TLN Prospect Rankings: Where did we get it wrong?

We’re heading into the home stretch of our countdown of the top Leafs prospects, and as we near the end, it’s time to reflect on some of those we might have gotten wrong. Maybe we loved them too much or maybe not enough. Either way, some of our voters and some of our non-voters weigh-in on the TLN rankings.
Dylan Murphy:
Maybe it’s just recency bias seeing him at the World Juniors, but Roni Hirvonen looks ready to make the jump to North America, perhaps even ready to make his NHL debut in a depth role. I’ll admit to not seeing him play all that often, but from what I have seen, he’s a creative playmaker with a nose for the net. The Leafs are weak at the LW position, but between Robertson, Knies, and Hirvonen, the team’s future (at that position) is in good hands.
Ryan Hobart:
I’m continually surprised by how little recognition Axel Rindell gets from prospects people. He didn’t get into our top 20 prospects this year or last. While being an older prospect at 22 years old, his expected move to the Marlies this season could prove an excellent launching pad to the Leafs. If he can take over the Marlies’ powerplay as a quarterbac …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Pre-Series Notes: New Blue Jays make home debuts, Canadian Cal Quantrill returns to face his childhood team

Coming off two days rest and riding a two game losing streak into tonight, it feels like the Blue Jays haven’t won a game in forever. That said, they still hold the top spot in the American League wild card race with a record of 60-50.
Meanwhile the Guardians have won five in a row to take the lead in the AL Central. The tightest division race in the Majors, the Central still has three teams battling for the division crown. The Minnesota Twins trail the Guardians by just 1.5 games and the Chicago White Sox are 3.5 back.
The Jays will be looking for revenge after losing two of three in Cleveland back in May.
Things Worth Mentioning…
A pair of Blue Jays will be making their home debut tonight.

Whit Merrifield (2B) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF) will make their #BlueJays home debut starting tonight. pic.twitter.com/NVdbg7HgdB
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) August 12, 2022

George Springer is still on IL so Bradley Jr. will start in center and Merrifield will make his first start at second for the Jays. One of the best defensive CF’s of the last decade Bradley Jr. provides plus defence and speed with a below average bat. He did however hit two home runs in his last series against the Blue Jays while he was with the Red Sox. In 92 games this year he is slashing .210/.257/.321 with three home runs.
One of the favourites for the AL Rookie of the Year, Steven Kwan is on a tear recently.

.@CleGuardians OF Steven Kwan has now hit safely in 26 of the last 29 games
Tale of the tape:
.358 (42 hits) 9 doubles 1 triple 2 HR 8 RBI 12 multi-hit games; 5 three-hit games pic.twitter.com/wJJZW94DEx
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) August 11, 2022

In his debut season, Kwan it batting .300 …

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Author: Scott Ony / Blue Jays Nation

B/R’s Raptors-Donovan Mitchell trade is a win-win for both sides

B/R’s Raptors-Donovan Mitchell trade is a win-win for both sides

The Toronto Raptors have been making their desire to acquire Kevin Durant well and truly known over the last few months, but they also need to keep one eye firmly fixed on Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. A deterioration of relations could mean yet another seismic trade. Mitchell will likely have a less dramatic return […]
B/R’s Raptors-Donovan Mitchell trade is a win-win for both sides – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Prospect #6: Alex Steeves’ next step is a spot in the Maple Leafs lineup

Alex Steeves only wanted to do one thing when he entered the Maple Leafs organization last year, and that was dominate.
It was like the 22-year-old was shot out of a cannon when he made his professional hockey debut with the Marlies. He was coming off an injury in the prospect tournament a month earlier, but you couldn’t even tell with the way he was playing.
Through his first 13 games, Steeves scored 14 points — a sign that he was someone that not many could handle at that moment.
Alex Steeves
LW/RW | Toronto (AHL) | Age: 22 | 5-foot-11 | 185 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: UDFA Signing, 03/28/21 | 2021 Ranking: N/A
The 22-year-old eventually dropped down to earth, finishing off his first pro season with 46 points in 58 games. A great total at that but what was more spectacular was the fact that he tied the old Marlies rookie goal record of 23 goals.
Another rookie in Bobby McMann scored one more goal and etched his name in the record books, but Steeves’ total shouldn’t be understated either.
When looking at him as a prospect, there’s a lot of excitement around the player he could pan out to be. By this time next year, the 22-year-old might not even be recognized as a prospect anymore.
Similar to Pontus Holmberg, Nick Robertson, and B …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 102: The rain saves the Blue Jays from a possible sweep in Baltimore

So much for all of those easy wins against the Trash Birds!

The Blue Jays rolled into Baltimore this week and dropped two games to the Orioles. The first was the result of a poor Yusei Kikuchi start and then the second one was the rest of a late-game bullpen meltdown. The sweep was avoided as the skies opened up and the third game was postponed due to rain.
In this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about the surprisingly good Orioles, Blue Jay Murder Ryan Mountcastle, potentially going with a six-man rotation once Ross Stripling is back from injury, and a whole bunch more!
You can listen to the episode here…
POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How Bill Russell became first retired number in Raptors history

How Bill Russell became first retired number in Raptors history

The Toronto Raptors franchise, like the rest of the NBA world, was dealt a crushing blow this August. Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who is without question a Top 10 player in NBA history and an outspoken civil rights activist, passed away at the age of 88. Russell’s achievements include 11 championship rings, five MVP […]
How Bill Russell became first retired number in Raptors history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Prospect #7: Pontus Holmberg is ready to take next step in professional hockey

Joining the Maple Leafs organization back in April, Pontus Holmberg was ready to start his transition to professional hockey.
The 23-year-old has had an incredible run throughout the last two seasons — from winning the SHL championship and becoming the playoff MVP to playing in the Olympics for Team Sweden. Holmberg always knew this was going to be a massive year and he’s been able to show what he’s got.
Being a sixth-round draft selection by Toronto in 2018, there was some mystery as to what Holmberg could turn out to be. However, I think now is the time to say that he’s an incredibly underrated pick by the Maple Leafs organization.
Pontus Holmberg
C | Växjö Lakers HC (SHL) & Toronto (AHL) | Age: 23 | 5-foot-11 | 179 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2018 Draft, 156th Overall | 2021 Ranking: #17
This upcoming season for Holmberg is arguably going to be the biggest year of his hockey career.
With the Maple Leafs so incredibly tight to the cap ceiling, they’re going to try to squeeze all of the assets they can. One part of that means using players with low cap hits further down the lineup who could provide some upside.
Holmberg might just be one of them.
“At the end of the year with the Marlies, [Pontus] …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays Nation 2022 Mid-Season Prospect Countdown: The Players Who Just Missed The Top 60 List

It’s that time of year when prospects sites are updating their rankings, and BJN is no different!

At the beginning of the season, we released 20 articles featuring 20 players, as well as a two “ones to watch”.
For the mid-season update, we’ll be doing a top 60 in six articles. Not just that, but this article will be focusing on the players that just missed out for various reasons, such as age relative to the league they play in, or they’re underperforming.
At the end of the day, these articles are to inform you of players that you may not have known about in the Blue Jays system. There won’t be any 2022 draftees on the “ones that missed” out list, but you can read about them here. 
Unlike the preseason articles, I’ll also be giving my own scouting report on players if they’re in High A, Double A or Triple A. For A ball and the two rookie league teams, we’ll be relying on statistics from the 2022 season.
Zac Cook:
Zac Cook is a 24-year-old outfielder currently with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He signed with the Blue Jays as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and has risen to be Toronto’s 31st best prospect according to Fangraphs.
Cook’s 2022 stats:
This season, the 24-year-old is slashing .189/.315/.378 in 299 plate appearances. The outfielder has one of the highest home run totals in the Blue Jays organization at 13.

@cookie4822 with ANOTHER homer.@Fishercats are making it close, as the next batter hit a double.#NextLevel #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/clPxlGrgUU
— Brennan …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Latest Kevin Durant update could favor Raptors in trade talks

Latest Kevin Durant update could favor Raptors in trade talks

At this point, it’s fairly obvious the Toronto Raptors aren’t going to be upping their reported trade offer to the Brooklyn Nets for superstar Kevin Durant. BK is losing leverage by the day as long as KD controls the narrative with the media. In recent weeks, the discourse hasn’t been encouraging for the Raptors in […]
Latest Kevin Durant update could favor Raptors in trade talks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Carannante / Raptors HQ

TLN Prospect #8: Nick Abruzzese set to prove the doubters wrong yet again

As was the case for many players, Nick Abruzzese entered the 2021-22 season with major question marks having missed an entire year of hockey. Unlike most who had been able to at least use the time away from the rink to work on other aspects of their game, Abruzzese spent his rehabbing.
Even if Harvard had played their 2020-21 season, he wasn’t going to have been a part of it for very long. Abruzzese underwent hip surgery in the summer of 2020 to repair a nagging injury, an operation that would’ve sidelined him for a vast majority of the 2020-21 season.
Coming back from over a year away from game action and a significant surgery, it was fair to have reservations over what Nick Abruzzese would be able to produce. But just as he has done time and time again in his career, he proved the doubters wrong.
Nick Abruzzese
LW | Harvard (ECAC) | Age: 23 | 5-foot-10 | 174 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2019 Draft, 124th Overall | 2021 Ranking: #8
At every level Nick Abruzzese has played, he’s faced the same doubts over and over. Concerns over his lack of size and average at best skating are perfectly valid. They remain true and are going to be the biggest hurdles for him to overcome if he is to …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation