Maple Leafs prepare for a revenge game as the Penguins arrive with reinforcements

As some Leafs fans (and many more Leafs haters) may remember, the last time that Toronto faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins ended in the Maple Leafs getting thoroughly embarrassed in a way that they hadn’t since… well, seven games prior when they collapsed in the playoffs.
Regardless of the narrative around any NHL team however, a 7-1 loss is never acceptable, which is why tonight’s rematch is one that Toronto should have had circled on their calendars since the plight in PPG Paints Arena that occurred exactly four weeks ago. Since that loss, Toronto has won ten of twelve games, quickly becoming the NHL hottest team and will look to continue that momentum tonight with the idea of a revenge game serving as extra motivation against a team that beat them down so hard most of the fanbase was calling for trades and firings.
However, the Penguins arrival in Toronto is one that comes with reinforcements. Captain Sidney Crosby as well top six forwards Jeff Carter, Bryan Rust and first pairing defenceman Kris Letang have all returned to the Pittsburgh lineup in the time since these two teams last faced off against each other. Adding that much …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Finding the Next Marcus Semien

As we enter the offseason it appears all the more likely that the Blue Jays will lose Marcus Semien in free agency.

Reports indicate he wants to head back out West to be closer to his family and go back to his natural position of shortstop, neither of which the Blue Jays can offer. Semien who finished the season with 6.6 WAR and a top-three MVP finish will be incredibly difficult to replace. Having George Springer healthy for a full season will help but the Blue Jays need to find another player to fill the hole left by Semien.
The Blue Jays were able to get Semien as Oakland didn’t want to pay him after he had a down 2020 season. Even though it was just 60 games and Semien had an incredible 2019 season. There were some doubts that his 2019 season was real. To find the next Marcus Semien here is a list of players who had down 2021 seasons, and are prime bounce-back candidates for 2022.
The Young Players: Cody Bellinger and Gleyber Torres
We will start with two players who the Blue Jays are unlikely to acquire given their age and cost, but still need to be mentioned. Bellinger, the 2019 National League …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors: Drake’s preseason broadcasting was awesome, as expected

Raptors: Drake’s preseason broadcasting was awesome, as expected

The Toronto Raptors are lucky to have one of the more visible celebrity superfans on their payroll, as “global ambassador” Drake can be seen frequently roaming the courtside seats when the squad is in town for home games. He made his first appearance in over a year during a preseason victory against the Houston Rockets. […]
Raptors: Drake’s preseason broadcasting was awesome, as expected – 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: Precious Achiuwa is the key to unlocking this offense

Toronto Raptors: Precious Achiuwa is the key to unlocking this offense

One of the more unique players on the Toronto Raptors at this moment in time is center Precious Achiuwa, who ended up in Canada as one of the crown jewels of the Kyle Lowry swap. Achiuwa was brought to Toronto with the expectation that Nick Nurse could give him the shot in the arm he […]
Toronto Raptors: Precious Achiuwa is the key to unlocking this offense – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #5 Jake Muzzin

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #5 Jake Muzzin

In a shocking twist of fate, as some of our more loyal readers may have gleaned based on our countdown, the Toronto Maple Leafs most valuable defenceman going into this season is not one of their top pair staples in Morgan Rielly or T.J. Brodie. Instead, that distinction, as voted on by our Maple Leafs experts at The Leafs Nation, belongs to none other than Jake Muzzin.
The 32 year old left handed defenseman has done nothing but impress in his time with the Maple Leafs since his acquisition back in January 2019. While this will somewhat surprisingly be his first full campaign with the hockey club, there’s little doubt in our minds that the tools Jake Muzzin brings are uniquely special to this team. 
Throughout his career, Muzzin has blended a strong analytical toolkit with some of the most hard nosed, old-school hockey that the league has to offer and as such he has endeared himself to young and old fans alike. It’s no accident that one of our writers had Muzzin ranked as highly as 2nd in terms of his value to the Maple Leafs. Muzzin is a staple of this team’s defence core, and unquestionably …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Scottie Barnes has made one major change to his game

Raptors: Scottie Barnes has made one major change to his game

The Toronto Raptors were more than thrilled with their selection of Scottie Barnes over expected No. 4 pick Jalen Suggs in the 2021 NBA Draft because of his ability to handle multiple roles on the offensive end and his potential to become an elite defender very early into his career. However, if there is one […]
Raptors: Scottie Barnes has made one major change to his game – 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 time to try Ilya Mikheyev with Matthews and Marner

It’s time to try Ilya Mikheyev with Matthews and Marner

Only one more day until the Toronto Maple Leafs announce their training camp roster. It’s come very quickly, I know.
With it approaching so fast, I thought this would be my last chance to give my thoughts on what could be an intriguing idea. I’ll be honest — it’s different.
When you look back at last season, one of the big storylines was Ilya Mikheyev and his production. Starting his NHL career, he was a 0.58 points-per-game player. That was enough for Kyle Dubas to give him a contract at $1.645 million for two years. And since signing that contract, it’s safe to say that Mikheyev hasn’t lived up to it.
After sustaining a wrist laceration in December of 2019, it was clear to provide him with a free pass for the near future. A lot of fans appeared to do that.
Coming into the 2020-21 season, though, it was time for a change. And looking back at it now, people didn’t get one.
Mikheyev struggled to score last season, only beating a goaltender seven times in 54 games. The 26-year-old was coming from the KHL, where he scored 23 goals in his final 62 games.
He finished off the 2021 season …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Ben Simmons trade value dropping is good news for Toronto

Raptors: Ben Simmons trade value dropping is good news for Toronto

The Philadelphia 76ers might be more well-equipped for a title run than the Toronto Raptors on paper, but the Sixers have been saddled with some misfortune after star point guard Ben Simmons has reportedly requested a trade. While it’s easy to crack jokes about his inability to shoot, Simmons is still a top-flight point guard. […]
Raptors: Ben Simmons trade value dropping is good news for Toronto – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Notes and quotes from Day 1 of Leafs development camp

One day down, three more to go. With medicals finished up Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp group hit the ice for the first time on Friday for an “on-ice development” session.
Firstly, four players were not in attendance for various reasons. From David Alter, Joseph Duszak (foot) and Riley McCourt (shoulder) were unavailable due to injury, while Colby Saganiuk was feeling unwell. No update was given on Lukas Gustafsson.
The available prospects and invites were split into Team Blue and Team White, giving us an idea of the two rosters that will compete during Saturday’s first scrimmage.

Team Blue
Forwards
Defencemen
Goaltenders
Mikhail Abramov
Lleyton Moore
Taylor Gauthier
Ryan Del Monte
Matteo Pietroniro
Keith Petruzzelli
Curtis Douglas
Sam Sedley
Ian Scott
James Hardie
Vincent Sévigny

Braeden Kressler
William Villeneuve

Jeremy McKenna

Cédric Paré

Nick Robertson

Théo Rochette

Lawson Sherk

Team White
Forwards
Defencemen
Goaltenders
Brett Budgell
Landon Cato
Braden Holt
Ryan Chyzowski
Jacob Guévin
Erik Källgren
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
Noel Hoefenmayer

Francesco Lapenna

Christian Fitzgerald
Filip Král

Jordan Frasca
Ethan Peters

Pavel Gogolev

Joe Miller

Alex Steeves

Ty Voit

Notable combinations include:
Potential Marlies line of Nicholas Robertson, Mikhail Abramov, and Jeremy McKenna on Team Blue
Lots …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: 3 free agents fans should be relieved Masai Ujiri didn’t chase

Raptors: 3 free agents fans should be relieved Masai Ujiri didn’t chase

The Toronto Raptors were one of the more active teams this offseason, as they acquired Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in a trade with the Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry in one of the more memorable sign-and-trade moves we’ve seen in some time. They were a somewhat major player in free agency as well. Toronto […]
Raptors: 3 free agents fans should be relieved Masai Ujiri didn’t chase – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ