Nick Abruzzese and Matthew Knies officially named to Team USA’s Olympic roster

It’s officially official. Maple Leafs’ prospects Matthew Knies and Nick Abruzzese are headed to Beijing for the 2022 Olympics with Team USA.

Introducing the 25 men headed to Beijing! #WinterOlympics | @TeamUSA
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) January 13, 2022

The two Toronto prospects join 13 other NCAA players on the United States Olympic team. Knies, who’s playing in his first year at the University of Minnesota is averaging a point per game this season (20P in 20GP). The 19-year-old was picked in the second round, 57th overall, in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Maple Leafs.
Abruzzese missed all of last season rehabbing from hip surgery. This season, he’s returned with a bang, scoring 21 points in 13 games (5G, 16A). The 22-year-old was drafted by the Maple Leafs at 124th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Read More

Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Blue Jays add Hagen Danner, Bowden Francis, Zach Logue, and Leo Jimenez to the 40-man roster

The Blue Jays added four prospects to their 40-man roster on Friday, which represented the deadline to protect players from being eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

The prospects are… RHP Hagen Danner, RHP Bowden Francis, LHP Zach Logue, and INF Leo Jimenez. The team also claimed RHP Shaun Anderson off of waivers from the San Diego Padres.
Danner was the Blue Jays’ second-round pick in the 2017 draft. He was originally a catcher, but, after a poor hitting season for the Lansing Lugnuts in Low-A in 2019, the Blue Jays converted him into a pitcher. In his first season on the mound, Danner posted impressive numbers with the High-A Vancouver Canadians, including a 2.02 ERA and 10.6 strikeouts per nine.
Francis is the pitching prospect that the Blue Jays got back in the trade that sent Rowdy Tellez to Milwaukee and Trevor Richards to Toronto. Francis pitched 132 2/3 innings over 25 starts between Double- and Triple-A in 2021, posting a 3.93 ERA all told.
Logue was a ninth-round pick by the Blue Jays in 2017. He had unimpressive numbers in 2019 but saw a velocity uptick after working at the team’s Alternate Training Site in 2020. Logue’s results improved quite a bit in 2021, as he put up a …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs add Evan Cormier on a pro tryout deal

Necessity is a mother. The recent injuries to Leafs prospects Joseph Woll and Ian Scott has thinned out the Leafs net so much that we’re actually seeing Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek split the net in an early preseason game. Not that it’s completely unusual to see that, but I’m sure options would have been appreciated. With the Marlies camp opening soon I’m sure the Leafs would also like to send their probable AHL netminders to work with their team. In that case it’s probably just Källgren making that trip, and today’s signing of Evan Cormier to a pro tryout contract makes that possible.
Let’s start off by saying that Cormier doesn’t really have much of a chance of landing a contract with the Leafs, and honestly even a Marlies contract might be a stretch, but that is going to be dependent on the extent of the injuries to Woll and Scott that determine that. Even then Hutchinson and Källgren is a perfectly fine tandem. Figuring out where Cormier fits in is a mystery, or Newfoundland, which to many of us is a mystery.
As for what the Leafs are …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Baseball America has Gabriel Moreno ranked as the No. 8 prospect in baseball

Baseball America dropped an updated Top 100 prospects list today and it has the Gabriel Moreno Hype Train rolling again.

Despite the fact the young catcher has been out of action due to injury since late June, BA has him ranked as the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball…

BA updated their Top 100 Prospect list today, Jays on the list: 8 Moreno, 57 Pearson, 62 Orevlis, 74 Groshans
— Clint (@_ClintB_) September 13, 2021

This is one hell of a rise for Moreno, who wasn’t ranked in the Top 100 in BA’s first list of 2021 back in January.
In 2019, Moreno played at Low-A Lansing and slashed a very good .280/.337/.485 line over the course of 82 games. As with everyone else, he didn’t play in the minors in 2020 due to COVID-19, but he did have a strong showing in winter ball in Venezuela, producing a 1.111 OPS over 18 games.
This year was really when Moreno broke out as a prospect. In 32 games with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Moreno slashed an absurd .373/.441/.651 line with eight homers and 10 doubles. As I said, his season has been cut short due to injury, but in two games in complex ball in a rehab assignment, Moreno has gone 3-for-4 with a double, which …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #2 Nick Robertson

Coming second on this year’s Top 20 Leafs Prospects list is last year’s #1, Nicholas Robertson.
Robertson, who torched the Ontario Hockey League for more than a goal-per-game in 2019-20, came into the 2020-21 season with a lot of hype and excitement surrounding him. Leafs fans were encouraged to see him keep his head above water in his first NHL stint as he joined the Leafs for their play-in series against Columbus.
Evaluating Robertson’s 2020-21 campaign was challenging, as he had a tough time stringing together long stretches of play between injuries, the Marlies’ COVID hiatus, and spending time watching the Leafs from the press box. When he played, his talent was still noticeable, the work ethic was still abundantly apparent, and he still showed a knack for blowing pucks past goaltenders. However, he played just 27 games of professional hockey last year, which did not give us much runway to work with to assess his progression.
Position: Left Forward
Age: 19 (20 on September 11)
Height: 5’9
Weight: 164 lbs
Drafted: 53rd Overall, 2019 NHL Draft by The Toronto Maple Leafs
2020-21 Teams: Toronto Marlies, AHL (21GP) | Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL (6GP)
2020 Prospect Ranking: #1
Overview
Robertson, an undersized forward at 5-foot-9, was selected midway through …

Read More

Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

How good are the Leafs prospects relative to other teams?

How good are the Leafs prospects relative to other teams?

As we continue to countdown the Leafs prospects, and get to the players that we are increasingly optimistic about, it’s important we ask ourselves, how good are these players relative to the league and not just to other Leafs prospects?
Take yesterday’s prospect, Nick Abruzzese. We’re all pretty excited about him. I mean he was ranked 8th so we must like him a fair bit, he had a strong first year at Harvard, he compares favourably to other NCAA prospects (although the Ivy League teams rarely face the same level of competition), and despite missing last season to an injury and COVID cancelling the season, he was recently named captain, and he shows a lot of promise. Abruzzese is a Chicago Steel product, and Ryan Hardy knows him well. They use a development program created by Leafs player development guru Darryl Belfry and that should help him too, all of this sounds good, but in reality this is us just really knowing our prospects, liking them, but not playing Abruzzese relative to his prospect peers.
The reality is that Abruzzese is still a longshot. He’ll probably get a contract from the Leafs, he’s a great …

Read More

Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #8 Nick Abruzzese

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #8 Nick Abruzzese

One of my favourite and not-as-well-known prospects in the Leafs’ system is Nick Abruzzese. We at The Leafs Nation love our Nicks, between staff writer Nick Barden, my co-contributor Nick Richard (one of our resident prospect wizards), and some guy named Nick Robertson who might be pretty good, and now Abruzzese, who is a legitimately interesting prospect coming through the ranks.
Now in his draft+4 season, and his junior year with Harvard, Abruzzese is climbing up my list of favourite prospects (and favourite Nicks, watch out Nick Richard!). Here’s his basic information, from Elite Prospects:
Position: Center 
Age: 22
Height: 5’9″ / 175 cm
Weight: 161 lbs / 73 kg
Drafted: By Toronto, 124th overall, 2019 NHL Entry Draft
2020-21 Team: Harvard University Crimson (did not play)
2020 Prospect Ranking: #10
Abruzzese is not well known at this point, and was even less well known when the Leafs drafted as a double-overager in 2019. His main exposure to scouting was his time with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. The Steel have developed a unique training program through Darryl Belfry, who is a specialized hockey trainer who works with some of the league’s biggest stars, including our own Auston Matthews.
Despite being a bit under the radar, he’ …

Read More

Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #12 Veeti Miettinen

There aren’t many Toronto prospects I currently enjoy watching more than Veeti Miettinen. In hindsight, it seems silly that he wasn’t drafted earlier than he was. He’s the largest riser in The Leafs Nation Prospects rankings from 2020 to 2021 and frankly, he deserves it.
I personally ranked Miettinen the highest amongst the TLN writers at number 8. He’s already got an NHL-level shot and the maturity of his overall offensive game is impressive. After a stellar first season, he was chosen to be on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) All-Rookie Team and on the NCHC Second All-Star Team.
Position: RWAge: 19Height: 5’9Weight: 159 lbsDrafted: 2020 6th round, 168th overall2020-2021 Team: St. Cloud State University2020 Prospect Ranking: Honourable Mention
 
Statistical Overview 
Miettinen finished his first season with St. Cloud State with 11 goals and 13 assists in 31 games. He led the team in points and it felt like something big was going to happen each time he stepped on the ice. For the majority of the season, Miettinen was hovering around a point-per-game production and his overall game was growing.

Veeti Miettinen (#29) legitimately looks better every game. Completely takes this shift over before getting an assist.
He’s at 14 points (and counting) …

Read More

Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

Danny Jansen to the Injured List, Riley Adams is called up

One of the Blue Jays’ catching prospects will make his big league debut tonight.

You might have wanted it to be Gabriel Moreno, but it isn’t. It’s Riley Adams, who has been mashing in Triple-A this season. Adams was actually called up earlier this year when Reese McGuire wasn’t yet on the 40-man roster but he never made it into a game.
In a corresponding move, Danny Jansen has been placed on the 10-day Injured List due to the hamstring injury he suffered on Sunday playing Houston.

ROSTER MOVES:
We’ve recalled C Riley Adams, who will wear Number 50 and make his MLB debut tonight
C Danny Jansen (right hamstring strain) placed on 10-day IL pic.twitter.com/vpIqFjbpdw
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 8, 2021

Adams is currently ranked as Toronto’s No. 18 prospect. Here’s what MLB Pipeline has to say about him…
Adams has a rare physical profile for a catcher at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, which led many to question his long-term future behind the plate coming out of the Draft. He’s made strides in that area recently and has a strong arm, but there’s room to improve with his receiving. Adams’ IQ and game management …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays have eight prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100 now

Nobody has more prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100 list than the Blue Jays.

Back in April, BA put out their most recent Top 100 list, which featured Nate Pearson, Austin Martin, Jordan Groshans, Simeon Woods Richardson, Alejandro Kirk, and Orelvis Martinez. Since then, a few prospects around baseball have graduated and two more Blue Jays, Alek Manoah and Gabe Moreno, have made their way into the Top 100.

Gabriel Moreno joins the Top this morning.
Toronto now has 8 Top 100 Prospects.
That’s the most in baseball.
Austin MartinNate PearsonJordan GroshansSimeon Woods RichardsonAlejandro KirkOrelvis MartinezAlek ManoahGabriel Moreno
Full list: https://t.co/UfBZeOOnMf pic.twitter.com/VaxqFrYeJg
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) May 17, 2021

Both Manoah and Moreno are killing it so far this season. Manoah, the team’s first-round pick from the 2019 draft, hasn’t allowed a run in two starts at Triple-A and it seems likely he’ll be called up to the big leagues sooner rather than later. Moreno, who jumped from playing in Low-A in 2019 to Double-A this season, has hit the ground running. The young catcher is 16-for-36 with only seven strikeouts.
The fact the Blue Jays have this many highly-regarded prospects despite recently graduating names like Vlad Jr. and Bo …

Read More

Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation