Toronto Raptors: 2021 NBA Draft Grades after busy night

Toronto Raptors: 2021 NBA Draft Grades after busy night

The Toronto Raptors provided the first of many curveballs in the 2021 NBA Draft, as they took Florida State forward Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick when it looked like the selection was going to be Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. This move will certainly cause some division among the NBA Draft Grades crowd. Suggs […]
Toronto Raptors: 2021 NBA Draft Grades after busy night – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / 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

Rumours: The Leafs seem to believe in their group too much

Rumours: The Leafs seem to believe in their group too much

The offseason started off with the news that not many wanted to hear and that was the four big contract forwards weren’t going anywhere. Or at least that want the organization was pushing, but whether you are in the trade Marner camp or the trade Nylander, (or for that matter if you want Matthews or Tavares traded, there are enough Leafs fans that there are factions wanting everyone traded) Kyle Dubas started off the offseason by staying he would continue to pack the lineup full of value sized tubes of ground beef rather than address the lack of talent outside the main four forwards and top three defensemen. That was probably strike one for a lot of people.
After that there seemed to be a belief that the Leafs would want to move away from their older depth, and that youthful energy with upside was a better approach than draining the last hockey out of early 21st Century All-Stars. The re-signings of Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds certainly called that into question, although Simmonds accepted a pay cut that will likely accompany a reduced role, and I don’t think anyone was possibly going to complain about Jason Spezza, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs spent a lot to get Nick Foligno, so they should try and keep him

The 2021 trade deadline is going to be remembered in many ways for Leafs fans. It was a time where they pushed their chips to the centre of the table and tried to go all-in on a team that was on track to win their division. They used that opportunity to fine-tune the edges and bring in enough depth to help prepare for what should have been a lengthy playoff run.
And it will best be remembered for a blockbuster move they did and did not make.
Toronto’s big slash at the deadline was acquiring former Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno for a hefty price that included a first-round pick being shipped off to Columbus. Not even a few hours after this trade went down, the biggest prize available went to Boston as the Bruins snagged up Taylor Hall for a roster player and a second-round pick.
At the time of the trade, I was critical of the decision to go with Foligno instead of Hall because the best course of action was to provide as much offensive depth as possible and there aren’t many opportunities to acquire a former Hart Trophy winner at a reduced price (because the …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Top Toronto Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo taking coaching job in Italy

Top Toronto Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo taking coaching job in Italy

Of all the many weird quirks that this most recent Toronto Raptors season threw at fans, the brief 3-game stretch in which head coach Nick Nurse and almost every player with a pulse were ruled inactive due to the league’s health and safety protocols has to rank up there. Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo had to […]
Top Toronto Raptors assistant Sergio Scariolo taking coaching job in Italy – 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: Poor clutch stats proves the whole squad struggled late

Toronto Raptors: Poor clutch stats proves the whole squad struggled late

One of the many facets of the Toronto Raptors that didn’t appear to make the trip down to Tampa with them was their ability to get things done in the clutch. Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse built a champion out of the Raptors, in part, because they were masterful when the chips were down and […]
Toronto Raptors: Poor clutch stats proves the whole squad struggled late – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

It’s official: the Leafs will face the Canadiens in the first round

And after 42 years, the playoff matchup many hockey fans have been longing for is once again making a return!

For the first time in 42 years, it will be Toronto vs. Montreal in the #StanleyCup Playoffs. #NHLStats
2021 First Round: @MapleLeafs vs. @CanadiensMTL pic.twitter.com/0aeLZweMki
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 12, 2021

With the Jets defeating the Canucks 5-0 on Tuesday night, it secured their position for third place in the North Division. Meaning the Canadiens can not place any higher than fourth and will be the Leafs’ opponent in the first round of the 2021 postseason.
The last time these two teams met was in 1979 where Montreal swept Toronto in four games on route to capturing their 22nd Stanley Cup in franchise history. The all-time record in the postseason between the historic rivals is 8-7 with the Canadiens holding the advantage up to this point.
In the 10 game season series, the Leafs won with a 7-2-1 record over the Habs, with their most recent matchup securing Toronto’s first division title in 21 years.
We will have a larger breakdown of the Leafs’ opponent in the coming days, but there are two more games to be played before it is time …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

TLN Three Stars: McDavid gets his fifth ever win against the Leafs

After many exciting games between the two (with most of them falling in the Leafs favour thankfully), the Leafs and Oilers concluded their nine game season series tonight. It lived up to the expectations of McDavid vs. Matthews, as there were chances galore at both ends of the ice. The Oilers opened the scoring with a Josh Archibald goal, but the Leafs followed with goals from Marner and Matthews in quick succession to make it 2-1 in the first. It would be scoreless for the second before Kyle Turris would score early in the third as the puck deflected off his knee and in the net to tie it. The game would once again find it’s way to overtime, but unfortunately the Leafs weren’t on the right side of it tonight, as Darnell Nurse would score the overtime winner and give the Oilers the win.
It sucked to see it end that way, but the Leafs played well and still got a point.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Auston Matthews
If there’s one positive we can take away from this game, it’s that Auston Matthews is officially back, or his wrist is. While it wasn’t his …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

A new theory has emerged about why the Leafs didn’t trade for Nick Jensen

Throughout the 2018-19 season, many Leafs fans were clamouring for the team to acquire then Red Wings defenceman Nick Jensen to help improve the backend. His playstyle appeared to match what Kyle Dubas was looking to add and the asking price was likely going to be reasonably low. A deal between Toronto and Detroit ultimately never materialized and Jensen ended up getting traded to the Capitals at the deadline.
There was a lingering doubt of wonder as to why the Leafs did not go through with a trade to acquire the American defender. Nearly two years after his initial trade to Washington, we now have a better idea as to why:

My third favorite Mike Babcock story:
At the 2019 trade deadline we were discussing bringing in RD Nick Jensen from DET to play on an active, puck-moving 3rd pair with Dermott.
MB essentially said fine, but if we get him then he’ll put Jensen in and sit Dermott.

— Jack Han (@JhanHky) February 24, 2021

Jack Han was formerly a Hockey Operations Assistant and a Player Development Analyst for the the Leafs, so he would have had the first-hand experience of what went on behind the scenes. The basic takeaway is that Mike …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Leafs put Scott Sabourin on waivers, which means they signed him

In what may be the first of many moves to deal with the run of injuries on the Leafs, the Leafs put Scott Sabourin on waivers…

Waivers: Scott Sabourin (TOR)
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 7, 2021

The thing is, Sabourin wasn’t previously signed to the Leafs, he had a deal with the Marlies. Putting him on waivers means it’s a SPC contract now and if he clears waivers he’s eligible to join the Leafs.

Sabourin’s biggest claim to fame is getting owned by Auston Matthews, so that’s great. Beyond that Scott is a long time AHL tough guy who got 35 games on a bad Senators team last year. He picked up 6 points and 33 PIMs.
Sabourin would potentially replace some of the physical and enforcer qualities of Wayne Simmonds game, but not much else. Depending on their opponent they may want that some nights. We don’t have the contract info yet, but we’ll assume it’s not more than $700k.

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation