Why a Fred VanVleet-Deandre Ayton swap could help Raptors and Suns

Why a Fred VanVleet-Deandre Ayton swap could help Raptors and Suns

The Toronto Raptors are looking more like a seller than ever before. Despite winning four of their last five games prior painful losses against the Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Timberwolves without Karl-Anthony Towns, Toronto may need to part with some of their starters in order to get deeper. PG Fred VanVleet and SG […]
Why a Fred VanVleet-Deandre Ayton swap could help Raptors and Suns – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs dominate Penguins on Hockey Night: Leafs Rundown

Maple Leafs dominate Penguins on Hockey Night: Leafs Rundown

It feels like games against the Penguins are always slightly cursed, but this one worked out pretty well. The Leafs kept the pressure on the Penguins, earning a 4-1 win.
From that first early goal on, the Leafs were healthily in charge of this game. Here are some thoughts on the game.
Behind The Net
No, not the ancient, now defunct stats website. This is to do with the success Toronto had tonight forcing the Penguins defenders to face the wrong way. Twice they capitalized with a pass behind them that scored on Casey DeSmith. First on goal #2 by Pontus Holmberg, and again on goal #3 by William Nylander:

PONTUS HOLMBERG 🚨
WHAT A SHOT! TOP CORNER! pic.twitter.com/T3x8A8IOAQ
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 27, 2022

WILLIAM NYLANDER 🚨
IT’S 3-0! pic.twitter.com/UP2bygPzcb
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 27, 2022

Källgren performance
The Swedish 3rd string goalie has been filling in with the Leafs a lot this season, with injuries to both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov. It’s not often that the 3rd stringer has the most starts, 2 months into the season, but with his 9th start for the Maple Leafs tonight, Källgren has that strange honour.
The netminder has only had 2 “quality starts”, plus a third excellent performance in relief against Boston; the remainder have been well below average. This 1-goal-against performance Pittsburgh is definitely a boon to his season stats. He did only face [SHOTS HOW MANY???] in this one, but this is an undeniable success.
No defenders, no problem
With 3 of the Leafs’ apparent top 4 defenders out on injured reserve at the moment, it would be expected that the team would struggle defensively. And certainly, the team’s shooting stats have taken a hit in that regard. In the last 2 games, the Leafs allowed a lot more even strength shot attempts against than normal, ~63 per 60 minutes, versus ~53 per 60 minutes for the previous 20 games. That’s a small sample to be sure …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs left with the easy task of naming Keith Petruzzelli the starter for Saturday night

Leafs left with the easy task of naming Keith Petruzzelli the starter for Saturday night

It seemed like it always should have been Petruzzelli’s game and one that was confidently announced a week ago so his family had time to shuttle to Toronto for his NHL debut, but if there was any doubt about who should be getting the start, it should be cleared up by this recent insight from Sheldon Keefe:

Keefe says Matt Murray will not play tomorrow. They will make that decision of who starts tomorrow. @BodogCA @RinkWideTOR
— David Alter (@dalter) November 12, 2022

While the Leafs have historically shied away from the idea of having their goaltenders make NHL debuts on Saturday night nationally broadcast home games, this one hits a little different than the standard fare. For one, there really doesn’t seem to be much of a choice, but we’ll get into that later. There’s also the fact that this is a game against the Vancouver Canucks. The 4-7-3 Vancouver Canucks that seem to be hanging on by a thread. It’s not a bad opponent to line an inexperienced goaltender up against, and in that sense it couldn’t have worked out any better.
It also seems that no one is delusional enough to believe that Petruzzelli will be making his case for a Leafs job tonight either. This is about as one and done as it gets. Good or bad, by Tuesday Keith will be riding a bus with the Marlies, and the Leafs will at least feel comfortable enough with Matt Murray wearing a ball cap f …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The annual Leafs Nation predictions

Normally I like to run this content a couple of days before the start of the season, but with the long weekend here and the preseason wrapping up tonight, I figured lets get the predictions up early, especially since one of the questions is about the first Leaf traded and that could be happening as we speak.
This year 14 of our TLN contributors, and despite decades of worth of disappointment from the Leafs, we certainly still saw some passion shine through in the results, including some borderline troublesome Vezina predictions.
Without further adieu let’s hop into the predictions starting with the big one…

Those are the top cup contenders according to our TLN panel. These seem like a reasonable list, even if I think we’re a tad premature on expecting anything from the Leafs after a steady stream of hurt, but let’s admire optimism. The interesting team left off here is probably the Oilers, but I suppose we’ve all seen too much of Jack Campbell to expect anything from them this year.
50%
of those surveyed had the Leafs winning the division
On paper, it very much seems like a two horse race between the Leafs and the Lightning, but the Panthers were dismissed from this conversation last year too, and while I’m not ready to throw the Bruins into the mix, it still is very difficult division. The Lightning have definitely taken a step back and that could make the division title attainable for the Leafs.
13 out of 14
people said if the Leafs didn’t win the division it would be the Lightning
That definitely fits with what was said above, and in case you had to ask, the other vote was for the Panthers.

When it comes to how far the Leafs will go, I guess I’m the only one with some respect for tradition. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Rielly vs. Sandin on the right side, why Robertson will have to wait, and not shopping the waiver wire: Leaflets

Rielly vs. Sandin on the right side, why Robertson will have to wait, and not shopping the waiver wire: Leaflets

It feels like it’s been a long ass week. I had to check to see when the last time I wrote a Leaflets post was because it seems like it’s been forever. It was apparently last week. Maybe the rest of you aren’t struggling with the passage of time as much as I am, but I’m sure this pointless article intro is giving you some of that experience. Anyway, here are some bite-sized thoughts on the Leafs heading into a week filled with cuts and Justin Holl trade rumours.
Rielly vs. Sandin on the right side
A lot was made during the contract process that Rasmus Sandin didn’t want any part of playing on his unfavoured side. Or maybe that is something we just started putting out there to justify the delays in negotiations.
A lot has also been made of Morgan Rielly’s willingness to play on the right side, and Sheldon Keefe’s quit reaction of pointing out that he’s giving Rielly his reps there but doesn’t have much interest in moving him off the left side.
In reality, both of these players have a good chance of seeing the majority of their season on the left side, because injuries happen and that’s why Victor Mete and Jordie Benn are here, to take the guess …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Drake fuels Raptors’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rumors with IG post

Drake fuels Raptors’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rumors with IG post

The Toronto Raptors missed out on big trade names like Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell during the 2022-23 offseason, but there is still one big name left on the market that Masai Ujiri could chase. The Raptors haven’t given up on adding Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. While the Thunder are allegedly trying to […]
Drake fuels Raptors’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rumors with IG post – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Newest Fred VanVleet contract update sounds good for Raptors

Newest Fred VanVleet contract update sounds good for Raptors

In the early stages of the offseason, it seemed like Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet was a lock to be extended. A four-year deal that would get into nine figures would make the highest-paid undrafted player in NBA history even more wealthy following an All-Star season. VanVleet is close to free agency once again, […]
Newest Fred VanVleet contract update sounds good for Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Try not to tear up as Yuta Watanabe says goodbye to Raptors

Try not to tear up as Yuta Watanabe says goodbye to Raptors

The nature of the NBA means that teams like the Toronto Raptors often have to say goodbye to fan favorites to get cheaper alternatives. Yuta Watanabe made himself a marquee attraction when he was on the floor, but Toronto thought it was time to say goodbye. With youngsters like Christian Koloko arriving via the NBA […]
Try not to tear up as Yuta Watanabe says goodbye to Raptors – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

BJN Radio – Ep. 108: It wasn’t pretty, but the Blue Jays got the job done against the Pirates

It was a little more stressful than you’d like for a series with the basement-dwelling Pirates, but the Blue Jays came into Pittsburgh and pulled off a sweep.

We talked about Alek Manoah’s excellent start on Friday night, Bo’s putting together arguably the best at-bat we’ve seen from any Blue Jay this season in Saturday’s win, and Jordan Romano coming through with a huge save on Sunday’s afternoon.
After that, we looked ahead at the upcoming series with the Orioles, which is far more anxiety-inducing than we expected it would be back in April.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

3 reasons Raptors are still better than Cavs after Mitchell trade

3 reasons Raptors are still better than Cavs after Mitchell trade

The Toronto Raptors, like many around the league, were knocked to the floor in disbelief after the Utah Jazz traded Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a package headlined by Collin Sexton and multiple unprotected first-round draft selections. The East just got even more challenging. Already boasting one of the best frontcourts in the […]
3 reasons Raptors are still better than Cavs after Mitchell trade – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ