How Do Nick Nurse’s First Two Seasons Stack Up Against the All-Time Greats?

In his first two years, Nick Nurse won his first coach of the year award and led the Toronto Raptors to a championship. Now who else has done that? On Tuesday, news broke of the Toronto Raptors re-signing Nick Nurse to a new multi-year contract. The contract was universally praised after a strong 2019-20 season […]
How Do Nick Nurse’s First Two Seasons Stack Up Against the All-Time Greats? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Waind / Raptors HQ

3 things the Leafs need to do to become Stanley Cup contenders

Last year’s season was an unexpected one. Newly acquired Tyson Barrie didn’t pan out, there were a ton of injuries and the Leafs were a very inconsistent hockey team.
But there’s a list of requirements that Kyle Dubas needs to hit to make sure Toronto is ready to go for next season, as well as the playoffs.
Dubas said he wasn’t done making trades and that’s one place he needs to be perfect in, if he wants success next year. There’s also a few other things on his to-do list, but you have to watch the video to find out.


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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

NHL History: Toronto Maple Leafs sign Eric Lindros 15 years ago today

It was 15 years ago today that the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Eric Lindros.

The deal was a one-year, $1.55-million contract and it marked the only year he spent in the big city.
It was a short year, however, as Lindros’ year was cut short due to injury much like his whole career. Playing in 33 games, Lindros scored 11 goals and as many assists.
All those games came at the start of the year and on Dec. 10, 2005 he suffered a tear of a ligament in his left wrist. Lindros recovered and returned after 27 games on Feb. 28, 2006, but reinjured his wrist a week later ending his season.
The Hall of Famer only spent one more year in the NHL, a 49-game season in 2006-07 with the Dallas Stars where he scored 26 points.
On Twitter: @zjlaing

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Relive Vince Carter’s iconic dunk in bobblehead form

Twenty years ago (anyone else feeling old?), Vince Carter dropped an iconic dunk in the dunk contest. So Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this bobblehead. You know what? Let’s party like it’s 2000. When Vince Carter was on the Toronto Raptors and regularly putting opposing players on posters. When he was dominating the […]
Toronto Raptors: Relive Vince Carter’s iconic dunk in bobblehead form – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nathan Cunningham / Raptors HQ

NHL History: Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Cody Franson nine years ago today

It was nine years ago today that the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Cody Franson.

The deal saw the Leaf give up Brett Lebda, Robert Slaney and a condition fourth-round pick in 2013 to the Nashville Predators for Franson and Matthew Lombardi.
While Lombardi only lasted one season in Toronto scoring 18 points in 62 games, Franson played the best years of his career with the Leafs.
Over parts of four seasons, Franson scored 20 goals and 115 points in 236 games. He was a tough defender for the Leafs standing at 6’5, 225 lbs., but was still able to provide lots of offence for the team over his three-and-a-bit year stint.
He posted a career-high in points in the season he was traded back to the Predators with 36 total — 32 of which came in 55 games with the Leafs.
On Feb. 15, 2015, the Leafs traded him back to Nashville along with Mike Santorelli for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic and a first-round pick in the 2015 draft. Toronto later traded that pick, 24th overall, to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2015 1st, 29th overall, and a 2015 2nd, 61st overall.
The Flyers used their pick on Travis Konecny, while Toronto traded down from the 29th spot for a package that included 34th overall …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

CONSPIRACY ALERT: Why the NHL is rigging the lottery for *insert team here*

It’s very clear that the NHL rigged this year’s draft lottery.

Beyond not wanting Alexis Lafreniere to go to a horrendous franchise like the Ottawa Senators or Buffalo Sabres, the league knew that it would be a good marketing ploy to have one of the play-in teams win the first-overall pick because it would direct a bunch of attention to a second draft lottery at a later date.
All news is good news. Basic stuff.
So we know that this thing was rigged for the placeholder know, as “Team E” … but what we don’t know is who “Team E” is going to be. Let’s do some digging to determine who the NHL actively rigged the lottery for and why they did it.

The Taylor Hall Factor
The Arizona Coyotes are an obvious choice to be given the first-overall pick. They’re Gary Bettman’s starving, dying project and, if they fail, it reflects poorly on him. This team needs a major boost in order to become a playoff team.
But if Bettman wanted Arizona to thrive, why didn’t they force a …

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Author: h0ckeyfan / The Leafs Nation

The NHL’s salary cap could remain stagnant for the next three seasons

The NHL will be feeling the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come.

The league saw a massive revenue shortfall for 2019-20 as the league was forced to cancel a month’s worth of regular-season games in the wake of the pandemic back in March. Having a playoff tournament this summer will help the league offset some of those losses, but there’s still a considerable amount of damage to compensate for.
The NHL is a very gate-driven league in terms of generating revenue. Having a TV-only playoff will bring in cash, but nowhere near the amount that a regular playoff would for the league. Also, it doesn’t seem likely that fans will be filling up stadiums anytime soon, so the league is going to be looking at many TV-only games in 2020-21 as well.
There’s a handful of dominos to fall as a result of this economic catastrophe, but the big one that fans will care about is the salary cap.
The salary cap is grown at a massive rate since being implemented after the 2004-05 lockout. Back then, the ceiling was at $39 million. It’s grown all the way …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

NHL History: Toronto Maple Leafs draft Timothy Liljegren

It was three years ago today that the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted defenceman Timothy Liljegren.

Taken in the 1st round, he came to North America right away and has seen most of his time spent with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
And there, his game has begun to blossom. In 127 games he’s scored nine goals and 62 points. This past season, he got his first stint in the NHL playing 11 games scoring one assist.
The 2019-20 campaign was truly the breakout season. In 40 games, he notched 25 assists and 30 points in only 40 games and it’s a great sign of what’s to come for Toronto.
And come whenever the 2020-21 season gets underway, Liljegren will be given every chance to make it in the NHL.
Marlies GM Laurence Gilman gave him a glowing review in May:
“I believe Timothy Liljegren is ready to become an NHL player, whatever level that’s going to be. I will be surprised if he doesn’t play in the top seven or eight with the Toronto Maple Leafs next year — but he’s gotta hold up his end of the bargain.
“I’m …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

NHL History: Toronto Maple Leafs sign Howie Meeker today in 1946

It was 74 years ago today the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Howie Meeker to an NHL contract.

Meeker, 23, had played the prior season with the Stratford Indians of the OHA-Sr league scoring eight goals and 13 points in only seven games. It was his first foray into hockey in three years, as Meeker served in the Canadian Army wherein he was badly injured.
But through his recovery, he was able to get back to hockey and earned himself a spot on the Leafs.
His first pro season was undeniably his best as he scored 27 goals and 45 points in 55 games. The 23-year-old was named the Calder trophy winner as the league’s top rookie and helped the Leafs win three cups in his eight-year career, all of which were with Toronto.
One of his most infamous moments came when he set up Bill Barilko’s cup-winning goal in 1951.
Meeker retired from the NHL in after playing five games in 1953-54 at 30 years old, but his hockey career was far from over as he played for various men’s teams over the next 15 years.
More infamously, he was known as an analyst on Hockey Night in Canada in the 1970s and 80 …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation

A look back at the first two years of Kyle Dubas, GM

If we were looking back at the past two years of Kyle Dubas and grading him on his vision, we’d probably be pretty comfortable with giving him high marks. Taking the team in an exciting, skill driven direction is something that Toronto has been afraid to do for too long. Looking at the 90s Red Wings as a model instead of getting hung up on how to bet Bruins is the right choice, even if it at times it has been a frustrating one.
As we mark the two year anniversary from when Kyle Dubas moved into the big office, it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate some of hits and misses, and acknowledge some of his strengths and shortcomings. After all, what else do we have to do?
Year one of GMing for Kyle Dubas was about finding his footing, but year two was always going to be less forgiving and it has been. The fact that we can’t point to any playoff outcomes in Year 2 certainly hinders any ability to draw conclusions. Of course, that’s boring, so we’ll try and draw a few a long the way.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation