overall pick is just the card the Leafs have been dealt and in the grand tradition of finding filler content in June before teams actually start doing things, let’s take a walk down memory lane to see who has been drafted 25th overall in the previous drafts of this century.
Year
Player
POS
Drafting Team
Drafted from
GP
G
A
P
2021
Corson Ceulemans
D
Columbus
Brooks Bandits [AJHL]

2020
Justin Barron
D
Colorado
Halifax Mooseheads [QMJHL]
7
1
1
2
2019
Connor McMichael
C
Washington
London Knights [OHL]
69
9
9
18
2018
Dominik Bokk
L
St. Louis
Vaxjo HC [SweHL]

2017
Ryan Poehling
C
Montreal
St. Cloud State [NCHC]
85
13
9
22
2016
Riley Tufte
L
Dallas
Fargo Force [USHL]
10
1
0
1
2015
Jack Roslovic
C
Winnipeg
U.S. National Development Team [USHL]
309
60
86
146
2014
David Pastrnak
R
Boston
Sodertalje SK [Swe-1]
510
240
264
504
2013
Michael McCarron
R
Montreal
U.S. National Development Team [USHL]
126
9
13
22
2012
Jordan Schmaltz
D
St. Louis
Green Bay Gamblers [USHL]
42
0
5
5
2011
Stuart Percy
D
Toronto
Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors [OHL]
12
0
3
3
2010
Quinton Howden
C
Florida
Moose Jaw Warriors [WHL]
97
10
7
17
2009
Jordan Caron
R
Boston
Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL]
157
12
16
28
2008
Greg Nemisz
C
Calgary
Windsor Spitfires [OHL]
15
0
1
1
2007
Patrick White
C
Vancouver
Tri-City Storm [USHL]

2006
Patrik Berglund
C
St. Louis
Vasteras IK [Swe-1]
717
170
156
326
2005
Andrew Cogliano
C
Edmonton
St. Michael’s Buzzers [OPJHL]
1140
174
252
42
2004
Rob Schremp
C
Edmonton
London Knights [OHL]
114
20
34
54
2003
Anthony Stewart
R
Florida
Kingston Frontenacs [OHL]
262
27
44
71
2002
Cam Ward
G
Carolina
Red Deer Rebels [WHL]
701
1
12
13
2001
Alexander Perezhogin
R
Montreal
Omsk Avangard [Russia]
128
15
19
3
2000
Steve Ott
C
Dallas
Windsor Spitfires [OHL]
848
109
179
288
Sigh. Stuart Percy. Do yourself a favour and don’t look at the list of players selected after Biggs and Percy and in the first and second rounds. It seemed like the Leafs went out of their way to mess up this draft.
So as much as there are some interesting names to talk about on there, let’s start with the most recent five year history of the pick. The fact that 2 of the last 3 years have already yielded players that have made their NHL teams is a very good sign, and the idea of finding someone like Connor McMichael at 25th overall is exciting.
The past five years are generally positive, but admittedly I’m shocked by Dominik Bokk being a player that bottomed out. Interestingly enough the Leafs owned the 25th overall pick that year and one of the players many Leafs fans (including myself to some degree) wanted to see picked was Bokk. I think Dubas earned some credibility by not taking the 6’2 winger in this case and both Sandin and Der-Arguchintsev (the player selected with the 3rd round pick acquired in the trade) have more promising pro careers than Bokk.
Looking at the ten most recent years of the draft the pick has a few iffier picks with Tufte and Schmaltz not really hitting the mark, and McCarron maxing out as serviceable depth. It did also provide the biggest home run on this list with the selection of David Pastrnak and a worthwhile middle six forward in Jack Roslovic. Finding the next Pastrnak is the dream, but given the recent success of the Leafs scouting department, it seems that expecting a Roslovic-type option is reasonable.
Excluding the five most recent years, where it seems unreasonable to expect a player to hit the 200 game mark, 7 of the 16 players selected have reached the 200 game mark. Another 4 hit the 100 game mark, and only one, Patrick White, never played a game in the NHL.  Finding players like Steve Ott, Patrik Berglund, Andrew Cogliano, and Cam Ward along with Roslovic and Pastrnak should generate some excitement, especially in what is being regarded as a deep draft.
Perhaps the point that we should takeaway from this and one that didn’t require trivial references to past 25th overall picks is that if the Leafs use their pick at 25th overall it’s very likely the player selected could immediately be debated as the top organizational prospect. The pick is that worthwhile. It’s also worth noting that Kyle Dubas isn’t overly attached to picking when he’s supposed to, so maybe my time would have been be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors fans can rejoice as Blazers whiff on OG Anunoby trade

Raptors fans can rejoice as Blazers whiff on OG Anunoby trade

The Toronto Raptors‘ fanbase was absolutely inundated with OG Anunoby trade rumors over the last few weeks, with the Portland Trail Blazers being consistently mentioned as a landing spot in this deal. Even after trading for Jerami Grant, Portland remained in on the Anunoby sweepstakes. With Portland armed with the No. 7 pick in the […]
Raptors fans can rejoice as Blazers whiff on OG Anunoby trade – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Around the NHL: Vasilevskiy is back, the coaching carousel continues and Kuzmenko has landed

With 30 of the 32 NHL teams no longer playing hockey, we are beginning to enter the most exciting months of the year in terms of NHL news. Free agent rumours are in full swing, coaches are being hired and management teams are preparing for the NHL entry draft.
That said, there has only been three games played in the Stanley Cup Final. After a dominant game two victory, the Avalanche looked to be on the verge of their third championship, but the Lightning showed up for the first time this series in game three.
Avalanche/Lightning
After dropping the first two games in Colorado, the Tampa Bay Lightning answered back with a statement win of their own 6-2 on Monday night. Andrei Vasilevskiy led the way for Tampa, stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced to bring them their first win of the series.
It wasn’t all good for Tampa on Monday. Late in the third period, star forward Nikita Kucherov was taken hard into the boards by a Devon Toews cross-check and forced out of the game. Despite leaving early, Kucherov joined Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier as the only players to score 25+ points in three consecutive post-seasons.
Nazem Kadri, who has been out since game three of the Western Conference …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Fortnight on the Farm, Vol. 5

With the minor league seasons roughly a week away from the halfway point in their schedules, we’ve gotten a better data set about who’s building their prospect status and who’s more an organization filler guy.

Once in a while, you acknowledge the older guy who’s doing impressive work, as I have a couple of times for Casey Lawrence, but most of the time there’s some solid reason that leading your AAA squad doesn’t translate into the promise of major league success (I’m not telling you anything you probably don’t know). Still, props where due can’t hurt.
Triple-A Buffalo
You can’t be a Jays fan and not know about the latest chapter in the Nate Pearson saga, but for the sake of completeness, Pearson had been working his way back from the effects of mono and they had been going slow with him, his second and third appearances were on five days rest, and Sunday he was going on four and was surely expected to get up to three innings and 50-60 pitches. He made it through two pitches and then left the game with shoulder “discomfort.” So my daydream that he’d step up in the second half and bolster the rotation or at least provide a safety net for Kikuchi is ba …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Around the Atlantic division

We are now two games into the Stanley Cup final and with the exception of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Atlantic division is focussed on next season. The Leafs and Panthers had strong years but at this point all that matters is the 2022-23 season.
Despite only one team in the division still playing hockey, there has been plenty of news around the division in the past seven days. Coaches have been fired and re-hired, free agents have been signed and there has been plenty of trade and UFA speculation. Many of the teams in the division have been linked to the same UFA and trade targets. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming months.
Who will be starting in net next season?
This is a question that most of the division has. In Toronto it has been rumoured that Jack Campbell will not return and obviously they would not be happy entering the season with Petr Mrazek at the top of the depth chart.
With former first round pick Spencer Knight set to take the reigns in Florida, two-time Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is being shopped. At a cap hit of 10M and four years remaining on his deal, he won’t be targeted by the Leafs but ot …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation