What’s changed in the year since Babcock’s been fired?

It’s the first year anniversary of the Mike Babcock firing. It’s a special day, and we owe much thanks to Marc-Andre Fleury for it, but also Mike Babcock for being such an uncompromising prick that he refused to change even when all signs pointed to him failing in his role.
Not coincidentally this also marks the one year anniversary since Sheldon Keefe took over the Leafs, and I decided to have the TLN writers weigh in on what has changed the most in the past twelve months for the Leafs.
Mark Norman
The Leafs played 47 games under Keefe this season. Comparing Keefe’s first 47 games to Babcock’s last 47 games shows us that Keefe’s teams slightly outshot (+0.7 SF%) and out-attempted (+0.9 FF%) Babcock’s teams, while Keefe received better 5v5 shooting (8.9% to Babcock’s 8.0%) and basically the same 5v5 goaltending (0.913 vs Babcock’s 0.914). Where things greatly diverged is in expected goals (a shot quality metric): the Keefe-coached Leafs had 53.6% of the expected share of goals while Babcock’s Leafs had 49.8% of that share. The eye test bears this out: under Keefe the Leafs were encouraged to be creative with the puck (within reason) rather than playing scared of …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Kristians Rubins is the Leafs 18th ranked prospect

Kristians Rubins left home in Latvia as a 15 year old to pursue his hockey dreams. He was headed to the Swedish VIK Vasteras system. His late birthday (December 11, 1997) meant he had just turned 16 when he was selected to Latvia’s WJC-18 team. The following season, when he was turning 17, Rubins represented Latvia in both the WJC-18 and WJC-20 D1A, where he had 4 points in 5 games.
From a very young age Kristians Rubins has been playing up to a high competition level, and earning the trust of his coaches. As a 6’4″ LD, that can take him a long way in this sport. Sparing some of the details for later on in this prospect ranking, Rubins possesses many of the attributes that makes modern big-bodied defencemen successful. The winding path he took to gather those attributes is why he is relatively unheard of.
RANK – GRADE – NHL READINESS
18TH – C – 1-2 YEARS
Position: Left Defence
Age: 22
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 220 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: No
What kind of player is he?
Just looking at his height and weight, you can infer he’s a shutdown defenceman. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but Rubins was not always that way. He comes from a …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Hockey community rallying around 15 year old with serious injury

Anthony MacDonald is a 15 year old hockey player from Nova Scotia who suffered an unfortunate and very severe head injury on the ice earlier this week. Anthony happens to be the son of a friend of mine, so this is personal to me and to The Leafs Nation team. The outpouring of support so from the hockey community has been overwhelming and heartwarming. The GoFundMe page has been shared by hundreds of people, including some prominent members of the hockey world such as Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun, and David Amber.

Anthony is a young hockey player who needs our help. If you’re able to, click on the link below. Our thoughts are with Anthony and his family. https://t.co/WMRpw3V3Pt
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 12, 2020

Anthony is currently being cared for by the incredible doctors and nurses at the IWK in Halifax, but his family is sure to incur many unexpected expenses during his recovery and the days ahead, which is the last thing they should have to be concerned with at this time. I, along with Anthony’s loved ones, would greatly appreciate any support you might be able to provide in this very difficult time. …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Grading the Raptors last 3 games played on Halloween

Toronto Raptors: Grading the Raptors last 3 games played on Halloween

It’s the time of the year we review the Toronto Raptors scary past. It’s Halloween and it’s that time of the year to watch scary movies… actually, this time around we’re the ones in the scary movie with everything going on in the world right now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and […]
Toronto Raptors: Grading the Raptors last 3 games played on Halloween – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality

In what has been a difficult year for the world and the Toronto Raptors because of COVID-19, the troubles were exacerbated by racial inequality. It’s a subject that nearly derailed the restart of the NBA season, but the Raptors are an example of how to be in these turbulent times. The Toronto Raptors lost a […]
Toronto Raptors: A model NBA franchise in racial equality – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Scott’s Thoughts: Lessons the Leafs Can Learn From the Tampa Bay Lightning

Every year, a team wins the Stanley Cup, and every other team decides to get in line to mold their team just like that team, because if it worked for the Cup winners, it’ll work for them, right? Meanwhile, there are always a few teams creating their own style, and those are usually the ones poised for success in the next few years.
However, I think there is a fine line between learning a few things to adapt your own strategies and vision, and outright copying the reigning Cup champs. This is especially the case for the Leafs with the Tampa Bay Lightning, as the Lightning have often been a comparable team due to the skill both teams possess, so it might not be a bad idea to pull a few pages from their notebook.
So, here are few things that I think the Leafs could learn from the Lightning this season, that I think can be applied to the Leafs without drastically shifting from their own vision.
Don’t overreact to a disappointing playoff loss to Columbus
In 2018-19, the Tampa Bay Lightning shocked the hockey world by tying the NHL record for most points in the regular …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs and Greyhounds, Draft BFFs?

Last year was a quiet draft on the Soo front. No new Greyhounds. A very different story from Kyle Dubas’ first draft as GM where he traded down to select Rasmus Sandin in the first round, and went with overager Mac Hollowell in the fourth round. Both of those picks seem to be solid so far as Sandin is on the verge of making the Leafs roster, and Hollowell has steadily been progressing through his first pro year. There is something to be said for familiarity. The fact that Kyle Dubas can put trust in the organization that is developing the Leafs prospects is significant.
That being said, the Greyhounds need to have players worth drafting, and this year they certainly have a few worth considering.
Ryan O’Rourke-D
O’Rourke is a left shooting defenseman slated for the late first round, but much more likely, the second round. O’Rourke’s size, mean streak, and stay at home play check a lot of boxes for what the Leafs could use down the road, a possible Muzzin replacement in a few years, but alas, trading down for O’Rourke isn’t going to be a popular move in a deep …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Will the Toronto Raptors consider trading Kyle Lowry this Offseason?

Kyle Lowry has 1 year and $30.5 million left on his contract before he becomes a free agent in 2021. After a heartbreaking loss to the Boston Celtics in game 7, it is time for the Toronto Raptors to decide what to do with their many free agents and current players on their roster. Masai […]
Will the Toronto Raptors consider trading Kyle Lowry this Offseason? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jack Long / Raptors HQ

Friedman breaks down the Leafs

Tomorrow we’re treated to the end of year press conference from Dubas, Keefe, and Shanahan. As a bit of an appetizer, tonight we have Elliotte Friedman breaking down the Leafs heading into their extended off season. Of course we have some thoughts on his thoughts too. You can find Friedman’s full article here.
I’m going to start this week’s blog with a personal belief: I think GM Kyle Dubas’s plan was to give Toronto’s “Big Four” (

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Mitchell Marner
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” data-toggle=”tooltip” data-placement=”auto” data-html=”true” data-trigger=”hover click focus”>Mitch Marner, 

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Now is not the time to move on from Mitch Marner

Another year, another first round elimination for the Toronto Maple Leafs, technically.
Every season, this team surprises us. This year, it was the highs of a three-goal comeback against the Columbus Blue Jackets to the lows of losing to David Ayres, who practices with the Maple Leafs and was also a zamboni driver — it was all weird.
Don’t forget that we’re still going through a pandemic, which there won’t likely be a vaccine for until early January, according to science.
Beyond all of that though, the Maple Leafs, again, were ousted out of the first round for the fourth straight year, which is disappointing.
“It’s hard to put it all into words.” Said Morgan Rielly after the game, and I think we can all agree with him there. I’m sitting here trying to write this and have struggled to put five sentences together in the first hour.
It’s definitely disappointing, but I wonder, did people really expect anything different?
I feel comfortable saying I did after game four. The thought from me was that the win would spark change in this group for the better, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation