Deadline Primer: The Bullpen

Oh how we love to get our hopes up, it’s a Trade Deadline tradition, after all. However, heading into the 2021 Trade Deadline, things feel a little bit different. The Blue Jays boast one of the game’s most feared lineups to go along with one of the game’s deepest farm systems. It’s the perfect recipe for a little trade deadline drama.

The biggest hole for this club since the very beginning of the season has been in the bullpen, and although Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards have done well to come in and bolster, it’s very to say that GM Ross Atkins will be on the hunt for at least one more reliever. In 2020, The Jays were in a similar situation, as they approached the expanded playoff with minimal concern for falling out. They went out and acquired starting pitching depth in Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling and used them to lengthen the bullpen. I would suspect another bulk reliever to be added to fold sooner than later to upgrade over Anthony Kay as the first man out and push relievers like the aforementioned Cimber and Richards back down towards the back end.
Tim …

Read More

Author: DeuceDoucette / Blue Jays Nation

SPOILER ALERT: The Kraken appear to be taking Alex Kerfoot from the Leafs

God I love the internet (sometimes).
While living in a world where everything is recorded can be a nuisance sometimes, it also yields moments like this…

Seattle Kraken have selected forward Alex Kerfoot from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the expansion draft. @spittinchiclets @TheHockeyNews @PierreVLeBrun @SeattleKraken pic.twitter.com/dMkCw5t8rl
— Jack Carroll (@Jcarroll11_) July 20, 2021

(In case that tweet gets deleted, here’s the video again)


For those wondering what is going on there, that is film of Kevin Weekes helping to announce the Kraken’s selection from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and him listing Alexander Kerfoot as the selection. We do not know if they have done multiple takes, but it seems unlikely and we can probably lower our stress levels about worrying about the newly acquired Jared McCann.
While this is far from a guarantee, this is certainly strong evidence in how the expansion draft will play out for Toronto. And of course we have no knowledge of if there was a side deal involved. We assume that information was on another fish.

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays come out on top after an absolute roller coaster ride with the Orioles

Those are the Baltimore Orioles we know and love. The Blue Jays are back in the win column after a six-run rally in the ninth inning.

Things worth mentioning…
First Inning:
The game started off fun, Semien went yard and then Vlad did the same. Before the game, I bet $5 that Vlad would hit a dinger @4.50. So the extra 17 bucks is much appreciated. Thank you Vlad if you are reading this.
Manoah:
Before the game, I said if Manoah went 6 IP allowing less than four runs and had 7 Ks, I’d shave my head. Unfortunately, Manoah couldn’t do it, meaning Twitter will have to wait until something else happens. Manoah, bless him, didn’t have a great game. However, I have no doubt he’ll bounce back. There are positives from this start, while home runs are bad, he walked only one batter and didn’t give up a hit that didn’t leave the park. He also had 6 Ks, one off his career-high. Alek, if you are reading this, it could be the mechanics, but I assume you’ll watch the tape and throw a perfect game next outing. I have faith in you.
Manoah’s ejection:
Well, …

Read More

Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this Fred VanVleet bobblehead

Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this Fred VanVleet bobblehead

Toronto Raptors fans love Fred VanVleet – and for good reason. But now, you can bring him into your fan cave with a new bobblehead. Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has gotten a little bit better each and every season. The 26-year-old is currently averaging 19.4 points, 6.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Obviously, […]
Toronto Raptors fans are going to love this Fred VanVleet bobblehead – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Nathan Cunningham / Raptors HQ

The Case for Travis Dermott as the Leafs’ Most Lovable Goofball

You can love the way Travis Dermott plays, you can hate it, or you can be indifferent. But I’m here to argue that what you cannot deny is that he is, off the ice, by far the most lovable goofball on the Toronto Maple Leafs current roster.
I want to disclaim, before I begin making my case, that there was a picture of Travis on vacation a few years ago in a Speedo, with cornrows in his hair. While some Twitter users suggested this to me as an example of Travis’ affable, goofball personality, I have to disagree. Cornrows are a hairstyle that carries deep meaning to Black people, and when white people or people from other cultures mimic this style it is a form of cultural appropriation and insensitivity. Travis was rightfully called out on this by many, and I am hopeful that he learned from that experience.
Aside from that instance, though, there are countless examples of Travis’ fun-loving, easygoing, carefree personality that we can point to when arguing that he’s the most lovable goofball on the team. I put a call out on Twitter (as mentioned above) and received so many suggestions, I might not …

Read More

Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Who can replace VanVleet if he signs elsewhere?

Toronto Raptors: Who can replace VanVleet if he signs elsewhere?

As much as the Toronto Raptors would love to keep Fred VanVleet next season, we must come to the realization that there is a possibility that the signs elsewhere. If you take a look at the Toronto Raptors roster, it is evident that they are in a very good position to compete for many years. […]
Toronto Raptors: Who can replace VanVleet if he signs elsewhere? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Read More

Author: Jeremy Wilks / Raptors HQ

Highlights of Brendan Shanahan’s interview with James Duthie

If you’ve got 20 minutes and love anecdotes about parenting in the COVID-19 world, by all means, I encourage you to check out the full thing here. If you just want the hockey highlights and some takes on those, let’s have at it below…
“Are the players going stir crazy?”
“Most of the players have returned back to their home. Their places in the offseason.”
Honestly not a huge surprise that a lot of the players have fled their Toronto condos for their offseason homes, and that it’s largely based on where they can train better, as condo gyms are off limits and probably not going to cut it anyway. Being around a good support group will help, and Shanahan notes that the players have been pushing each other to stay in game shape and work on strength training, while Dubas has been the communications point person for Hockey Ops.
“How do you plan for the different scenarios?”
A couple of times in the interview Shanahan dodges the question about what specific scenarios he would prefer for the season resuming. His response is generally to support the format …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BREAKING: Stuff is Possibly About to Go Down

Things are happening. Finally. For the love of god, finally.
It’s amazing how quickly things can change in the hockey world. Twitter seemed to be a relatively tranquil place earlier this afternoon, with the conversation being primarily dominated by people taking turns in laughing at the Tampa Bay Rays for the borderline Nathan For You business scheme they constructed to stay alive.
The takes were cold. The air was light.
And then, this:

Toronto Maple Leafs bracing for activity. Telling teams they will listen on Kapanen and Kadri. Would need a D back in a Kapanen trade and a centre back for Kadri. Strong sense Connor Brown could go as well.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 20, 2019

Side Note: It says a lot about the entertainment index of the NHL’s offseason that the mere possibility of player movement draws comparisons to a Woj Bomb. 
By the end of today – heck, by the end of this sentence, even – the Toronto Maple Leafs could look markedly different. The names of which Dreger mentions as possible trade candidates are not the par-for-the-course casualties we’ve waxed about all summer – save for Connor Brown. His departure, much like Thanos, is inevitable.
These are deep …

Read More

Author: Mike Stephens / The Leafs Nation

Let’s make some noise for the arms in New Hampshire

As many of you know, I love taking hard swigs from the prospect bottle. I dive into it like it’s the Gulf of Mexico and I’m a Canadian who hasn’t felt the warm sun or splashed in salty water all winter. I open my shitty MiLB app that functions like it was designed by grade 11 students back in 1997 every night and I try my best to surf from Buffalo to New Hampshire to Lansing and sometimes Dunedin – if a game is actually being streamed. I go as far as that shit excuse for an app takes me, and I soak in as many innings as I can.
When I watch these future Jays in the system, I don’t look to see what side of the rubber a pitcher is pitching from, or whether or not a player is chasing bad pitches outside the zone. I mean, I do analyze some Jays prospects because I can’t help it. But, I mostly watch them because I am a fan and I love Minor League baseball.
It’s hard these days for some Jays prospects to make noise in the farm. The Vlad drum has been smashed to …

Read More

Author: Ryan Di Francesco / Blue Jays Nation