Did Raptors’ Chris Boucher just ball out in front of potential trade suitor?

Did Raptors’ Chris Boucher just ball out in front of potential trade suitor?

The Toronto Raptors have likely been taking trade calls centered around big-name starters like Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet, but that doesn’t mean Masai Ujiri won’t deal away a role player if he finds an offer he likes. After signing a three-year contract in the offseason, Chris Boucher might find himself with a new […]
Did Raptors’ Chris Boucher just ball out in front of potential trade suitor? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays Nation’s 2023 Preseason Top 50: #15 Josh Kasevich

It’s been a while since a 2022 draftee was ranked on Blue Jays Nation’s Top 50, but that changes with this article.

Josh Kasevich is an intriguing prospect, as he has a great hit tool and will be able to stick at shortstop as he’s a great defender.
However, we’ll look at the criteria before taking a deep dive.
Brennan’s criteria:
Instead of writing this out every time I did for the mid-season Top 60, I’ll copy and paste my criteria for how I rank and scout these players.
There are many factors that determine a top prospect. The eye test is the biggest driver in determining a top prospect, but proximity to the majors, ceiling, and floor is also important. Moreover, statistics are another key ingredient, as everything works together to give you numbers.
As for the grades, it’s important to remember that they are relative to the league in which they play. A kid from Dunedin is not going to have a 50-grade hit tool if he were placed in the big leagues. But relative to the league in which he plays, a .300 hitter is eligible for that grade.
For these prospects, I’ll review their background, numbers in the minors, pitch mix (if they’re a pitcher), and give a scouting report (if feasible, rookie league guys are difficult).
Let’s jump in!
Josh Kasevich’s career so far:
The 21-year-old (who’ll turn 22 a day after this article is published) was drafted in the second round of the 2022 dr …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Nylander rises to the challenge as the Leafs avoid getting goalie’d by the Predators

The Predators had been riding a hot streak, largely due to the impressive goaltending of Juuse Saros, but as good as Saros was, the Matthews-less Leafs managed to inch their way to victory courtesy of a late 3rd period powerplay.

The Leafs were dominant over the Predators throughout the game, out-chancing them consistently from the onset of the game. Though while the chances heavily favoured the Leafs, the Predators made up for it when it came to quality, and the Preds enjoyed 85% HDCF% in the second period at 5v5 and Murray limited Nashville to just one goal in that frame. While the Leafs were the more aggressive team and had the xGF% advantage in the first and overall throughout the game 5v5, the Preds did push back with greater xGF in both the second and third periods.

Most of Nashville’s chances came while they were sitting right on top of Matt Murray, and it’s a credit to Murray’s performance that he limited Nashville to just one goal.
At the other end the Leafs also had a presence down low, but had a spike compared to recent games where they were using the point shot a bit more. I think the variety of shooting locales can somewhat be attributed to the absence of Auston Matthews and the usual “pass it to Auston” mentality.
The Nylander at center experiment
I am somewhat delighted to announce that Toronto didn’t sink into the earth as a result of Nylander taking on more responsibility. He led the Leafs forwards in 5v5 ice time at 15:01, and 69.70 CF%, 69.93 xG%, both unquestionably nice numbers. He didn’t do as well when it came to faceoffs as he won just one of the six draws he took, but that seems like something that could be fixed by having him spend half an hour of practice hanging out at the faceoff dot with Manny Malhotra.
Nylander walking away from the game with two assists, playing the second most ice time out of forwards (penalty kill brought Marner up ahead of Willy) is very encouraging and if Auston isn’t good to go for Thursday night we’ll see if Nylander can show that he can be a potential top six cent …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Appreciating William Nylander’s hot start to the 2022–23 season with the Maple Leafs

Appreciating William Nylander’s hot start to the 2022–23 season with the Maple Leafs

William Nylander has been on fire in the early season for the Leafs.

For a player that was subject to a high degree of criticism for a significant time, let’s appreciate what he has done thus far.
His overtime winner against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday secured the win and gave him 21 goals and 19 assists for 40 points in just 35 games. These marks are good for first on the team in goals and tied for second in points.

WILLIAM NYLANDER 🚨
OVERTIME WINNER pic.twitter.com/wI32M3gXYC
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 28, 2022

This play, to me, displays the best aspects of Nylander’s game. Obviously, his offensive abilities are outstanding — skating, hands, and finishing ability. However, an underrated aspect of Nylander’s game is his ability to generate turnovers in both the offensive and defensive zones. He is currently listed as being third on the team in takeaways, behind only Matthews and Marner. Here, he reads Tarasenko perfectly, stripping him of the puck and immediately generating an offensive opportunity.
It’s not as if this is some unpredictable breakout – Nylander has finished just below a point per game in each of the past three seasons. However, the valuable development this season has been his jump in goal scoring. Currently, Nylander is on pace for 48 goals over 82 games. This mark would be good for a 14-goal career high.
Goal scoring is obviously an incredibly important element of any team. For the Leafs this season, however, Nylander’s increased production in this area has been of particular importan …

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Author: Colin Hunter / The Leafs Nation

Leafs vs. Corsi: Numbers aren’t everything during a hot streak

Leafs vs. Corsi: Numbers aren’t everything during a hot streak

Over the past few seasons, the Leafs have been a pretty solid team when it comes to the numbers. It’s interesting that now that the Leafs are at their hottest in recent history, the numbers don’t really support it.
Here’s a quick look at some of the interesting numbers since November 12th when the Leafs 14 game unbeaten in regulation streak started.
46.58% Corsi For %
Since the Leafs streak began, Toronto has had the 5th worst CF% in the league, and only Arizona, Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis have been worse. That’s pretty wild, especially when you look at the Bruins, Devils, and Stars being at the other end of the spectrum and all being the top six of the league for CF%.
Is this a love letter to score effects? Kinda. When the Leafs are within one goal of their opponents, their CF% goes up to 50.78%, and when the game is tied the Leafs have the third best CF% over that stretch at 56.04%. When the Leafs have the lead their CF% dropped to a flat 40%.
There is something to be said for protec …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Why Gary Trent Jr. is the key to Raptors overcoming slow start

Why Gary Trent Jr. is the key to Raptors overcoming slow start

The Toronto Raptors have been one of the worst offenses in the league this year, as their half-court ineptitude and lack of 3-point shooting have put a hard cap on their ceiling. Even names like Gary Trent Jr. aren’t enough to rescue this team from such mediocrity. The Raptors can’t even beat teams like the […]
Why Gary Trent Jr. is the key to Raptors overcoming slow start – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors’ playoff hopes hinge on Fred VanVleet beating shooting woes

Raptors’ playoff hopes hinge on Fred VanVleet beating shooting woes

The Toronto Raptors have been struggling at the moment, as they are 2-3 in their past five games, with their two wins in that stretch coming against the struggling Orlando Magic and a depleted Los Angeles Lakers team. Overall, Nick Nurse’s side are still a respectable 13-12, considering all the injury problems that they have had […]
Raptors’ playoff hopes hinge on Fred VanVleet beating shooting woes – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Sourav Mahanty / Raptors HQ

Leafs still prioritizing defense, possible interest in Simmonds, and making room for Knies: Rumours

Leafs still prioritizing defense, possible interest in Simmonds, and making room for Knies: Rumours

My apologies to anyone who has been paying attention over the past few weeks and has noticed that I tend to run the Rumours posts on Thursdays. Your commitment to TLN content is admirable, and I’m sorry for letting you down. To the rest of you who are just gleefully clicking on any fresh Leafs content, ignore all of that. It doesn’t matter when we run stuff and the once a week thing is largely just to keep ourselves in check that we aren’t going overboard with the rumour mongering. Presumably the delay this week is largely due to the fact that when a team is on barely beatable over a month and on a five game winning streak, you aren’t too focused on additions or subtractions from the lineup. Still, that Muzzin cap relief looms large and let’s talk about what the Leafs might want to do with it.
A Simmonds landing spot
While the Jarnkrok injury does seem like it has the potential to get Wayne Simmonds into the lineup at a greater frequency than he has been playing, it’s still not particularly likely that t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors’ OG Anunoby becoming an All-Star lock due to hot start

Raptors’ OG Anunoby becoming an All-Star lock due to hot start

The Toronto Raptors have been on the receiving end of some pretty tough injuries this season, as Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa have both missed time. With Gary Trent Jr. having struggled offensively and Scottie Barnes in and out of the lineup, OG Anunoby has saved this team’s backside. Anunoby was one of the main […]
Raptors’ OG Anunoby becoming an All-Star lock due to hot start – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Precious Achiuwa injury update: Raptors big man far from return

Precious Achiuwa injury update: Raptors big man far from return

The Toronto Raptors have been one of the more impressive teams in the Eastern Conference when you factor in all of the games that their best players have missed due to injury. Losing an All-NBA player like Pascal Siakam and the Sixth Man in Precious Achiuwa is tough to shoulder. Achiuwa tore up some ligaments […]
Precious Achiuwa injury update: Raptors big man far from return – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ