Report from the Rock: Growlers Training Camp Opens

For the first time since March of 2020, the Newfoundland Growlers now officially have a roster of players.
The team has announced the initial training camp roster for the 2021-22 season and in addition to the seven players signed to ECHL deals last month the roster includes 11 AHL-contracted players from the Toronto Marlies (two of whom being St. John’s locals Zach O’Brien and Marcus Power), two players loaned to the team from the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, a local player (Kyle McGrath) on a Professional Try-Out, and newly un-retired Captain James Melindy.

#GouldsRulezhttps://t.co/P55Qu5ml4t
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) October 1, 2021

Aside from O’Brien and Power, notable players assigned to the Growlers from Toronto are goaltender Keith Petruzzelli, who will likely become the team’s starter in light of the unfortunate injury to Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott during NHL preseason, winger Jeremy McKenna, who TLN’s Nick Barden says has genuine NHL-upside and could become the Growlers’ leading scorer if he continues to make positive strides.
The third player of note is Noel Hoefenmayer, a 22-year old left-shot defenceman who played in 18 games for the Marlies last season and is projected to …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #3 Rodion Amirov

On August 25th, 2020, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent Kasperi Kapanen, Pontus Aberg, and Jesper Lindgren to the Penguins for three players, and the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Those players have all come and gone, but with that pick the Leafs selected LW Rodion Amirov. It’s the highest Toronto has drafted since selecting Auston Matthews 1st overall in 2016, a pick they couldn’t afford to miss on.
So far, it’s been a hit. After being drafted Amirov would finish out the 20-21 KHL season with 13 points in 39 games, more than any other player in their true draft+1 that year. He also led Russia in points at the World Juniors, wearing the “A” on his chest. When playing against his age group, Amirov just exudes excellence with the puck on his stick. Even at the pro level, he plays as if he is entitled to possessing the puck before his opponent.
Position: LW
Age: 19
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 168 Lbs
Drafted: 2020 1st Round, 15th Overall
2020-21 Team: Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: 3rd
I wrote two articles ahead of that draft mentioning Amirov, first about the handful of 20-21 KHL games he played before the draft:
We …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #5 Topi Niemelä

Back in October 2020, the Maple Leafs traded back from pick 44 to acquire two picks on the virtual draft floor of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The first of those picks, selection number 59, was used on Finnish centreman Roni Hirvonen, who has grown into an intriguing prospect in his own right for the Maple Leafs. The other prospect the Maple Leafs parlayed that 44th pick into, pick 64, ultimately turned into arguably the best defensive prospect in the entire Maple Leafs’ system in Topi Niemela.
Niemela burst onto the scene for Maple Leafs fans with his 2021 World Junior Championship tournament performance, a spectacle that culminated with him winning the tournament’s Best Defenceman honours. In the months that followed, however, as fans turned their attention away from the youngster and towards the NHL club, Niemela continued to grow his game, and now finds himself as a huge part of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ future plans.
Position: Right Defence
Age: 19
Height: 5’11
Weight: 165 lbs
Drafted: 64th Overall, 2019 NHL Draft by The Toronto Maple Leafs
2020-21 Teams: Oulun Kärpät, Liiga (15 GP)
2020 Prospect Ranking: #9
 
Overview
Niemela’s past 10 months as a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect have been practically nothing but upward momentum. Even as the …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

Meet the Sellers: Minnesota Twins

After a successful 2020 shortened season, it is surprising to see the Minnesota Twins in a seller’s article in 2021. The Twins went 36-24 in 2020, finishing atop the AL Central. In 2021, the team has done a complete 180 and have found themselves near the bottom of the division. They are 12.5 games back of the leading White Sox, struggling with a record of 33-44.

The Twins could have some higher-end players available for trade at this deadline, including their ace. They also have a couple of bullpen arms potentially on the market. Despite the recent deal for Adam Cimber, I think the bullpen could still be addressed. You can never have too many reliable late-inning arms or starting pitchers. The Twins could also have some valuable bats on the market, specifically Nelson Cruz, but I do not see a fit for any of the bats the Twins could trade. 
According to MLB.com, the Minnesota Twins still have the 12th best farm system in baseball and getting more impact prospects will improve an already young nucleus that includes Byron Buxton and Alex Kirilloff, just to name a couple.
Here are some players that fill the Blue Jays’ needs…
Tyler Duffey
The first reliever …

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Author: Eric Lightfoot / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Chris Boucher must emerge as a star after Pascal Siakam surgery

Raptors: Chris Boucher must emerge as a star after Pascal Siakam surgery

The Toronto Raptors might’ve taken it on the chin in 2020 due to some historic bad luck, but they were banking on the likes of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Chris Boucher turning things around in 2021 as they return to their Canadian digs in the hope of competing in what is a very competitive […]
Raptors: Chris Boucher must emerge as a star after Pascal Siakam surgery – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh elected to Hall of Fame in 2021 class

Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh elected to Hall of Fame in 2021 class

After the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Class finally was inducted into Springfield, the Hall wasted no time deciding on the 2021 inductees. Up for election in this cycle was Toronto Raptors legend Chris Bosh, who became eligible after his abrupt retirement with the Miami Heat.  Selected fourth overall by the Raptors in the competitive […]
Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh elected to Hall of Fame in 2021 class – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Nation Network World Under-18’s Round Robin Recap

What a tournament we’ve had! After the 2020 U18’s in Plymouth, Michigan was canceled, the hockey world found a way to get the 2021 event off the ground despite the global pandemic continuing to present issues. The biggest factor in getting the annual U18 tournament going was the fact that they had the foresight to move the event from Michigan to the state of Texas, where rules are, let’s say, more relaxed surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. So Frisco and Plano, here we come! 
Now that we’ve taken care of the logistics of the event before we dive into the recap we should take a look at why the tournament was so adamantly put on. The IIHF World Under-18 Championship is one of, if not, the premier events for NHL scouts to see draft-eligible talent in a best-on-best competition against their own age group. It is an equalizer of sorts as players in Europe are often playing in men’s leagues such as the SHL and Liiga while most North American players play in junior leagues such as the CHL or USHL. 
With so much uncertainty shrouding this year, the event was even more important as it is the …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation

ESPN’s blockbuster Raptors-76ers-Cavaliers trade around Kyle Lowry is too good to be true

ESPN’s blockbuster Raptors-76ers-Cavaliers trade around Kyle Lowry is too good to be true

The Toronto Raptors are in the hunt for a few upgrades at the 2020 trade deadline, but they could potentially trade away Kyle Lowry in order to accomplish that goal. While the return they could get for Lowry has been the subject of some debate, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps seems to think that the Philadelphia 76ers […]
ESPN’s blockbuster Raptors-76ers-Cavaliers trade around Kyle Lowry is too good to be true – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

100% correct Leafs predictions for the New Year

So long 2020. You sucked. Kinda on a global scale, but of course from a Leafs standpoint too. Whether it was losing to Columbus in the play-in round, when Toronto was the host city or losing to an emergency backup goaltender who is on your own payroll, the Leafs managed to remind us that this franchise has a unique history in the NHL and some things seemingly can only happen to the Leafs.
Fast forward to 2021 and I think there’s some renewed optimism of most of The Leafs Nation contributors and despite what history has shown us, there is a feeling that 2021 could be a really special year, but this time special in a good way. Though, really whatever happens on the ice I think I can deal with it as long as someone pumps me full of COVID vaccine and I can sit around around an airport Chili’s pounding cold ones on a flight to some place warm again without the fear of feeling like Patrick Dempsey in Outbreak.
We’ll start by wishing you all a happy and healthy 2021, and now onto the Leafs predictions…
Brendan Mori
Auston Matthews scores 40 in 56 (is this bold enough?)
Matthews was …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors loss against the Pelicans

Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors loss against the Pelicans

The struggles from 2020 carry on for the Toronto Raptors, as they suffer another loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Toronto Raptors are unable to win back-to-back games as they drop to 1-4 on the season after losing to the New Orleans Pelicans. Another slow second half derailed the Raptors from pulling away and […]
Key takeaways from the Toronto Raptors loss against the Pelicans – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Nickeem Khan / Raptors HQ