TLN Top 20 Leafs: Where do the kids fit in?

TLN Top 20 Leafs: Where do the kids fit in?

We are now halfway through ranking the Top 20 Leafs. Yesterday we reached Alexander Kerfoot and he seems like an appropriate divide for the exercise, and I think slots 4-10 are some of our most debate-worthy rankings of the list, so stay tuned for that.
One of the things that I purposely asked the rankers to do was leave out anyone who we considered in the prospect rankings that we did in the previous month. This is largely because I didn’t think the world needed two articles looking ahead to what Sandin, Robertson, and Liljegren would be doing next season, but also because at least two of those three are still far from locks on the Leafs roster.
Still the question remains, “where would they fit in?” We had you covered on that all along, and now we can tell you where they fall in the top 20 Leafs.
For Rasmus Sandin, he would have slotted in right in front of Alexander Kerfoot and occupied the 11th overall spot instead of him.
There’s no doubt that Sandin is considered a lock for the blueline this season and that he is likely to start a bit more sheltered, but be handed …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Should Nikita Gusev and/or Josh Ho-Sang make the Leafs roster?

The Leafs announced yesterday that they will be bringing former New Jersey Devil and Florida Panther Nikita Gusev on for a Professional Try-Out (PTO) this training camp. The PTO allows the Leafs to bring the player officially into their training camp, without offering them a contract for the season yet.
They also announced that Joshua Ho-Sang would be brought in on a PTO as well, much earlier in the offseason.
The question I want to answer today is: would either of those players fit onto the Leafs this year? More specifically, are they good enough to warrant being signed to a contract?
Gusev has almost 100 games in the NHL, mostly with the Devils. While being rather new to the NHL, Gusev is actually 29 years old, so he’s on the sunset end of his hockey career. Before coming to North America, he had a solid career in Russia’s KHL. Having achieved success there, he seems determined enough to make it in the NHL that he’s willing to come to Leafs training camp without a contract, rather than just go play in Russia again.
Ho-Sang is 25 and at the point where either he’s going to make a full …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Bruce Boudreau should come home to the Toronto Maple Leafs

Yesterday morning news broke that the Seattle Kraken were set to announce their first head coach in franchise history. Elliotte Friedman, along with other NHL insiders tweeted out on Twitter that one of the candidates to take the head coaching job in Seattle was Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant coach, Dave Hakstol. It was honestly shocking news to me and I’m sure it was to others as well as we never really heard his name in any rumours as a potential candidate to become a head coach again, especially in Seattle.
With Hakstol off to Seattle next season, there is now a hole on the Maple Leafs bench and they need to fill it ahead of next season. The first man that popped in my head when this news broke yesterday was the same man that was rumoured to have talked to Sheldon Keefe and Kyle Dubas to join the coaching staff for this season, Bruce Boudreau. I know I’m not the only person that would be more than willing to bring Boudreau on board and be a part of this coaching staff next season as a lot of Leaf fans have made it clear that they’ve been …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Vladdy breaks out of his slump, Nate Pearson goes back to Triple-A, Oakland relocation talk, and more!

Quite a bit happened yesterday so let’s go through all of it…

Before Tuesday’s series-opener in Atlanta, our good pal Paul wrote that Vlad Jr. was going through his first slump of the 2021 season, highlighted by a 6-for-27 showing with no homers over the team’s six-game strip through Oakland and Houston. Paul noted that opposing pitchers had started pounding Vladdy low in the zone resulting in a bunch of balls getting drilled on the ground.
On Tuesday, Vlad went 3-for-5 with a game-tying home run and another clutch game-tying single. The ball that he hit out of the park off of Bryse Wilson, who was cruising, was located in the lower half of the zone, which is a good sign that Vladdy has made the proper adjustment to break out of this cold snap.

OPLAKATA PO pic.twitter.com/dwqKbM0sZo
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 12, 2021

The Blue Jays ended up winning thanks to a three-run rally in the eighth inning, in which Teoscar Hernandez hit a rare bases-loaded infield single that drove in a run and Cavan Biggio drew a bases-loaded walk. Also key to the win was a strong start from Robbie Ray, which featured …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grading the Leafs trade deadline

Grading the Leafs trade deadline

It’s seems like only yesterday it was the trade deadline. And now that we’ve had a mountain of time to reflect back on it, and consider the performances of the players who have shuffled around the league, it’s time to grade the Leafs on the same scale that restaurants select their meat on. Fun. The question was simple, how would you grade the Leafs trade deadline?
Filipe Dimas:
B+
The team absolutely improved, there’s no question about that. Did they improve enough to vault themselves from contenders to cup favourites? Probably not, but it doesn’t seem like the opportunity to do so was there.
When the most desired trade piece was a controversial player who has scored only two goals this season, you can’t fault Dubas and the management team for not making a true blockbuster trade.
The Leafs are grittier, more experienced, and better at keeping the puck out of the net than they were two days ago, which is as much as anyone could have asked for.
While some people may be disappointed that Dubas didn’t pull a magic trick to add Taylor Hall, Jack Eichel and Mecha-Hasek from the Sabres …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Clutch shooting gives Toronto win over T-Wolves in old-school slugfest

Raptors: Clutch shooting gives Toronto win over T-Wolves in old-school slugfest

The Toronto Raptors were the talk of the NBA world yesterday, as they absolutely slammed Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Needing to take home a win against a poor Minnesota Timberwolves team, a gassed Raptors team gave them their best shot on the second night of a back-to-back. Fresh off the second night of […]
Raptors: Clutch shooting gives Toronto win over T-Wolves in old-school slugfest – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ

Leafs without Matthews tonight, and Thornton to miss a month

Yesterday it seemed like it was just going to be a maintenance day for Auston Matthews. He was a little sore when he took the ice for practice, left early, and rather than reshuffling the lines, Adam Brooks took his place between Jimmy Vesey and Mitch Marner. The fact that Marner hadn’t been shuffled onto either the Tavares or Kerfoot line kept me calm for the past twenty four hours. This morning it’s hitting a bit different…

Sheldon Keefe confirms Auston Matthews it OUT tonight for #Leafs vs. Oilers. Upper body soreness. Day-to-day.
Joe Thornton has a rib fracture, will miss at least a month.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 22, 2021

Now in a 56 game season there will be injuries, and rather than Matthews playing and aggravating what’s causing the soreness, taking a game or two to recover doesn’t seem like the end of the world. It would be nice to see an honest matchup between McDavid and Matthews after the boring outing on Wednesday night, but luckily we’ll get seven more opportunities this year.
It will be interesting to see what the Leafs new lines look like tonight, but my guess is we see Marner …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

All-Canadian Preview: The Montreal Canadiens are a wild-card

The Canadian Division is a sandwich.

As I said yesterday, it’s a clear bet that the Ottawa Senators wind up at the bottom of the group, and I also think it’s reasonable to assume that the Toronto Maple Leafs are the team to beat. Between them, though? That’s anyone’s guess.
The biggest wild-card of those middle five teams is the Montreal Canadiens.
What happened last season…
31-31-9 (71 points), 5th in Atlantic Division 
Goals For: 212 (18th of 31), Goals Against: 221 (23rd of 31)
10-3-2 vs Canadian opponents
2-0-0 vs CGY, 0-2-0 vs EDM, 3-0-1 vs OTT, 3-0-0 vs TOR, 1-0-1 vs VAN, 1-1-0 vs WPG
The Habs were the definition of mediocre last season.
They posted a 31-31-9 record, finished in the middle of the pack in terms of goals scored, and finished in the bottom third of the league in goals against. They had a bunch of good-not-great players produce at a good-not-great level and their star, Carey Price, wasn’t the elite goaltender they needed him to be in the regular season.
Despite being nowhere near a playoff spot when the league got paused due to COVID-19 in …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

Taking a look at who will make the Leafs

Taking a look at who will make the Leafs

The Leafs training camp official opened yesterday, and we now know the 40 players in attendance.

The 2021 squad pic.twitter.com/wUafNd8Nke
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) January 3, 2021

Today is the first day the Leafs hit the ice, and while there are some interesting camp battles and roster spots up for grab. The fact that the Leafs will have a taxi squad in addition to their core roster means that most of these players will be sticking with the Leafs for the season. Given that the Leafs can have six players on the taxi squad, we’ll assume they will. And given that the Leafs can afford to have can either a 21 or 22 player roster (most likely 21), we’ll assume that as well and 27 of these 40 players won’t be heading to the Marlies.
Here’s the situation by position.
Forwards (23 invites)
Locks: Matthews, Tavares, Marner, Nylander, Hyman, Kerfoot, Thornton, Simmonds, Mikheyev, Spezza
The locks are essentially the core forwards mixed in with the veterans who took steep discounts in order to play for the Leafs that it would be cruel to leave out in the cold. Mikheyev and Kerfoot are decidedly NHL players even if they don’t 100% fit the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Charlie Montoyo is probably the Blue Jays’ best bet to win a major award this year

The Gold Glove finalists were released yesterday so it’s time to start thinking about Awards Season.

Lourdes Gurriel was the only Blue Jay nominated for a Gold Glove, which isn’t particularly surprising given the fact that the team wasn’t exactly, ya know, good on the defensive side of the game.
As I mentioned yesterday, Gurriel is a bit of a headscratcher for a Gold Glove but so are many, many other selections. Managers had to vote on the top fielders in their respective leagues even though they didn’t get to see two-thirds of the teams this season. As a result, a player like Gurriel who makes highlight-reel grabs and guns guys out at home will warrant attention.
Will Gurriel win the Gold Glove? Probably not. Kyle Tucker has the best defensive metrics of the three while Alex Gordon is the nice, easy, lazy choice because he’s already won seven times. I imagine a few managers just said fuck it and made Gordon their pick because of his history.
Anyways, are there any other Blue Jays who could take home a major award this season? For major awards, I’m talking Most Valuable Player, Rookie of …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation