Raptors: 3 Eastern Conference rivals who got worse this offseason

Raptors: 3 Eastern Conference rivals who got worse this offseason

The Toronto Raptors have decided to run it back and not upset the apple cart too much this offseason. Considering how successful their 2021-22 season was, changing a team that won 48 games despite some issues in roster construction makes a ton of sense. The only issue that the Raptors may face is an Eastern […]
Raptors: 3 Eastern Conference rivals who got worse this offseason – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Trades, Targets, and Toughness (Part 2 of our Leafs Reader Poll)

We’re back for day two of our look at your responses to the Reader Poll. Day one focused largely on contracts and opinions of Keefe and Dubas. Today we shift to that middle ground of trade bait and roster needs before closing this series out tomorrow with a look at the players and how successful they will be this year.

We’re starting off with one of my favourite questions and that is who could be moved in season. I’m sure it seems odd that I included two newly acquired goaltenders, but that comes down largely to the fact that if one or both are a bust, will the Leafs move on? Or at the deadline, will the Leafs want to move one in order to afford roster strengthening moves elsewhere? I feel I need to explain that one a bit, as the other candidates seem far more straightforward.
Not surprisingly Holl and Kerfoot are at the top as the present situation dictates that one of them looks to be out in order to afford Rasmus Sandin. Muzzin is a bit of wishful thinking, but he would likely be the best bet for the Leafs to move if it wasn’t for his full no trade clause at the moment. I guess it’s always a safe bet that the Leafs are looking to trade their first, and we’ll see below if you think that’s a good idea.

I want to start by saying that I’ve come to terms with the fact that Nylander probably should be traded at some point between now and his free agency period. I’m not sure I want it this year. I can appreciate the appeal of a potential top-four right-shot defenseman, but am decidedly less enthu …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

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

TLN Prospect Rankings: Which “no vote” player could surprise us?

When I look back on all the years we’ve been doing prospect rankings at TLN, the name that sticks out the most as a player we were consistently wrong on was Pierre Engvall. The first four years Engvall was with the Leafs organization he didn’t crack our top 20 before finally jumping straight to #9 on the rankings in 2018 after a strong debut with the Marlies and an impressive year in the SHL. Some players are late bloomers, projects, or simply are being developed towards a niche role that might not show up well in their early days.
So it’s in that spirit I’ve asked the group which of the players that went unranked by all of us this year do we have some excitement about? Who could be a sleeper for the top 20 next year?
Nick Barden: Pavel Gogolev
I’m going to have to say Pavel Gogolev. He began his tenure in the organization back in February of 2021 and really burst onto the scene. Scoring 12 points in 13 games during his first …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Report: Denis Malgin to return, signs one-year contract with Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs have brought back Denis Malgin, signing the Swiss forward to a one-year contract, according to Kevin Weekes.
The Leafs retained Malgin’s rights from the 2020 season having qualified him as a restricted free agent. Acquired in the infamous trade with Florida involving Mason Marchment, Malgin only played eight games with Toronto before the COVID pandemic hit and he returned to Europe.
In the past two seasons, Malgin has reminded teams of his two-way upside. He’s been an elite scorer in the Swiss league, scoring 21 goals and 52 points in 48 games with Zurich last season. In the playoffs, Malgin also led his team in scoring with 18 points in 17 games.
Malgin really stood out at the World Championships, playing alongside Detroit’s Pius Suter. He scored five goals and 12 points in eight games for Switzerland, finishing top five in tournament scoring.
It’s easy to forget given how long he’s been around, but Denis Malgin is still only 25 years old. He broke into the NHL at 20 years old and had some solid results in a bottom-six role with the Florida Panthers at that age. In 192 NHL games, Malgin has scored 28 goals and 60 points, a rate of 0.31 points per game. That’s …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

It’s Time to Fire Charlie Montoyo (Next Week)

In this space in August of 2019, way back in the before times, I wrote an article advocating for the Blue Jays to move on from Charlie Montoyo.

You can go ahead and read it if you’d like, but the gist of it was that Montoyo was a truly awful tactical manager that wasn’t only costing the team victories, but was also leading to players getting hurt. I felt those deficiencies in his style were not worth whatever intangible positives he brought to the clubhouse with his mentorship and vibes, for a lack of a better term. The Blue Jays front office clearly disagreed, as, much to the chagrin of many fans, Montoyo is still around.
I believe the time has come for this conversation to happen again. Ironically, I think Montoyo has drastically improved his in-game management since 2019. The number of mind-boggling moves that he is responsible for nowadays is much smaller than it was previously, and I would even go as far as saying that he has had numerous games this season where he has managed perfectly. Another complaint you often heard about him was that he didn’t stick up for his team enough when umpires were costing them games, and he has also corrected that flaw, getting ejected often this year to the point where he is giving John Gibbons a run for his money.
He’s made great strides and has worked on his weaknesses, to the poin …

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Author: Gideon Turk / Blue Jays Nation