Toronto Raptors 2022-23 season preview: PF/C Khem Birch

Toronto Raptors 2022-23 season preview: PF/C Khem Birch

The Toronto Raptors’ mission to find a true five-man to contend with the league’s top-tier bigs had fans hounding their trade machines and free-agency trackers all summer. Taking the 7-foot Christian Koloko seemed like a step in the right direction. That’s before you realize that they’ve had a traditional center in 6-9 bruiser Khem Birch. […]
Toronto Raptors 2022-23 season preview: PF/C Khem Birch – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Day two of free agency and beyond: The Leafs to-do list

One day down, and who knows how many more to go until we find ourselves very much in the dog days of summer where nothing seems to happen. The Leafs were pretty active for the first day of free agency. They added three completely new players (Samsonov, Aube-Kubel, Gaudette), brought back one of their own from Europe (Malgin), and made an AHL signing (Logan Shaw). That’s a fair bit of work for one day, but they were also far from the busiest and are likely far from down.
The Leafs are going into day two with several bubble players on forward, but still a couple of potential needs. They should very much be considered a cheap top-six forward option if they can find one and while Gaudette, Malgin, and Aube-Kubel are all capable of lining up as the 4C, finding a proven center for that role would be a plus.
On the blueline, Dubas spelled it out yesterday by saying they could still use a depth piece, possibly a physical right side option. Right now that seems very much like the role being occupied by Justin Holl, so take that as a sign that he is long for the Leafs wor …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Goaltending is number one priority for Maple Leafs ahead of free agency

The Maple Leafs need to find two goaltenders between now and October 12th.
It was an interesting day one at the NHL Draft on Thursday — mostly because many were interested to see what Toronto was going to do with their first-round pick. And as you already know, Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas traded the 25th to Chicago, along with Petr Mrazek, in exchange for the 38th pick.
Toronto was confident that they’d get their guy in the second round and it turns out they likely did, drafting Fraser Minten with Chicago’s pick. They shed the salary of Mrazek while moving down 13 spots and still got the player they wanted. I guess you could call it tidy business.
Now, though, with the first in-person draft since 2019 finished, the Maple Leafs have a massive task at hand — finding two NHL goaltenders.
One of the most difficult parts to this situation is whether or not Toronto will retain Jack Campbell. There’s plenty of rumours stating his time with the Maple Leafs could likely be over, but with the Mrazek move, it gives them more cap space to see if they can make it work.
Signing Campbell would be one half of the puzzle because Toronto needs another goaltender. However, according to the Maple Leafs GM, the second netminder could come from inside the organization.
“I think I feel good about (Erik) Kall …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Blue Jays walk eight in 5-3 loss to Oakland Athletics

Yusei Kikuchi just can’t find his command.

He’s struggled all year walking batters left right and center in games, and last Thursday, it appeared he got things back under control.
Oh, what fools we all are.
The Jays needed a big start from the lefty on Tuesday night against the Oakland A’s having dropped a 5-1 stinker before. Instead, they got 2.1 IP where Kikuchi gave seven of the 14 batters he faced a free pass to first plate.
Five walks, two batters hit by pitches, and four earned runs allowed on two hits.

“It’s tough to play behind a guy who isn’t throwing strikes.” – #Bluejays manager Charlie Montoyo.
— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) July 6, 2022

While Trent Thornton was able to come into the came and right the ship with a solid 2.1 IP allowing just one hit and an earned run while walking one, the damage had been done. Toronto just couldn’t recover and by the end of the night, they tied a season-high walking eight batters by the end of the night.
As tough as the pitching was to watch, the offence was equally as frustrating as we had to watch the Jays outhit the A’s 10-4, but still lose by two runs. While Matt Chapman blew the doors off going 3 for 4 with a two run, 424-foot blast and Teoscar Hernandez smashed a solo home run, the Jays just couldn’t get it going.
In the top of the six, the Jays had a chance to get themselves back into the game. Alejandro Kirk stood at second with Hernandez at first when Chapman hit a deep single into left-center field. Jays 3B coach Luis Rivera inexplica …

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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation