Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bucks Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 15

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bucks Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 15

The Toronto Raptors showed their fans just how quickly momentum can be sucked away from a team in the NBA. After reeling off six straight wins to start the new year, the latest Raptors odds now have them positioned to lose three straight games as they prepare for a back-to-back. Toronto will take on Giannis […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Bucks Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Jan. 15 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

William Nylander’s long road to dominance

“I look forward to dominating.”
Those were just a few of the words William Nylander had for the media ahead of Leafs training camp in 2019, following a disappointing season that was derailed by a contentious contract negotiation that lasted right up until the signing deadline on December 1st. He would end up missing the first two months of the 2018-19 season before coming to terms on a six-year deal with the Leafs and never really found his footing while playing catch-up with the rest of the league. Perhaps feeling the pressure of his new contract, Nylander managed just seven goals and 20 assists over 54 games that year – the lowest points per game mark of his career.
Even in the most difficult season of his career, there were signs that things would eventually turn for Nylander. He led the team with a 55.64 xGF% and put up an identical individual expected goals per 60 rate as the previous season when he scored 20 goals in 82 games, but he suffered from some poor shooting luck and just wasn’t as sharp with the puck on his stick …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Ilya Mikheyev’s next contract shouldn’t be much of a worry for the Maple Leafs because it probably won’t be with Toronto

We should just be able to enjoy nice things, and at this exact moment, Ilya Mikheyev is a nice thing for Leafs. His return from injury has seen him pick up 4 goals (5 points) in 5 games. He’s playing 16 minutes a night, and he’s still one of the fastest players in the game. Yes, it sure is good to have Ilya Mikheyev, right now. And yes, as I wrote this yesterday I knew that Mikheyev would be good for a big night in Vegas.
Niceties out of the way, we are also talking about a pending unrestricted free agent, and when it comes to players like that, inevitably we need to discuss how much it costs to keep them. I’m not really sure that is the case with Mikheyev though, as there really isn’t a path to keeping him beyond this season.
While Jonas Siegel of The Athletic explored at great length the cost of keeping Mikheyev, and the value you brings to the team, the realities of the Mikheyev situation can really be boiled down to a much more simplistic argument. The Leafs will have cheap forward options available, and they have too many other priority players to sign.
Too many other priority players to sign
Assuming the salary cap still gets its bump up to $82.5M from $81.5M this season, that leaves Toronto with around $7.25M to spend over th …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

News from the Rink: Auston Matthews held out of practice and the Maple Leafs running with Campbell in net

Never a dull moment lately. Just as the Leafs neared having a full roster to work with with, the biggest hit imaginable strikes, and Auston Matthews will be out, likely for the next five days…

Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and assistant coach Dean Chynoweth will not participate in today’s practice for precautionary reasons.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) January 3, 2022

Sheldon Keefe said Auston Matthews and Dean Chynoweth both tested positive on their rapid antigen tests but they are awaiting results of their PCR tests.
— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) January 3, 2022

There’s a very strong chance that the PCR tests will validate when the rapid tests showed, and we’ll be looking at Matthews out until January 8th. If he’s symptom free and the PCR test results arrive soon enough, that could put him in the game against the Avs on Saturday night. If not, his return will be Tuesday against Vegas. Hoping this stays on the precautionary or asymptomatic side of things for both Chynoweth and Matthews.
With Matthews out, the Leafs ran some new lines at practice…

#Leafs forward lines at practice Jan. 3/22
Bunting-Tavares-MarnerMikheyev-Kerfoot-NylanderEngvall-Kampf-KaseRitchie-Spezza-Simmonds
— David Alter (@dalter) January 3, 2022

Pretty much what you’d expect to see here, as Tavares …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays’ Teoscar Hernandez is aging like fine wine

Just like the world’s greatest wines, outfielder Teoscar Hernandez has only improved with age over his six seasons in Major League Baseball, which has seen him grow substantially since joining the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
Coming up through the Houston Astros’ minor-league system, Hernandez was always considered an offensive-first prospect – one that featured a considerable amount of extra-base power. Once the 6’2″ outfielder surpassed the double-digit mark in home runs across three different levels from 2013-2015, it became evident he could make an impact in the majors.
Receiving his first opportunity to showcase his skills during the following season, the 29-year-old made his major league debut in 2016, where he appeared in 41 games through the second half of the schedule. Unfortunately, his first stint at the highest level of competition didn’t prove to be all that impressive.
Despite posting seven doubles and four home runs over his 112 plate appearances, Hernandez struggled to put balls in play consistently, largely due to his lack of plate discipline, resulting in a measly .230/.304/.420 slashing line.
Since the Astros possessed plenty of depth in the outfield in 2017, both in the majors and minors, they felt comfortable making some of that capital expendable and ultimately …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors fall as Justin Champagnie’s miracle game-winner taken away

Raptors fall as Justin Champagnie’s miracle game-winner taken away

Just when it seemed like the Toronto Raptors were on the verge of getting blown out embarrassingly against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Justin Champagnie came off the bench and provided Nick Nurse with the spark he needed to get back in the game. In 12 minutes, Champagnie recorded seven points and two rebounds, making all […]
Raptors fall as Justin Champagnie’s miracle game-winner taken away – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Wizards Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Dec. 5

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Wizards Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Dec. 5

For the third time in just 24 games, the Toronto Raptors will face off against Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards. Nick Nurse and the squad might be fresh off of an upset win against the Bucks, but the most recent Raptors odds seem to suggest another loss in the cards for this team. While […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Wizards Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Dec. 5 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Weighing rolling four lines vs. three lines plus specialists for the Leafs

We’ve just passed the quarter of the season mark, there is a lot of hockey left, why are you making a case for a shorter bench?
One of the better parts of the season has been what Spezza and Simmonds have done on the fourth line, why would you take that away?
These are my primary arguments for no matter what seems like the better approach in the long run, in the short term the idea of sticking with rolling four lines at 5v5 makes a lot of sense. That being said, the season is long, and eventually playoff races will heat up, and there will come a time when the Leafs need to be a bit more focused about how they deploy their players, and under Sheldon Keefe, the fourth line does still find around 10 minutes of icetime a night at 5v5.
When it comes to 5v5, the Leafs peak usage is with Auston Matthews playing 16:37 a night since the beginning of last season. Marner is the only other player averaging over 15 minutes, and regular fourth liners like Simmonds and Spezza are at the other end of the scale still playing around 9 minutes a night of 5v5. The …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What does the future hold for young Leafs? Will Tavares head to China? Is it time for the Leafs to get a dog?

Here we are just past the quarter mark of the season for the Leafs. It was a rough start, but they’ve truly followed it up with something wonderful, and now that we’re in a good place where the Leafs and playing well and we’re not yet to the point where we think about how that will look in the playoffs, we thought we’d take advantage of a happier Leafs audience and answer some questions…

Is it fair to assume that Josh Ho-Sang will be an NHL regular for the Leafs next season?
— Daniel Tiller (@DanielJTiller) November 22, 2021

Nick DeSouza: It might be a bit early to pencil Ho-Sang into next season’s lineup. Of course, lots can change by then but the forward roster should look pretty similar next year. Toronto currently has nine NHL forwards signed for next season; Matthews, Marner, Tavares, Nylander, Kerfoot, Ritchie, Kampf, Bunting, and Simmonds. To add to this, both Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase are RFA’s this offseason and are having pretty good starts to the season so far. Finally, a healthy Nick Robertson, Joey Anderson should also compete for a spot. Ho-Sang has been really good with the Marlies …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Joseph Woll provided a lot of hope for the future of the Leafs net

It’s hard to believe it was just a couple of weeks back that I was writing about how we shouldn’t expect too much of Joseph Woll, and this was more about the organization getting a chance to assess him, not a situation where he was going to come in and immediately steal the net. And while I want to stay very true to the spirit of that article, there is something about a shutout in his second start that warrants both some excitement and a need to pour some cold water on our new expectations.
Joseph Woll’s debut will provide the Leafs with an assessment opportunity

When talking about Woll’s arrival there was an acknowledgement that things haven’t gone particularly well in the AHL, but also with the recognition that statistical success in net in the AHL isn’t much of a predictor of NHL success. It certainly doesn’t hurt to do well there, it probably gets a look at a NHL job a little earlier, but it’s by no means required to be a capable NHL goaltender as the realities of the game are very different between the two levels of play.


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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation