Scottie Barnes fits the Toronto Raptors and their developmental culture

Scottie Barnes fits the Toronto Raptors and their developmental culture

Toronto Raptors fans and sports pundits were generally gobsmacked by the team’s pick of Florida State’s Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs had been the betting favorite for weeks, but the Raptors decided to shockingly go in a different direction. Suggs is strong both […]
Scottie Barnes fits the Toronto Raptors and their developmental culture – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Cece Scott / Raptors HQ

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

Toronto Raptors: Aron Baynes has chance to rebuild value at Olympics

Toronto Raptors: Aron Baynes has chance to rebuild value at Olympics

Toronto Raptors fans spent a large chunk of the 2020-21 season slinging arrows at Australian center Aron Baynes, as the man they signed to replace Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka failed to provide either Gasol’s ability to keep the ball flowing in the post and Ibaka’s two-way stardom. His breakout year in Phoenix appears to […]
Toronto Raptors: Aron Baynes has chance to rebuild value at Olympics – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

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

Auston Matthews cemented himself as one of the best in the league

For years, Leafs fans have been singing the praises of Auston Matthews, the big star on the team, and how he should be considered one of the best in the league, both for his insane shooting and finishing ability, but also for the rise of his all-around game over the last few years.
This year was finally the year he got the recognition as one of the best in the league. He exploded for 41 goals in a shortened season, leading the league by 8 goals and finished tied for fifth in points despite missing four games as well. He ended up with the Rocket Richard trophy, and nominations for the Lady Bing, Ted Lindsay, and Hart Trophy.
He was on a whole other level that even Leafs fans hadn’t seen, and finally got the recognition he deserved from outside of Toronto, after years of being “overrated” because he was on the Leafs. He’s the best goal scorer in the league, and he’s one of the best players in the league right now.
And he’s a Toronto Maple Leaf.
Season Recap
It was a “slow” start for Matthews by his own standards, as this was actually his first …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs 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

Justin Holl is an underwhelming enigma

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The Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans have suffered more than their fair share of enigmatic stars: from Tomas Kaberle to Jake Gardiner to Morgan Rielly; from Jason Blake to Phil Kessel to Mitch Marner; it can be a rollercoaster here in Toronto. Typically, the branding of “enigma” is given to those previously listed high-skill players that don’t seem to bring their best every night. When they’re on, they’re a hero. When they’re off, they’re a villain.
It’s rare that a low-cost, defensive-minded player like Justin Holl develops that tumultuous reputation of being amazing some nights and a disaster on others, but that’s what I’ve observed this season.
On nights when Holl is at his best, the Leafs have one of the best “found wallet” assets in the league. On his off nights, the Leafs would be lucky if the Seattle Kraken are dumb enough to take him off of our hands in the upcoming expansion draft.
As is always the case, the reality is somewhere in between. What Justin Holl was able to accomplish this season was a consistent spot in the Leafs’ top four defenders alongside Jake Muzzin, which …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Nate Pearson And The Blue Jays’ Bullpen

It’s an issue on the mind of Blue Jays fans everywhere — how can we fix the bullpen?
But before fixing the problem, it has to be identified, and the issue with the bullpen is that there are so many issues with the bullpen.

We’re all well aware of the man-games lost to injury in the pen already this season, and given the recent history with pitchers in general, it’s not likely to correct itself any time soon. Pitchers are going to spend time on the IL, especially when they’re throwing triple-digit fastballs every other night. It’s unavoidable. Still, when you add up the IL stints from Yates, Phelps, Merryweather, Romano, Dolis, Castro, Milone, Borucki, Cole, and Bergen it’s tough to ignore it as the leading symptom for what ails the back end of Toronto’s pitching staff.
Still, as serviceable as Ryu, Ray and Matz have been, the Blue Jays need more from their starting rotation. They’re currently third-worst at IP per start ahead of Baltimore and San Diego. Taxing your bullpen when you’re already down a closer and two high leverage guys, at the very least, is not a recipe for …

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Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors should hire Terry Stotts as an assistant after Portland exit

Toronto Raptors should hire Terry Stotts as an assistant after Portland exit

The Toronto Raptors and their fans seemed to adopt the Portland Trail Blazers as their playoff team of choice following the Norman Powell trade, but even the backing of Canada was not enough to push Damian Lillard and Terry Stotts to the next round of the playoffs. An injured Denver Nuggets squad took the series […]
Toronto Raptors should hire Terry Stotts as an assistant after Portland exit – 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: Could Jusuf Nurkic be a target after comments following elimination?

Toronto Raptors: Could Jusuf Nurkic be a target after comments following elimination?

While plenty of Toronto Raptors fans might’ve been rooting for Norman Powell and the Portland Trail Blazers to make it to the next round of the postseason, the Denver Nuggets proved to be too much for Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic to overcome. Presumptive MVP Nikola Jokic took advantage of poor defenders in Enes Kanter […]
Toronto Raptors: Could Jusuf Nurkic be a target after comments following elimination? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ