What’s going right and what’s going wrong for the Leafs a quarter of the way through the season

What’s going right and what’s going wrong for the Leafs a quarter of the way through the season

The Leafs season has reached the quarter mark, and it’s been quintessentially Leafy. The Leafs stunk up October, reminded us that they are for real in November, and along the way have had five of their key defensemen and both of their NHL goaltenders miss a significant amount of time. In the spirit of the season being 1/4 over, I’ve asked the TLN crew what is their biggest positive and negative of the season so far. Here are their answers.
Scott Ony
The biggest positive for me has been the play of John Tavares. I expected him to be a massive disappointment this season but he has been a pleasant surprise and is on pace for his most points since his first season in Toronto. I thought the speed of the game would pass him by but he just does all the little things right and continues to rack up the points.
Although he has played fairly well in his four games the biggest disappointment is Matt Murray. Who would have thought a goalie who hasn’t made more than 30 starts since 2019-20 would run into injury issues? If he can somehow manage to stay healthy the move to acquire him might look okay but at this point, it’s a huge miss.
Bennett Jull
The b …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Hot starts for Horvat and Robertson, Blues lose eight straight: NHL Notebook

Hot starts for Horvat and Robertson, Blues lose eight straight: NHL Notebook

We are just over a month into the NHL season and there are a couple players that have been exceeding expectations and a team that’s playing its way into the Bedard sweepstakes.
Bo Horvat and Jason Robertson have been single handily winning games for the Canucks and Stars. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues are in the midst of their longest regulation losing streak in franchise history.
Bo Horvat
A few months ago Canucks fans were saying this guy isn’t even worth 6M per year. Well, now he’s second in the NHL in goals. With four multi-goal games in his last five he’s now at 12 on the year in just 13 games.
It’s a contract year for the Canucks captain and he’s playing his way out of their price range. His 16 points in 13 games have him on pace to shatter his career high of 61 set back in 2018-19. They chose to lock up JT Miller for seven more years instead of their captain whose two years younger and it looks like they’re going to regret it.
Unless they buy out Oliver Ekman-Larsson or trade one of Tyler Myers or Conor Garland it’s looking like Horvat will be play …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: O.G. Anunoby makes history with insane defensive skills

Raptors: O.G. Anunoby makes history with insane defensive skills

The Toronto Raptors have had a solid season start and have a 5-4 record after Friday night. The base of this early season success has been built on a rock-solid defense. The biggest reason behind the Raptors being so solid on that end of the court has been the play of O.G. Anunoby. The British […]
Raptors: O.G. Anunoby makes history with insane defensive skills – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Sourav Mahanty / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays, Position by Position: The starting pitching conundrum and how the Jays may have to fill two spots

As we learned this season, pitching is crucial

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the Jays had a solid pitching core in 2022, both with starters and the bullpen. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t concerns heading into the 2023 season, especially with a few spots in the rotation.
Let’s look at who’s penciled in, which pitchers are depth pieces, and which prospects could impact the Jays in the 2023 season.
Side note: I’m not including Hyun-Jin Ryu in this article. There’s an outside chance he’ll be able to pitch in the back end of the season, but I find it super unlikely. Would be nice to get the 2020 form of Ryu though.
Penciled in starters for the 2023 season:
There are three starters that are already penciled into the rotation. I think it’s likely another one will come via trade, while they’ll sign a fifth starter. Here’s the rotation as it stands:
Starter 1: Alek Manoah
Starter 2: Kevin Gausman
Starter 3: N/A
Starter 4: Jose Berrios
Starter 5: N/A
Swingman/Longman: Yusei Kikuchi/Mitch White/Casey Lawerence
So as you can see, the #3 spot in the rotation will have to be filled (likely via trade), while the #5 spot could be filled via signing, or by way of Yusei Kikuchi or Mitch White.
2022 starters, a flashback:
Thankfully enough, starting pitching wasn’t really a problem for the 2022 Blue Jays. They had two aces, a pitcher who pitched well two-thirds of the time, and a hero that stepped up when the team needed him most. Granted, they also lost a lot of games because of a lack of a fifth starter, but it wouldn’t have changed muc …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Where does Christian Koloko fit in the Toronto Raptors rotation?

Where does Christian Koloko fit in the Toronto Raptors rotation?

Five games into the season, the Toronto Raptors have seen some truly inspiring play from early second-round rookie Christian Koloko. The 7-1, 230-pound Arizona big man has brought energy, intensity, and highlight blocks to a Raptors defense that has struggled at times to cover cutting lanes and limit paint points. An expected project, Koloko is […]
Where does Christian Koloko fit in the Toronto Raptors rotation? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Tyler Hedmann / Raptors HQ

Raptors’ Pascal Siakam outdueling Joel Embiid should put NBA on notice

Raptors’ Pascal Siakam outdueling Joel Embiid should put NBA on notice

The Toronto Raptors started the season 2-2 despite tons of matchups against playoff contenders, thanks to a tremendous start to the season from Pascal Siakam. Taking down a rival in the division like the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Joel Embiid and James Harden, required nothing short of an elite performance from No. 43. In the […]
Raptors’ Pascal Siakam outdueling Joel Embiid should put NBA on notice – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Nets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Oct. 21

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Nets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Oct. 21

The Toronto Raptors started off the season at 1-0, beating up on the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth quarter thanks to a balanced effort from all five starters. However, the latest Toronto Raptors odds aren’t feeling the same level of optimism fans are. The Brooklyn Nets started the season as poorly as possible, as […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Nets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Oct. 21 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Key injuries, Kuznetsov suspended and Sharks eyeing Bedard: NHL Notebook

Key injuries, Kuznetsov suspended and Sharks eyeing Bedard: NHL Notebook

Less than two weeks into the regular season and injuries are already piling up. Over the last week several key players hit their respective injured lists, a Washington Capitals forward was suspended, and the San Jose Sharks took the lead in the race for Connor Bedard.
Landeskog knee surgery
The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche will be without their captain Gabriel Landeskog for the next 12 weeks after his second knee surgery of the year. He missed the last quarter of the 2021-22 season for the same reason before joining the team for their playoff run.
He was held out of the first three games with a lower body injury and ultimately they decided another surgery was necessary.
Red Wings injuries
Tyler Bertuzzi will miss the next four to six weeks after blocking a shot against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. This a massive blow for a young Wings team with playoff aspirations. Bertuzzi was second on the team with 62 points last season.
His teammate Jakub Vrana is also away from the team for personal reasons. There has been no timetable given for his return. Detroit will need depth players to step up with the absence of two top-six forwards. Pius Suter and Filip Zadina have joined the lineup after being healthy scratches early on.
Ekblad groin s …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

It’s the beginning of a new hockey season, meaning it’s the best possible time for overreacting. Is your team undefeated? They’re a cup contender. Winless? Better hunker down for a long season of watching Connor Bedard highlights and playing draft lottery simulators. Of course, we all know it’s ridiculous to draw conclusions about anything based on the beginning of the season. This is especially true for the Leafs, as their season will be judged on playoff performance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean early games are entirely meaningless. Getting off to a good start is essential, setting the tone for a long 82-game season. But just how meaningful are early season games? How difficult is it to overcome a slow start? To hold on to standings position after a hot start? Let’s take a look at some teams in recently who show us some answers.
We’ll start by going six years back, to the 2016-17 season, taking a look at the three most recent seasons that were on a “normal schedule” unaffected by the pandemic. Taking a look at the standings on December 1st, the Montreal Canadiens sat atop the Eastern conference, while the Chicago Blackhawks had the top spot in the West. By the en …

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Author: Jaden Ho / The Leafs Nation

How deep will the Panthers go this year?

How deep will the Panthers go this year?

Overview:
The Florida Panthers finished last season with 122 points. An incredible achievement that unfortunately did not translate to similar playoff success. The President’s trophy means far less than winning the Stanley Cup, but the Cats were certainly dominant in the regular season last year. A different roster with some major player alterations looks to have the Panthers declining this year, at least over 82 games.
Stats from last year:
Atlantic Standing: 1/8
Points: 122 (1st)
CF%: 56.36% (1st)
GF%: 57.52% (4th)
PP%: 24.4% (5th)
PK%: 79.5% (16th)
There is obviously an outlier here, the PK will be a point of emphasis. Everything else is obviously outstanding.
Internal Moves:
Paul Maurice takes over as bench boss this year. Florida lost a lot of players over the off season, and brought in many new faces to replace them. It will be interesting to see the dynamic of many new faces mixing with some old ones, all under a new coach. How quickly Maurice gets everyone up to speed will be a major part of their success this year.
Spencer Knight signed a 3 year, $13.5M dollar extension. How will Florida handle the crease this year? Is Knight ready to take a jump forward and demand more ice time from Sergei Bobrovsky? Bobrovksy’s fo …

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Author: Bennett Jull / The Leafs Nation