Where do the Maple Leafs go from here? – Rate That Leafs Game

Every year something like this happens. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a massive lead and then they blow it. Maybe it’s good that it happened this early into the season, right?
I don’t want that question to be answered.
The only thing I want right now is for the Maple Leafs to show us that they’re not this team. To show us that they’re better than giving up a four-goal lead to one of the NHL’s worst teams. If they prove us wrong, it’ll be amazing.
If they don’t — I’m ready to yell, scream and throw chairs like I almost do in this one. I hope you enjoy the video.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Is Kyle Lowry a Hall-of-Famer?

Raptors: Is Kyle Lowry a Hall-of-Famer?

The Toronto Raptors are in their 26th year of competition in the NBA. They have had quite a ride from winning 21 games as an expansion franchise in 1995-96 to acquiring Vince Carter at the 1998 draft to winning an NBA title in 2019, eventually stumbling across a transformational player in Kyle Lowry. Players like […]
Raptors: Is Kyle Lowry a Hall-of-Famer? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Spezza to retire if claimed on waivers

After signing another cheap one year deal with the Leafs, it seemed pretty clear that Jason Spezza wants to finish his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf.
And that was basically confirmed today, as Chris Johnston reported that if Spezza gets claimed on waivers by another team, he will retire.

Jason Spezza’s agent says the veteran centre will retire if claimed off waivers by another NHL team: https://t.co/ytEdlf5yR8
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 17, 2021

Spezza was put on waivers today alongside goaltender Aaron Dell in an attempt to allow cap and waiver flexibility for the Leafs with the taxi squad, particularly in the wake of Nick Robertson’s injury last night.
This bodes somewhat well for the Leafs, as this will likely scare off other teams from claiming him, and allow him to stay a Toronto Maple Leaf. The only way I can see someone claiming him is to purely spite the Leafs and make them lose a depth piece for absolutely nothing. I doubt it happens because I feel like screwing over a veteran player probably isn’t in some people’s best interests, but we all know how petty some teams can be with the Leafs.


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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the Numbers: Morgan Rielly

This is the year. No Hainsey. No Ceci. No Zaitsev. No Hunwick. No Polak. It’s Brodie time for Morgan Rielly. A real top pairing partner.
If we look back at the defensemen that Morgan Rielly has played with the most over the past three years, in order it’s been Ron Hainsey, and Cody Ceci as his most consistent partners, and outside of Jake Gardiner there hasn’t really been someone we’ve seen Rielly with that is considered good. That’s terrifying for anyone, let alone the defenseman that you consider the best in your organization.
That leads us to Morgan Rielly’s number. Rielly’s number is 517. Rielly has played 517 games for the Leafs, most of those games as the top defenseman, a role that many will still consider him to be occupying even though his supporting cast of Jake Muzzin and T.J. Brodie is the best he’s ever had.
While there is reasons for optimism around the defense being either good or adequate for the first time in a number of years, there is still a lot to consider on the blueline, and one of those things is the part where we come to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the numbers: Auston Matthews

Every year, I try and look back on certain players’ past seasons and try to prepare myself for what’s next with that player. Today, I try and predict how Auston Matthews plays in this upcoming season.
If you’ve forgotten, the 23-year-old was one goal off of a tie for the Rocket Richard trophy. Both David Pastrnak and Alex Ovechkin had 48 goals, while Matthews had 47. More importantly though, he had 35 even-strength goals which was a tie for the lead league, with again, Ovechkin.
Matthews has been one of the most dominant players since entering the NHL back in 2016 — growing into the two-way centre that we all imagined him to be. He has 158 goals and 127 assists in 282 games, which puts him 19th in the NHL for points since his draft day.
I know we can all agree that he’s a great player. Scoring goals, getting back in the play when it’s in the Maple Leafs’ zone, and even picking the pockets of other players (which he’s incredible at) are all massive attributes to his game. However, there’s one attribute that he’s brought with him to the NHL that’s made him such an incredible player …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Page 6ix Wednesday, January 6th: Happy New Hockey Year!

Happy New Year hockey fans! It’s 2021, hockey will be back next week officially, and things are looking up! So much has happened over the past week, especially with training camps starting up, that there is tons to dive into. Much of today’s fun will be Leafs-related, but there are some bits and pieces from around the league and greater hockey world to touch on, as well.
Let’s get started!
Leafsland Excitement
Camp is underway and that means new Leafs content every single day! I’m excited, are you excited? The players seem excited! Take a look at the training camp roster:

The squad
Here’s our roster for Training Camp Fuelled by @GatoradeCanada. #LeafsForever
https://t.co/QErhOtTxbL pic.twitter.com/smlNsXmvcc
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 3, 2021

We learned about this over the holidays thanks to Instagram, but William Nylander confirmed that some of the boys were getting to know New Dad Joe Thornton by quarantining together!!!!

Nylander says he, Thornton, Matthews, Sandin and Hollowell lived together for two weeks in a “quarantine house thing” in the lead-up to #Leafs camp.
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) January 4, 2021

Looks like there’s a bit of a clear-cut A and B squad …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs By the Numbers: William Nylander

It’s safe to say that William Nylander had a big year in 2019-20. Going into the season, he was facing a lot of scrutiny for his 2018-19 season, which saw him sit out for the first third of it in a contract negotiation, struggle to get back up to speed in the second third, and then finally regain form in the final third, but was never really given a shot to prove it. He responded with a career year, blowing his career high in goals out of the water with a 31 goal season, and falling just two points short of matching his career high in points (although his pace through a full 82 games would’ve been 71 points).
The biggest difference for him was having a coach who actually trusted him, and gave him significantly better minutes than his 2018-19 season, especially with his power play usage. His 2:53 PP TOI/game was the highest of his career, significantly more than his previous high of 2:21, and would’ve resulted in an almost 50 minute increase in his totals had he played a full 82 games. Another reason for his career year was how he changed his game, and went to the net a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry

Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry is in the final year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors, and they’ll have to think about his future as a Raptor. Now that Giannis Antetokounmpo has officially signed the super-max extension to stay in Milwaukee, the Toronto Raptors have a lot of questions not only heading into this upcoming season but […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 Reasons to Trade and 3 Reasons to Keep Kyle Lowry – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hani Salehi / Raptors HQ

New Season, New Year: Big Things Lie Ahead for the Toronto Raptors

New Season, New Year: Big Things Lie Ahead for the Toronto Raptors

With the new NBA season and the dawn of a new year so closely aligned, let’s look ahead to what figures to be a seismic 2021 for the Toronto Raptors organization. You could be forgiven for thinking that the Toronto Raptors just got boring. They sacrificed a lot to set themselves up for a free […]
New Season, New Year: Big Things Lie Ahead for the Toronto Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

The World Junior Tournament doesn’t really need fixing, but here’s one idea how to fix it

I think this year the World Juniors have fallen victim to being the only game in town and having an audience that wants the most exciting hockey they’ve ever seen at time when we’re feeling deprived.
The issue with the tournament seems entirely focused around the blowout victories, and lopsided matchups that go along with having teams like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and for that matter Slovakia in the mix with the bigger six of Canada, United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Finland. Outcomes seem predetermined for half the games in the tournament, but it’s always been that way. The run up scores are the result of goal differential playing a role in playoff seeding, and seeding for future tournaments. It’s always made sense, it’s always been accepted, and it was something viewers previously either enjoyed or would simply change the channel on.
Of course this is 2020, and we’re going to react poorly to everything we can, and the simple joys of watching 20 year old Austrians get pounded into the earth invokes more criticism.
Fair enough.
That is ignoring that the Austrians want to be there. They want to play the best of the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation