Oilers dummy the new look Leafs 5-2: Game highlights

There’s not much good to say about Wednesday’s game. The Oilers led the game from start to finish. Connor McDavid did Connor McDavid things. Below are the highlights from the game.
McDavid opened the scoring as Jake McCabe sat for slashing. He worked a give and go with Leon Draisaitl and scored his ninth goal in his last four plus games…

McDavid capitalizes early on the power play to put the Oilers up by one!🔥 pic.twitter.com/exJBnCXh9n
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 2, 2023

The Leafs evened it up later in the first. Cody Ceci turned it over on the wall and Mitch Marner found David Kampf to make it 1-1…

¯_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/qtYJ6MDRW9
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 2, 2023

McDavid did it again a few minutes later. Another highlight reel goal. Five straight multi-goal games for 97. 2-1 Oilers…

That’s five consecutive two goal games for Connor McDavid! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/yWPjmuEobL
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 2, 2023

Zach Hyman cleaned up his own rebound to make it 3-1. Three point period for McDavid. First point as an Oiler for Mattias Ekholm…

Hyman goes to work against his former squad! 👷‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/VooF2D1vp9
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 2, 2023

The Oilers dominance continued in the second period. Ilya Samsonov made a huge stop on Hyman in tight to keep the Leafs within two…

another strong pad save from Samsonov pic.twitter.com/fBgYWGNxQb
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 2, 2023

The two goal lead didn’t last long. Kailer Yamamoto tipped in the Ceci point shot to make it 4-1…

Kailer Yamamoto re-directs it
4-1 pic.twitter.com/H9EGKteDjW
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 2, 2023

The Oilers extended their lead again before the end of the second. Ryan McLeod walked TJ Brodie on the 2-1 and fed Klim Kostin. 5-1…

this game is a runaway. klim kostin extends the oilers’ lead to 5-1. pic.twitter.com/UYUEXscSzn
— zach (@zjlaing) March 2, 2023

Mitch Marner got the comeback started with a powerplay goal early in the third. He took the Morgan Rielly pass and wired a wrister past Stuart Skinner to cut the lead to three…

Marns gets us one back! pic.twitter.com/EtQVKzpGa9
— Toronto Mapl …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Spring Training 2023: A look at Blue Jays’ upcoming roster battles

Following a productive off-season, much of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 26-man roster has been already set as team workouts begin at the franchise’s Player Development Complex this week, leaving few roster battles to be decided. But there are still a few spots up for grabs ahead of Saturday’s spring training opener versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Blue Jays have the next four-plus weeks to polish the edges around their big-league roster, determining which players will fly north with them ahead of Opening Day and which will be assigned to the minor leagues. It will almost certainly be challenging to decipher between the good and the bad, though.
As with every spring training, player performances have to be taken with a grain of salt during this time of the year as they can often be misleading – think last season’s Greg Bird, who slashed .261/.393/.565 with two home runs in 23 at-bats before being cut by the team. Evaluating small sample sizes for hitters can often be difficult, especially when they’re facing pitchers just looking to get their reps in and vice-versa.
Luckily for Toronto, manager John Schneider likely won’t be forced to make many tough roster decisions out of the gate. That is, of cour …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Raptors 905 G League roundup: Best performances vs. Westchester Knicks

Raptors 905 G League roundup: Best performances vs. Westchester Knicks

Much like the Toronto Raptors, G League squad Raptors 905 have seen individually brilliant performances overshadowed by what the kids are calling a “mid” record. Raptors 905 sits at 9-8 despite constantly getting pumped full of NBA-level reinforcements. 905 split a series against the Westchester Knicks, who it may not surprise you to learn are […]
Raptors 905 G League roundup: Best performances vs. Westchester Knicks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Recency bias and the trade deadline

Recency bias and the trade deadline

It’s not often that you hear much praise for recency bias, but I’ll make the argument that coming into the trade deadline it might be one of those times you lean into it a little. After all, would you rather bring in someone who is riding a heater or someone who has significantly seen the performance fall off, and then you are crossing your fingers that they’ll come back around at the right time? I think the correct answer is you want someone who has been consistent and performing at a rate they can sustain, but alas Erik Karlsson is expensive and there is only one Timo Meier out there.
Really the hope with this exercise is less about panicking about those who have fallen off, and more about identifying players who are in the process of getting back on track to where they should be. I’d share the data table and then share a few players that stood out to me when looking at which trade targets have performed the best since January 1st.

So first of all, so explainers on the data. The data from the left up to P/60 is all situation data, after that looking at the On Ice numbers for CF, GF, and xG are all looking at 5v5. The numbers highlighted in blue are the top ten players on the list in that category.
The first thing that stands out to me are two players who are certainly finding their game of late. Brock Boeser might not be scoring goals at the rate you’d hope to see from him yet, but he is picking up points, and his 15 points in 18 games certainly illustrate that he can be a lower cost to acquire addition to the top s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

How much grit does the backline have?

How much grit does the backline have?

Last week we examined how much grit the Maple Leafs had up front. A day later, Dryden Hunt was placed on waivers (went unclaimed and has since played games with the Marlies), while Pontus Holmberg and Joey Anderson were called up. Both of them made positive contributions to the forward group last week. With just over a month to go before the trade deadline, the musical chairs in the bottom 6 will continue.
As the Leafs d-core nears full health (Brodie returned from injury last game, and Victor Mete is back skating), let’s take a look at the grit (or perhaps lack thereof) the Leafs currently have compared with what they had in the playoffs last season. There are many familiar faces this season, and some have continued to develop at impressive rates.
Morgan Rielly, Mark Giordano, and TJ Brodie each played 7 games last spring against Tampa Bay, while Justin Holl played 5. Combined, the four defencemen averaged 2 hits per game. Barring any injuries or trades (Holl is the only one that could possibly move), the four veterans of the group are each firmly part of Sheldon Keefe’s top 6 and they’ll be in the lineup for game 1 of the playoffs. We shou …

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Author: Bennett Jull / The Leafs Nation

There was mutual interest in Ross Stripling re-signing, plus digging into his Blue Jays tenure!

It was pretty much a given that the Jays and Ross Stripling had a mutual interest in the pitcher returning.

Although he ended up signing a two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, his decision was between the Giants and the Toronto Blue Jays.  
According to this article from The Star by Mike Wilner, there were a few reasons why he chose San Francisco. The biggest reason was that the Giants were willing to give him an opt-out after one year, which gives the player a ton of leverage.
The other reason was that a day prior to Stripling signing with the Giants, the Jays signed free agent Chris Bassitt to a three-year, $63 million deal. Despite getting their #3 in the rotation, the Jays still had an interest in re-signing Stripling.
In my opinion, this very well could mean that the Jays aren’t done with looking to improve their rotation. Adding a fifth starter such as Johnny Cueto (who they’ve been linked to) or Corey Klueber.
However, let’s look at Ross Stripling’s career as a Blue Jay:
A Ross Stripling retrospect:
The Jays traded for Ross Stripling on August 31st, 2020 at the plague year deadline. They sent then Top 30 prospects Kendall Williams and Ryan Noda (who was recently selected in the Rule 5 draft) to acquire the swingman. Let’s look at his season-by-season numbers with the Jays.
In the short time after the trade, Stripling posted a 6.32 ERA and 3.70 FIP in 15.2 innings pitched. His K …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays can afford to remain patient as focus shifts to improving offensive ceiling

Much of the off-season for the Toronto Blue Jays thus far has been dedicated to run prevention, but after improving their outfield defence and pitching staff, the focus will shift to run creation heading into the 2023 season.
Yes, that is correct, general manager Ross Atkins has added another buzzword to his arsenal, although its meaning will be just as crucial as the former.
The Blue Jays have improved their roster from the end of last season, however, the loss of Teoscar Hernández still has yet to be addressed. At least, not from an offensive standpoint. And that, in particular, is what Atkins plans to prioritize moving forward.
“Now we’ll shift to offensive improvements,” Atkins said to local reporters as the team officially introduced free agent Chris Bassitt on Monday. “We’ll continue to think about raising our ceiling in that area.”
Even after signing Kevin Kiermaier in free agency, the team is still looking to add another outfielder to go along with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and George Springer, as they should. After all, it is not like Kiermaier can be expected to match Hernández’s 2022 output (129 wRC+) when the left-hander – who owns a career 97 wRC+ – is best known for his elite defence.
Atkins’ comments also sugge …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Another excellent Ross Stripling start earns the Blue Jays the series victory over the Rays

This season, it’s been comical how much the Blue Jays have struggled against pitchers with elevated ERAs. Kyle Bradish of the Orioles, Tucker Davidson of the Angels, and several others have had their way with Toronto while carrying ERAs north of 5.

Conversely, the Blue Jays have been really good against some of the league’s best. Gerrit Cole has struggled against Toronto this season, Santiago Espinal and Bradley Zimmer hit back-to-back home runs against Justin Verlander back in April, and even Zach Wheeler allowed six runs to this Blue Jays team.
So it would make sense that after struggling against Cooper Criswell earlier this week, it would only be right that the Blue Jays would chase Drew Rasmussen from his start tonight after only four innings of work. Rasmussen came into tonight owning a 2.57 ERA, allowing no more than three runs in each of his last 12 starts.
The Blue Jays offense didn’t let Rasmussen get in a groove, and they backed another stellar Ross Stripling start as the Blue Jays defeated Tampa Bay 5-1 tonight, clinching a series victory regardless of what happens tomorrow.
We’re starting to run out of adjectives to describe how well Stripling has pitched for Toronto this season, and you’d have to think the better he pitches down the stretch, …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Bo Bichette’s three-RBI performance leads Blue Jays to 4-1 victory over Pirates

The Toronto Blue Jays are a much deeper team when Bo Bichette is at his best. Everyone was reminded of that Saturday night at PNC Park.
After shutting out the Pirates 4-0 a night ago, the Blue Jays desperately needed to replicate that success during the second game of this three-game set. The only problem, though, is that they were held in check by right-hander Roansy Contreras, who was making just his 14th career major-league start.
Contreras completed six innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five batters. His only blemish came in the fourth inning when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. delivered an RBI double, driving home Bichette, tying the contest at one run apiece.
Things almost immediately unravelled once the 22-year-old departed, however, as Duane Underwood Jr. surrendered one hit and two walks to load the bases with two outs for Bichette. But, if not for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman’s patient approaches, Toronto’s shortstop wouldn’t have come to the plate in the seventh inning.
And thankfully, Bichette made sure to capitalize on that opportunity, sending a 108.7-m.p.h. laser down into the left field corner, clearing the bases for three much-needed runs.

CLEAR ‘EM, BO pic.twitter.com/bInAJLaD40
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 4, 2022

As you might expect, Bichette was pretty fir …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 102: The rain saves the Blue Jays from a possible sweep in Baltimore

So much for all of those easy wins against the Trash Birds!

The Blue Jays rolled into Baltimore this week and dropped two games to the Orioles. The first was the result of a poor Yusei Kikuchi start and then the second one was the rest of a late-game bullpen meltdown. The sweep was avoided as the skies opened up and the third game was postponed due to rain.
In this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about the surprisingly good Orioles, Blue Jay Murder Ryan Mountcastle, potentially going with a six-man rotation once Ross Stripling is back from injury, and a whole bunch more!
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation