Report: Marc-Andre Fleury was willing to accept a trade to Toronto

During the 2022 trade deadline, there was plenty of chatter about a trade that the Leafs did not make with Chicago.
The reported deal would have seen Toronto send Petr Mrazek, Matthew Knies, and multiple first-round picks to the Windy City in exchange for Brandon Hagel and Marc-Andre Fleury. While it would have been a pretty solid move for the Leafs, Kyle Dubas ultimately decided against it due to all of the futures involved, especially given that the team wanted to keep Knies in the fold. It also led to some controversy as Dubas publically called out Chicago’s GM Kyle Davidson for leaking details of the trade that fell through.
In the end, Hagel went to the Lightning and Fleury was shipped to the Wild where both were decent enough but were unable to help bring their respective teams to the promised land. The Hagel ship has all but sailed as he remains under contract for another year at $1.5 million and should likely get an extension with Tampa Bay in 2023.
Fleury, on the other hand, is set to become a UFA after finishing a three-year contract that paid him $7 million a season and there are no clear signs that he would want to stay in Minnesota. And should he hit the open market, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Leafs could be a team that Fleury may be interested in joining.
Fleury in the end was willing to go to Toronto at the trade deadline in March and we know the Blackhawks and the Maple Leafs were cooking u …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

Report: Maple Leafs willing to trade the rights to Ilya Mikheyev

While there was little speculation that Ilya Mikheyev might return to the Maple Leafs, it looks like the ship has officially sailed.
Reports surfaced late last summer that Mikheyev asked for a trade, but Toronto decided to keep him because they saw more in him. And while they did get more out of the 27-year-old, there was still the looming possibility he would leave.
It was a great season for Mikheyev, too, finishing the year with 32 points (21 goals and 11 assists) over a 53-game span. He played a key role on Toronto’s third line throughout, even getting some opportunity on the second line too.
Bringing back Mikheyev and Engvall vs. finding the next Mikheyev and Engvall
With yet another cap crunch, though, the Maple Leafs are left with having to let Mikheyev go elsewhere. But, they could send him off into the sunset via a trade for his signing rights.

Hearing TOR has notified teams the rights to Ilya Mikheyev are available if a team wishes to “jumpstart the process.”
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 30, 2022

The Maple Leafs did something similar with Zach Hyman last summer. It was evident that the two sides weren’t going to be able to strike a deal, so Toronto wanted to trade his rights. At that time, Edmonton was the clear frontrunner for him but they didn’t think it was worth it to trade for an extra year of Hyman.
So, Toronto got nothing for him and he walked right into free agency. The same could happen to the 27-year-old.
It’s not known what the Maple Leafs’ ask is for Mikheyev’s signing rights. I do believe, though, that it won’t be much of a haul if they do find a suitor. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming days.
More From TheLeafsNation.com:
Rumours: …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs need to put Tavares in a position for success

While there is virtually no chance that John Tavares will be on the move this offseason he is going to be a significant part of what the Leafs address this summer. Over the course of last season, the Leafs seemed to move away from the idea of Nylander and Tavares as linemates. Additionally, another frequent Tavares linemate, Ilya Mikheyev, looks to be on his way out, and with Alex Kerfoot being more valuable as trade bait than occupying a spot on the roster, John Tavares could be looking at centering (or playing wing) on an entirely new line come September.
Kyle Dubas addressed a lot of this in his end of season press conference:
As players age, we have the resources here to be able to help them as much as possible in every regard on and off the ice. We need to continue to do that.
In regards to roster construction, players are going to change as they age inevitably. As a management team, we need to support them with pieces that are going to best allow them to maintain their primes as long as possible.
Whether it is John or anybody else on our team that you view as over… Whatever people view the prime as — some say it is 24, some say it is 27, and some would say it is 30.  Whatever it is, we want people who can come in and maintain that level as long as possible. That fal …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: Christian Koloko says Pascal Siakam inspires Cameroon

Raptors: Christian Koloko says Pascal Siakam inspires Cameroon

There have only been four players in the history of the NBA who have been born in Cameroon. The Toronto Raptors have one of them in All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam. Apparently of the mindset that the squad needed one more Douala native in rookie Christian Koloko. Unlike Siakam, Koloko is a 7-1 center that is […]
Raptors: Christian Koloko says Pascal Siakam inspires Cameroon – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Things should pick up for the NHL and the Leafs this week

With the exception of the coaching carousel, there hasn’t been a lot of news out the NHL throughout June. That’s probably the way the NHL likes it, but for those of us ready to embrace the full force of the offseason, a little news here and there would have been nice.
All of that seems set to change this week as there are actually noteworthy events on the horizon this week that are bound to produce at the very least league news, but hopefully some Leafs news as well.
June 26th: Game Six
If the Colorado Avalanche close things out tonight that expedites the opening of the buyout window by two days. As it sits right now buyouts can happen on July 1st, but an earlier end to the season moves that up. It also does away with the NHL’s strong suggestion to the rest of the league to avoid major news during the playoffs. Presumably, the Leafs are a big part of that strong suggestion as anything that happens in Toronto can overshadow the rest of the hockey world.
June 27th: HHOF induction announcements
This is at least something to sit around and debate, and former Leaf Alex Mogilny is still patiently waiting to punch his ticket. It doesn’t seem particularly likely this year with the Sedins, …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Draft: Walker Kessler is the player Toronto needs

Raptors Draft: Walker Kessler is the player Toronto needs

In every NBA Draft cycle, there comes along someone who is so gifted you feel sure they’ll shine at the NBA level. There’s always one player who is so different or unique that they will catch your eye. In the case of Walker Kessler, the Auburn big has emerged as the ideal Toronto Raptors draft […]
Raptors Draft: Walker Kessler is the player Toronto needs – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

NHL Performance Bonus Overages

There is a certain degree of schadenfreude at the end of the season, when performance bonuses overages are announced for NHL clubs. Every team is going to be competing for the same players come Free Agency, and every dollar in overage is one less you have to compete with on the open market. Contending teams tend to be tight to the cap and rely on contributions from players on Entry Level Contracts, which often leads to those teams being punished for their success with bonus overages.
There is perhaps no better example than Artemi Panarin scoring in the last game of the 16-17 season, tying him for 10th in the league in points. That earned him $1.725m in Schedule B bonuses, combined with his $850k in A bonuses left Chicago with more than $2.5m in bonus overages. Right after a disappointing 1st round sweep, the Blackhawks traded Panarin in the reshuffle caused by the cap squeeze. It was the symbolic end to a dynasty that won 3 cups in 6 years, all predicated by an inconspicuous game 82 goal.
In 2021-22 there were over 300 players eligible for performance bonuses. Just 6 of those players were on 35+ contracts, eligible for up to $6m in performance …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Alejandro Kirk stays red-hot as the Jays shutout the Royals for the second consecutive night

If there is one thing that has been consistent on this year’s edition of the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s that every time Alek Manoah takes the mound they have a chance to win the game.

After scoring two early runs in the second, the offense was cold for much of the game but plated three in the seventh and two in the ninth to give Jordan Romano a 7-0 lead. In a rare non-save appearance, Romano had a scoreless ninth to seal the game for the Blue Jays.
The Jays improved to 33-22 on the season and 11-2 over their last 13.
Things Worth Mentioning…
Depth hitting continues to get it done for the Jays. The five through eight hitters were 9-17 with three RBIs and four runs scored. Alejandro Kirk led the way with his second career four-hit game. Kirk is now hitting .365 since May 1st with an OPS of 1.040. Not to be outdone, Santiago Espinal was 3-4 including his team leading 16th double. Matt Chapman continued his hot streak with this rope to left field to open the scoring.

Bat Chapman is hitting .394 over his last ten games @mattchap6 pic.twitter.com/8xPrDLEjwp
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 8, 2022

Raimel Tapia joined in on the fun in the seventh, slicing a double to left-center to score a smiling Espinal from first.

Smiling at the bench before you score >>>
@santdr13 pic.twitter.com/EwQYxIrRHc
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June …

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Author: Scott Ony / Blue Jays Nation

Using stats to try and find hidden draft gems

Two things I am not going to pretend to be: the first is a scout. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to watch as much junior hockey as I’d like let alone also check out European hockey. As much as I love the draft, I’ve learned to form my opinions based on the numbers and the opinions of writers that I’ve come to trust.
The second thing I’m not is a statistical prodigy. I like numbers. I use numbers. I know the value of numbers (and their shortcomings), but I’m not putting together anything overly complex. I like simple straightforward adjustments.
That’s why last year I put together my draft “Hunter Score”. Unlovingly named for Mark Hunter, the Hunter Score is an adjustment on points per game and goal differential that adjusts for birthday, position, size, league, and draft year to give (in theory) an all things being equal score.
Here’s the brief writeup from last year:
The NHL Draft: Consolidated Rankings, Where the Leafs sit, and introducing the Hunter Score

The main thing I’m hanging my hat on is the fact that Hunter Score tipped me off to the breakout year from Olen Zellweger, and think we’ll only see him go on to bigger things in the coming years. Arguably I think the best usage is still when combined with some traditional scouting that will account for how the player achieves their results. If they have an identifiable skill set that makes it clear they can repeat these outcomes at a higher level, that’s what we’re hoping to see. Still, I think balanced numbers are a good place to start and that’s what I’m doing here.
Below are the top first year draft eligible players based on their Hunter score, and next to it is either their consolidated draft ranking from Elite Prospects or their …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Malgin? The Leafs could do worse

Every year there is some bizarre out of nowhere player who runs away with the scoring title at the World Hockey Championships, and it is followed by a feverish effort from NHL GMs to bring that player into their fold. This year that player is Roman Cervenka, who had 17 points in 10 games leading the tournament. I’m just kidding, that dude is like 36. He’s not an option. We’ll move on to the next name on the list, and that is Denis Malgin (Malgin?) who had 12 points in 8 games and the next best points per game in the tournament of players who played at least 6 games.
The advantage for the Leafs is that they’ve been sending qualifying offers to Malgin, and keeping him on Toronto’s reserve list. And Malgin is still technically a restricted free agent because of that. The Leafs have the first crack at Malgin if they want him. The question is do the Leafs want him (not does your uncle who makes decisions strictly off a player’s height want him.)
Since we last saw Malgin, he’s been in the Swiss League, and he’s been a point per game player over his two seasons there. He’s still only 25 years ol …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation