John Tavares looks like he could make Team Canada and the impact of Leafs at the Olympics

It’s safe to say the amount of Olympic talk has increased. Whether it’s because of COVID concerns largely stemming from the Senators outbreak, the threat of a US boycott of the games that would likely be followed by other nations like Canada, or whether it’s the good old fashioned speculation that comes with assessing lineups based off of play this year instead of previous years, people seem to be talking about the Olympics.
Let’s start with the John Tavares story. Tavares very much seemed like a bubble player or someone who could find his way into the Team Canada fold through injuries to other Canadian forwards, but things have shifted slightly, in a couple of different ways. The first being that John Tavares was selected as the model for Team Canada’s Olympic fashion, something that is largely due to the fact that he is a former Olympian, but still there isn’t a shortage of former Olympians around, and this could speak to the Hockey Canada brass’ continued preference towards going with experience, leadership, as well as I’m sure the marketability of having the Leafs captain on their roster doesn’t hurt things like …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Digging into late-round pick Nick Fraze’s strong season with Vancouver

It’s safe to say that most late round picks of the MLB draft don’t make it to their respective team’s top 30 prospects, much less make a name for themselves in the big leagues. Toronto Blue Jays’ 22nd round pick from 2019, Nick Fraze, is well on his way to breaking into the former, with the potential to make the latter. We’ll get to that, firstly, let’s go over the history of 22nd round picks and their success in the big leagues.

If you were to give me a list of baseball players picked in the 22nd round since 1965, I can name you 1409 players. 114 of which played a game in the MLB and only 22 of those players have a Wins Above Replacement over 4. A player picked in the 22nd round has a 1.6% chance of becoming impactful.
Furthermore, there is a possibility that some of these players were drafted out of high school and decided to go to College to raise their stock, such as Aaron Nola, who was picked 7th overall three years later. The most notable of players who didn’t get re-drafted are John Smoltz, who had a bWAR of 69, nice, Andy Piettitte, Jeff Fassero, …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Dusty Imoo will not be joining the Toronto Marlies

Dusty Imoo will not be joining the Toronto Marlies

It’s safe to say that this was news that we hoped to see. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies choosing to walk the walk and adhere to their organizational values instead of hoping to sweep an unfortunate hiring under the rug.

pic.twitter.com/MxaIJq0gTx
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) August 10, 2021

Dusty Imoo, who last week was best known as the guy who helped Jack Campbell find his game, was initially greeted with open arms by people like myself, in fact I wrote a glowing post about his addition to the organization. That glowing view of him was quickly erased when I received a DM asking me to take a look at Dusty’s now deactivated twitter account. An account that littered with anti-vaccination, insurrectionist, transphobic, homophobic, and racist tweets liked by Dusty Imoo. And a few, if you went back far enough of his own tweets that are questionable as well.
For an organization that has taken the Get Uncomfortable pledge, has hosted the largest day of vaccinations, and claims that Hockey is for Everyone, the move to rid themselves of a coach who contrasting values makes perfect sense, and we’re happy to see it.
The fact …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs take 7 of 8 points in Alberta – Rate That Leafs Game

It’s safe to say that Connor McDavid stole the show against his hometown team once again. The Toronto Maple Leafs playing in their fourth game in Alberta couldn’t find a way to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in overtime. The good news — they took 7 of 8 points on the road, which is brilliant.
Auston Matthews scored once again, adding to his now five-game goal streak. William Nylander scored for the second-straight game. Mikko Lehtonen also got his first NHL point on a power play goal from Zach Hyman.
But the Maple Leafs lost. And the only reason they did is because of the reverse retro jerseys, which they wore in this game. No other reasons at all.
A great road trip with a sign of growth from the Toronto Maple Leafs. And more importantly, another fun video by me. Enjoy!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Marcus Stroman tees off on the Blue Jays’ front office for missing out on Lindor

I think it’s safe to say Marcus Stroman still has beef with the Blue Jays’ front office.

Shortly after word broke that Francisco Lindor, a top off-season target of the Blue Jays, had been acquired by the New York Mets, Stroman took to Twitter to let everybody know that his former employer was getting outdone by his current team. The post has since been deleted, so props to the guys over at JaysJournal for catching it…
That front office will never build the team they should around their unbelievable core of young players…it’s a travesty!
This angst Stroman has towards the Blue Jays’ front office is nothing new. Back in 2019 after he was traded to the Mets, Rob Longley reported that there was a “loud commotion” inside the team’s room and that Stroman’s reaction to learning the news “wasn’t pretty.”
Shortly after, Stroman criticized Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, suggesting that they got rid of everyone from the 2015 and 2016 teams to start their own regime while also complaining that he had never been offered a contract extension despite his accomplishments.
“Nobody’s left,” Stroman said. “It seems like [management] wanted to get rid of …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs By the Numbers: William Nylander

It’s safe to say that William Nylander had a big year in 2019-20. Going into the season, he was facing a lot of scrutiny for his 2018-19 season, which saw him sit out for the first third of it in a contract negotiation, struggle to get back up to speed in the second third, and then finally regain form in the final third, but was never really given a shot to prove it. He responded with a career year, blowing his career high in goals out of the water with a 31 goal season, and falling just two points short of matching his career high in points (although his pace through a full 82 games would’ve been 71 points).
The biggest difference for him was having a coach who actually trusted him, and gave him significantly better minutes than his 2018-19 season, especially with his power play usage. His 2:53 PP TOI/game was the highest of his career, significantly more than his previous high of 2:21, and would’ve resulted in an almost 50 minute increase in his totals had he played a full 82 games. Another reason for his career year was how he changed his game, and went to the net a …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

What’s next for Nate Pearson?

It’s safe to say that the start to Nate Pearson’s big-league career hasn’t gone as planned.

After a great debut in Washington in which he tossed five shutout frames against the defending World Series champions, Pearson has struggled in three consecutive starts. Most notably, his command has been all over the grid, as he’s walked 12 batters across 16 1/3 innings.

Pearson is obviously aware of what the issue is here. Rather than attacking hitters with his elite stuff, he’s trying too hard to paint the zone and aim his pitches for strikes. In his effort to ensure he’s not all over the place, Pearson ends up grooving pitches into the middle of the zone that big-league hitters can feast on.
“I’ve been forcing myself to make these pinpoint pitches from the first pitch and then I get behind in the count,” Pearson said before his start in Baltimore. “It’s all about getting ahead for me right now and filling up the zone.”
On Wednesday, the Blue Jays placed Pearson on the 10-day Injured List with elbow tightness. Though Ross Atkins had a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Top Leafs Outside the NHL: #3 Nic Petan

It’s safe to say that Nic Petan is another player who benefited in his rankings from the NHL readiness criteria, over potential upside. He’s certainly shown that he’s too good for the AHL, but interestingly enough when he’s played in the NHL, the results have consistently been underwhelming. Petan seems to be the ultimate tweener, and heir apparent to the Seth Griffith legacy of being just good enough that you’d hate to see him lost on waivers for nothing, but not good enough that you want to see him in the lineup every night.
Last season Nic Petan had 16 games in the NHL and put up 3 points. This is noteworthy since his time in the AHL says he’ll be an offensive contributor and with 31 points in 25 games with the Marlies last season, he had the highest points per game pace. He was given a chance to play an offensive role in a number of situations, Spezza, and Kapanen were two of his most frequent linemates, but Gauthier was his also in that mix. He had the opportunity to play with Tavares, and Matthews as well, in hopes that …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Madness: Final Four

It’s safe to say the voyage to the Final Four to determine the greatest fan favourite Leaf has gone exactly as expected. Sundin, Matthews, Bower, and Clark are all names you’d expect to see here. Beating out Gilmour, Sittler, and Keon to do so wasn’t a particularly easy thing to do, but here we are.
We have one multi Stanley Cup winner, but he’s the only cup winner on the list. In fact, Bower is the hardware King of the group, as he also has a pair of Vezinas to his name.
Mats Sundin leads the way with the most All-Star appearances, and has a Mark Messier Leadership award to his name. Both he and Bower are also in the Hall of Fame, so there’s that too.
Wendel Clark is a two time All-Star and one of three first overall draft picks on the list, one of two with the selections being made by the Leafs. Like Matthews, he had a great pace for hitting 50 goals, but never got there, making Sundin officially the only 50 goal guy left in the bracket.
As for Matthews. Well, the story isn’t …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs beat Tampa. Here’s to feeling good all the time

It’s safe to say the Leafs needed this one. It’s also safe to say the Leafs need to be consistently playing like they can beat their likely first round playoff opponent, but consistency is a problem for another day, and for now we can enjoy the Leafs outlasting the Lightning in a 2-1 victory.
It was a victory achieved through star power, as Matthews and Nylander continued to build on their impressive goal totals, both Tavares and Marner chipped in with 2 assists, Freddie Andersen, and even Rielly managed 21 minutes of ice time in a game we didn’t know he’d be in until this morning.

Vasilevskiy went one way, and Nylander capitalized pic.twitter.com/xpdsO9AVCf
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 10, 2020

The Road to 50 continues!
Auston Matthews puts the Leafs up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/Quz2Rgy7ZL
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2020
Period
CF
CA
CF%
HDCF
HDCA
HDCF%
xGF
xGA
xGF%

1

23
14
62.16%
5
0
100%
1.45
0.27
84.09%
2
10
9
52.63%
2
5
28.57%
0.21
0.7
23.05%
3
17
21
44.74%
2
5
28.57%
0.52
0.66
43.91%
Final
50
44
53.19%
9
10
47.37%
2.18
1.64
57.09%
via naturalstattrick.com
If we’re going to pump the breaks on the good times, the Leafs had a very strong start that tapered off as the game went on. Also, while acknowledging that goals are goals, the Leafs …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation