If Blue Jays trade Alejandro Kirk, targeting experinced catcher may prove beneficial

Amid another crucial off-season, the Toronto Blue Jays remain extremely deep at the catcher position and whenever this current lockout concludes, the front office could utilize some of that capital to address other glaring needs.
As currently constructed, four catchers (Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, Alejandro Kirk, Gabriel Moreno) are featured on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster. Since Moreno is projected to be a future star, it’ll be very important to make sure he’s provided with a clear path to the majors.
But as of now, that doesn’t quite exist inside this organization. In an effort to prevent any logjam from being created, management will likely need to subtract at least one – if not more – of Jansen, McGuire or Kirk in the near future.
Before the transaction freeze commenced, there was plenty of speculation about Toronto utilizing Kirk as a trade chip to acquire either starting pitching or an all-star infielder. Initially, it was believed that the Miami Marlins could serve as a solid trading partner, however, they ended up landing Jacob Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates – putting an end to any possible trade discussions.
While the Marlins are no longer in the market for a catcher, there are still a handful of teams that could meet that descri …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

‘We’re proud of him here’, Maple Leafs react to Ho-Sang’s Olympics nod

With NHLers not permitted to participate at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing next month, the door has been blown open for players who would otherwise not get the chance to participate.
Among those is Josh Ho-Sang. The Toronto Marlies forwards was one of several names on the list when Hockey Canada made their official announcement on Tuesday.
“We’re proud of him here,” Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza said of Ho-Sang’s Olympic nod. “He’s a guy that’s worked really hard to change the narrative around his game.”

Meet Team Canada!
25 men have been selected to represent at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
ROSTER https://t.co/d8OVCa3Ceh@TeamCanada | #Beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/pcIv42Qkf6
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 25, 2022

Ho-Sang initially joined the Toronto Maple Leafs days before training camp opened in September on a professional tryout contract, but had been working out at the team’s practice facility since July.
After impressing at camp both with how he conducted himself on and off the ice, Ho-Sang signed an AHL-only deal with the Toronto Marlies. The nature of his contract allowed the Thornhill, Ontario native to be eligible for Team Canada’s roster.
“He put himself in some uncomfortable positions in the summer where he had to work different and harder than he has in the past and did great,” Spezza said of Ho-Sang. “[He] came here with a great attitude and when you do that you win people over.”
Ho-Sang spent the previous season in the Swedish Hockey League where he was limited to just nine games through two different clubs. Since coming back to the North American ice surface, Ho-Sang has 11 goals and 20 points in 27 games with the Marlies this season and has received nothing but rave reviews during his time with the club.
“He’s worked to get better and reestablish himself here in North America and he’s done a good job of that and recognition of the Olympics is obviously a very good thing,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said of Ho-Sang. “And I think all of this is through the work that he has put in, combined with, of cours …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Josh Ho-Sang officially named to Team Canada’s Men’s Olympic team

It’s officially official, Josh Ho-Sang is going to the Olympics with Team Canada.

Meet Team Canada!
25 men have been selected to represent at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
ROSTER https://t.co/d8OVCa3Ceh@TeamCanada | #Beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/pcIv42Qkf6
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) January 25, 2022

It was pretty official after Monday’s accidental rollout of Canada’s roster by the IIHF. But now, it’s there for everyone’s eyes to see.
Ho-Sang has had a stellar season with the Toronto Marlies so far, tallying 20 points in 27 games this season. For most of the season so far, the 26-year-old has been a part of the Marlies top-six.
As of right now, the 26-year-old is currently dealing with a concussion that hopefully subsides before he leaves for Beijing.
Ho-Sang’s ability to drive play up the ice while also being a threat in the offensive zone is one of the reasons why he was selected. He’s incredibly skilled and loves to play on the big stage, which he’ll get the chance to do at the Olympics with Team Canada.
“I definitely think the fans motivate me,” said Ho-Sang earlier this season. “I’m a big believer in ‘the bigger the crowd, the better I play.’”
Last week, the IOC announced that ” tickets should not be sold anymore but be part of an adapted programme that will invite groups of spectators to be present on site during the Games.” It’s not known whether this means other Canadian Olympians will be able to attend, but you can still expect some fans in the arena.
The reason I bring this to attention is because Ho-Sang loves playing in front of a crowd. He believes his play is much better in front of fans. Although there’s not going to be many fans, Ho-Sang is playing for Team Canada at the Olympics, and that alone will drive him to be the best player possible.
The 26-year-old has only represented his country once in his career at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. And while he’s had a fascinating relationship with Hockey Canada in the past, this moment will be great for both sides.
This will be an exciting opportunity for him.
Although it’s not a best-on-best, Ho-Sang will be able to highlight his skills on the world stage. Which, in turn, could help him get an NHL contract with the Maple Le …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Colin Miller asking price, Scott Mayfield as a target, and can the Leafs find room for John Klingberg?

As the midway point of the NHL season approaches, so too does the build-up of trade rumblings as we inch closer to the March 21st deadline day. The talk in Leafs Nation has been on the need to bolster up the defensive unit, and we will take a look at three names that have been connected to the team and see if a move is feasible.
Colin Miller has been a dream target for fans over the past few years, and it looks like he will indeed be up for grabs. According to Pierre LeBrun, it turns out that the asking price is going to be a hefty one.

“The Sabres, I’m told, are hoping to land a first-round pick for Colin Miller.” @PierreVLeBrun on the defense trade market. https://t.co/whmhYZh4CE
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) January 17, 2022

Aside from the fact that he is a right-shot defenceman, this might be a reach if the Sabres think they will be able to net a first-round pick for Miller.
His point totals have not lit the league on fire (12 points in 32 games played) and his underlying metrics have been mediocre since getting traded to Buffalo in June 2019. More concerning is that Miller has run into injury trouble over the past few weeks dating back to December 28th. Last Thursday, the Sabres announced he would be out week-to-week after getting surgery done on an undisclosed ailment and will miss at least six weeks of action. It remains to be seen when exactly he will come back and how he will fare once he returns in early March.
The amount of uncertainty Miller for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign should be enough of a deterrent that it w …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 25

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 25

The Toronto Raptors remain one of the most difficult teams in the league to figure out. Just a few days after Scottie Barnes dominated the Wizards and helped Toronto pick up a road win, they fell behind by as many as 34 points in a loss to the Trail Blazers. The latest Raptors odds are […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 25 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Five Pressing Leafs Topics: January Edition

I’ll be starting the new year with a monthly article showcasing some of the most pressing Leafs topics and concerns! So far this month, the Leafs are 5-2-1 and sit comfortably in a playoff spot. Of course, the expectations are higher than that, in an Atlantic division filled with elite teams – the margin for error is extremely thin. Without wasting any more time, let’s get right into it.
Here are the topics that will be covered:
The Forgotten Fourth Line
Do the Leafs have a problem defending leads?
Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl
Timothy Liljegren: Trade piece or part of the core? 
Analyzing the new balanced lines from practice
The Forgotten Fourth Line 
One of the biggest differences between this version of the Leafs and last year has been their fourth line. Last season it provided Toronto with a ton of scoring in limited sheltered minutes. Jason Spezza, the staple of the line, finished the season with 24 points at 5v5 while averaging just over eight minutes at 5v5 minutes per game. Alex Ovechkin, Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, and Tyler Toffoli also each finished with 24 points at 5v5 despite playing over 200 more minutes at night than Spezza. This year Spezza has only five points at 5v5 in 34 games. The contrast between Spezza’s production in the past two seasons is seen below:
Season
GP
TOI/GP
Goals/60
Total Assists/60
Total Points/60
Shots/60
S%
iCF/60
On-Ice SH%
2020/2021
54
8.58
1.04
2.07*
3.11 *

7.77
13.33
13.47
10.76
2021/2022
34
9.36


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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

This Maple Leafs team is built different

The term ‘built different’ is one I don’t particularly like to use personally. The origins of the saying are unclear, but it has gained traction in recent years as a meme used to describe how someone is uniquely different. And it is most often overused by people who frequent the gym or create TikToks, sometimes both.
One story that has been bubbling under the surface of this Leafs season is becoming clear: this Toronto Maple Leafs team is built different from those we’ve seen in years past.
Recent slide and disturbing trend of blowing leads aside, the Leafs have been playing at a near-historic pace this entire season. They have found ways to win games despite missing many key players at various points of the year. More so than in any season in this current era of Leafs hockey, the team appears to have 100% bought in to the vision of management and coaching. There are no spare parts on this team taking up space, even players that have been highly criticized in past seasons like Pierre Engvall and Ilya Mikheyev have adapted and become key contributors.
Beyond strict on-ice performance, the attitudes of the players on the team have clearly shifted. The first time I really noticed t …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

PODCAST- TLN Radio: Islanders fans are still salty over John Tavares

Episode 20 of TLN Radio is available now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube!
This week, Caroline Szwed is joined by Nick Barden, Scott Maxwell, and Michael Mazzei to discuss the Islanders still being mad at John Tavares, our favourite Leafs performer last week, Petr Mrazek doing his job, Pierre Engvall, Timothy Liljegren and more!
2:30 — Josh Ho-Sang to the Olympics?
4:10 — Islanders fans and John Tavares
12:30 — Mrazek’s play vs. the Islanders
18:00 — Best Maple Leafs player last week
23:30 — Engvall’s best NHL season so far
29:00 — Liljegren’s adjustment to the NHL
35:45 — Songs of the week
Join the conversation and let us know what you think of the podcast by leaving a comment or sending us a tweet! Make sure you also follow the show on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to The Nation Network on YouTube for new episodes every Monday evening!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

76ers’ evaluation of Raptors star Pascal Siakam is laughable

76ers’ evaluation of Raptors star Pascal Siakam is laughable

The Toronto Raptors have constantly resisted attempts to trade away Pascal Siakam in exchange for a collection of role players. They view him as a quality asset that is a treasured member of their long-term core. Parting with him at this moment in time would be foolish. That hasn’t stopped teams like the Philadelphia 76ers […]
76ers’ evaluation of Raptors star Pascal Siakam is laughable – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

IIHF accidently tweets out Canadian Olympic roster, and it looks like Josh Ho-Sang is going to Beijing

IIHF accidently tweets out Canadian Olympic roster, and it looks like Josh Ho-Sang is going to Beijing

I truly feel bad for the IIHF social media person. Scheduled tweets are also the bane of my existence and I’m only dealing with converting mountain time into eastern time.
Nevertheless, I will share their blunder because it provides us with information we were curious about…

Mistimed IIHF Tweet leads to Canada’s men’s Olympic roster being revealed a day early pic.twitter.com/W5q0EocAp1
— Sean Leahy (@Sean_Leahy) January 24, 2022

While it’s not Hockey Canada announcement official, it’s IIHF accidental tweet official, and Josh Ho-Sang appears to be representing Canada in Beijing.
Now, we’ve been through the whole mistaken announcement thing before. The Kerfoot to Seattle fish market video seemed like the real deal, but presented with some accidental information for a second time, yeah we’re going to bite again and send out an early congratulations to Josh who has certainly worked his ass off to get there.
Josh Ho-Sang previously had a tough go of things with Hockey Canada, being left of the Canadian World Junior team, but what we’ve seen from Ho-Sang this year is a player who has put in a tireless effort to rehabilitate an image that he probably didn’t need to rehabilitate in the first place, but he shown his willingness to adapt and he is being rewarded for that work.
Ho-Sang has 20 points in 27 games for the Marlies this season, and has been a regular part of the team’s top six forward group. It’s entirely possible that following his Olympic appearance that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation