More like Zach Byeman, as Hyman is heading to Edmonton

More like Zach Byeman, as Hyman is heading to Edmonton

As a Leafs fan based in Edmonton, I’m excited about my potential new neighbour. Maybe Zach and I can go for donairs or check out an Elks game. Who knows.
Anyway, if you haven’t guessed by now, Hyman is almost certainly Edmonton bound, and likely to spend the next few years reaping the benefits of being Connor McDavid’s LW.

Further to Friedge’s report: Word is that an eight-year contract for Hyman with the #oilers would come in a shade under the $5.125M AAV on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ recent deal.
A seven-year contract for Hyman would be closer to $5.5M AAV. https://t.co/LozsslxyOF
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 22, 2021

So that’s looking pretty absolute and while that could play out next week, there’s also a chance that it could play out today if the Oilers are willing to make a deal with the Leafs to activate the 8 year option rather than paying the higher cap hit for the shorter term.
There is definite value in bringing down the cap hit by $375k a year, and there’s a definite benefit in not giving someone another week to rethink moving to Edmonton.

A lot of talk about what …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What if the Leafs had let Justin Holl be taken by the Kraken?

Many fans, including myself, are remorseful about the apparent loss of newly acquired Jared McCann to the Seattle Kraken in their expansion draft. The draft will be finalized tonight, but Nation Network’s own Frank Seravalli has all but cemented the loss:

His stay was short-lived in Toronto. The #SeaKraken will be selecting Jared McCann from the #Leafs.
The end result: Toronto traded prospect Filip Hallander and a 7th round pick to Pittsburgh to essentially protect their roster from Seattle.@DFOHockey
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2021

As frustrating as it is to see a talented player who fits the Leafs’ needs be stolen away in the night, the alternative would have been to partially de-construct a carefully-built top-4 defense corps by losing Justin Holl. While Holl is on the fringes of what we’d normally call a top-4 defender in the NHL, getting someone capable of playing that role, especially for such a reasonable contract, would be a difficult exercise in player management.
It’s exactly that exercise that I’m going to task myself with today. This is under the assumption that in this alternate universe, the Leafs left Justin Holl exposed in the expansion draft and he was …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Top to Bottom: Thoughts on all of the Blue Jays pitchers at the All-Star break

I talked earlier this week about the 18 position players who have played for the Blue Jays this season, and, next up, we have the 31 (!!!) guys who have pitched for the team thus far.

The fact that the Blue Jays have used so many different pitchers perfectly sums up what the experience has been for the team in the first half of the season. The pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and the Blue Jays have had to dig deep to find guys to log innings and many of them have been ineffective, hence why Toronto ranks below average in the American League in terms of both starter and bullpen ERA.
Let’s talk about all 31 of these pitchers, how they’ve done, and what we can expect from them in the second half.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY SportsRobbie Ray (1.5 WAR)
I think a lot of people expected Robbie Ray to bounce back from the nightmarish season he had with Arizona in 2020 given his solid results after being traded to the Blue Jays, but I doubt that many predicted he would be the team’s ace coming out of the All-Star break. But here we are.
Ray has been excellent this …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Trade Bait Debate: “Should The Leafs Be Interested?” Edition

The NHL offseason is about to hit turbo mode with the expansion draft, entry draft, and unrestricted free agency all set to occur before the end of July. For the Maple Leafs, after yet another disappointing and premature playoff exit, change is on the horizon. Not only do the Leafs have a couple of long-term Leafs in Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen set to hit free agency on July 28th, but team management have to decide whether this team’s core as it is presently constructed is worth another roll of the dice, or if a bold shake-up has to occur.
Fan dissatisfaction is at an all-time high in the Auston Matthews Era, and just tinkering around the edges may not be well received by large factions of fans. The Leafs have around $9.4M to play around with this offseason according to PuckPedia, notwithstanding the loss of Alexander Kerfoot (+$3.5M), Justin Holl ($2.0M), Travis Dermott ($1.5M), or Other Player (~$0.8M) to Seattle in the expansion draft. There’s cap space here to work with, and the Leafs could use an injection of new blood to hopefully counteract the stench left behind by their disastrous collapse to Montreal in this year’ …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Big Leaguers Wanted

It’s our right as fans to become sentimental about the teams we cheer for.

Rowdy Tellez is, by all accounts, a person to become sentimental about.
We all know his story — losing his mother to cancer only weeks before his big league debut. There might not have been a dry eye in the fanbase, watching his father celebrate his major league firsts. Through that, we developed a bond with Rowdy the person as much as Rowdy the player. That’s fine. There is nothing wrong with that.

Rowdy, the player, earned favour with the fans with a path through the minors of promising power potential and some mammoth home runs when he arrived on the scene in Toronto. Over the course of his 219 game tenure in Toronto, he had several extended periods where he appeared as though he might have turned the corner and become a serviceable left-handed power threat in the Blue Jays lineup, but each time, an even longer streak of poor discipline and ugly plate appearances was sure to follow.
The legacy Rowdy leaves behind in Toronto is one of a replacement-level offensive player with below-average defence. But that doesn’t mean that’s all he’ …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs stay committed to being tougher by bringing back Simmonds

It’s generally pretty hard to get upset about depth signings like this, but I’m sure many of you will try.
Yesterday in 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman alluded to what we know see as official today, and that’s the Leafs have re-signed Wayne Simmonds.

The Wayne Train is back!
Wayne Simmonds has signed a two-year contract extension. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 29, 2021

The annual cap hit of $900k is significantly less than what Simmonds cost last season, and I think we can take this as an acknowledgment by both the player and the organization that Wayne is not the top nine player he was, but still has value as a fourth line physical presence and a necessary character guy on a team that seems to be lacking in that department from time to time.
It seems like the two year deal has a couple of benefits to it, the first is it may act as a deterrent for the Seattle Kraken from taking Simmonds in the expansion draft, although I don’t think there was any real danger of him being selected, and secondly it is a commitment to the player that they truly want Wayne to be …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Let’s talk about Reese McGuire

So how about Reese McGuire? Before the season, he was designated for assignment and taken off the 40-man roster as the Blue Jays wanted to move forward with a Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk tandem. Unfortunately, Kirk got injured just over a month into the season meaning that Reese had a second chance with the team.

As he was out of options, he was placed on waivers. No one took him due to a terrible 2020 season and an off-field incident. Speaking of which, there will be no jokes in this blog, if you want to know my thoughts, read my pinned tweet.
The Jays rolled with Jansen and Reese for about two months before Jansen injured himself on the basepath in early June. 
In this blog, I will be discussing why Reese has hit so well, whether or not he can maintain it, his defensive abilities, and what they’ll do once Kirk and Jansen return.
Reese’s stats…
After platooning with #16 prospect Riley Adams, Reese eventually caught fire and has become their starting catcher. So far in June, Reese has 48 PA. In those PA’s, he has a .370 average, .396 OBP. He also has a wRC+ of 162 which is well …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Jake Muzzin is the hero we don’t deserve

Leafs fans argue about a lot. Should the Leafs trade Mitch Marner? Should the Leafs trade William Nylander? Is Jake Gardiner bad? Is Tomas Kaberle bad? Very rarely do you find a player that just about everyone in this fanbase universally likes, especially in this era of analytics.
Jake Muzzin is the kind of player that fits everybody’s needs. He’s got that tough physical edge and experience that the grit and character side of the fanbase has been looking for in the Mike Komisareks and Jeff Fingers and Tim Gleasons and Roman Polaks, but he’s also a very good defensive defenseman from the stats side of things. He is the biggest cog in the Leafs d-core, and when he goes down, it feels like the team will too.
And that’s exactly what happened in Game 6, as he got hurt midway through the game and would’ve been out for three weeks, but thankfully his teammates cared about him so much that they made sure that he only missed one game. It was the second year in a row that he got hurt in the middle of their playoff series and they definitely didn’t look the …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Michael Bunting would be a dollar and a pound bargain for the Leafs

F#ck it, I guess we’re talking about free agents now. We could be talking about the Leafs match up against the Lightning, but nah, talking about free agents that can fit into the narrow bit of workable cap space for the Leafs is cool too. Though today we’ll hopefully get to have our post up for more than 20 minutes before the player we’re talking about announces they have no intention of playing for any team other than the one they are currently with.
So in the spirit of finding someone who is both affordable and would want to play in Toronto, we’ll dial things back from aging superstars, and refocus on a player that might have had his NHL breakout season last year. That player is Michael Bunting.
Michael Bunting checks a lot of boxes for things that the Leafs could use:
First of all, he’s 25, so he’s about as young as you can find when you’re talking unrestricted free agents. He hasn’t played in the NHL enough for the Coyotes to retain him as an unrestricted free agent, so their loss could very easily be the Leafs gain. Younger is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Torch Has Been Passed

I haven’t written about the Blue Jays in a long while. 

I often feel as if I should, and sometimes I do try to get some words on a page, but I’ve always felt that I’m at my best when the team is making me feel passionate enough to write about them. I think that moment has finally come. 
I’m writing at a time where we’re currently experiencing the most exciting, talented individual player this team has seen in a long while.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr is making hitting in the Major Leagues look like child’s play, all at an age where he’s essentially just a child playing. He leads baseball in Home Runs, OPS, Times on Base, and fWAR to this point, all while walking as much as he’s striking out. In a year where pitching is concerningly dominant, Vlad is putting up numbers that hardly anyone in the game is even flirting with. Thinking back on it, only one other Jay in my lifetime has captured the hearts of fans with this kind of sheer dominance at the plate. Hint: he had a beard. 
One of the last pieces I wrote …

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Author: Isaac Boloten / Blue Jays Nation