Leafs training camp: Who got bigger, who slimmed down, and who got…shorter?

The first day of training camp is finally here. There might not be any Toronto Maple Leafs action on the ice as Day 1 is all about media, but we do get some interesting insights into changes players have made heading into the season on the opening day of camp.
Of course, that comes in the form of the training camp PDF shared by each NHL team. Included in that release are the new height/weight measurements for each player attending camp, and when comparing them to the last measurements we got, we can see which players have bulked up, slimmed down, or had a previously incorrect height measurement corrected.

Camp crew
Here’s our roster for Training Camp Fuelled by @GatoradeCanada. ⁰#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/PpJc8VaNh6
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 22, 2021

Who got bigger?
This is the one everyone is most interested in. Everyone loves a player getting bigger and there was a fair amount of it from the Leafs group this year.
The most notable change has to be with top prospect Nicholas Robertson. Listed at 5-foot-9, 164 pounds at Leafs camp in January, Robertson has gained 13 pounds and even an inch on his official listing heading into this season. …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Steven Matz’s refined sinker has been crucial to his mid-season resurgence

Several months ago, there were plenty of question marks surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation and its lack of depth, making it one of the most obvious weaknesses of the team. Fast-forward to the final stretch of the 2021 season, those same concerns no longer remain.

Considering starters like Tanner Roark, Tommy Milone, Anthony Kay, and T.J. Zeuch were consistently making starts for this club earlier in the season, there’s no question the starting rotation has come a very long way since then. While the pitching staff is currently headlined by Cy Young candidate Robbie Ray, trade deadline acquisition Jose Berrios, and breakout rookie Alek Manoah, Steven Matz has also served an important role over these last two months.
Granted, the start of Matz’s tenure with the Blue Jays didn’t take off smoothly as he proved to be fairly inconsistent throughout the first half of the schedule. Despite allowing one run or fewer over his first three starts of the campaign, he surrendered three runs or more in each of his next four starts, ultimately leading to some extremely mediocre results.
In total, the 30-year-old made 18 starts and compiled 90 1/3 innings pitched from April-July, recording a 4.58 ERA, 4.01 …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Kirill Semyonov, the Leafs forgotten center

There have been a lot of small moves over the summer, a lot of change, and it’s easy to see how someone could get lost in the shuffle of the bottom of the Leafs roster. To some extent that is what has happened with Kirill Semyonov, who along with Brennan Menell, is one of the Leafs newest KHL imports. As we counted down the prospects, Semyonov was excluded on account of him being too old for our definition of prospects, and while we’ve just started our countdown of top roster players, I don’t think I’m being a particularly big spoiler by acknowledging that Semyonov failed to make the cut on that list as well, with our voting panel favouring players like Pierre Engvall and Adam Brooks to almost completely unknown asset that is Kirill Semyonov.
The Semyonov signing didn’t have a lot of the hallmarks of other Russian signings. He wasn’t exactly setting the KHL on fire. Sure, he just won a Gagarin Cup, and he was an All-Star in the KHL in 2019, but only twice in his career has he exceed a .5 ppg total for the season, and only once has he had …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Trading prospects over draft picks is the right move for Maple Leafs

Trading prospects over draft picks is the right move for Maple Leafs

There comes a time where winning is everything, especially for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And that time is right now.
Kyle Dubas sought to take a massive step at the trade deadline last season by giving up a first-round pick for Nick Foligno. It was okay to take that risk last year with such a thin draft class. This year, though, is a completely different draft. The first-overall pick for is likely going to be Kingston Frontenacs centre, Shane Wright. You don’t get a player of his calibre after that, but it’s still a deeper draft than in 2021.
Toronto had three picks in this year’s draft and could have the same next year. With that being the case, the Maple Leafs might want to think twice about trading their first-round draft pick. Even the second-round pick wouldn’t be worth risking at this point. The Maple Leafs don’t have the deepest of prospect pools and would miss out on a good player if a pick is traded.
Could it make sense to trade a younger player instead? Perhaps so.
Looking at Toronto’s prospects, only three are off-limits: Nick Robertson, Rodion Amirov and Timothy Liljegren. Obviously, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

José Berríos Finds Success with Mechanical Adjustment 

There is no way around it, José Berríos was in a slump. In three starts from August 12th to 24th, he had an 8.76 ERA in just 12.1 innings. He was only able to get through five innings once in that stretch, and that was the game in Washington where he removed himself due to fatigue. He couldn’t get through five against the Angels as they worked him for four walks and six runs. Then he only got through three against the White Sox as they got him for four runs. 

Walks were an issue for Berríos. Over this three game stretch he walked 5.11 batters per nine, which is well above his season average 2.35. That includes his start against Chicago where he didn’t walk anyone. It was safe to say he was having some control issues. Berríos’ sinker in particular was off in those starts. The sinker is a pitch that gets a ton of late life, so he front doors it to righties, starting it in the strike zone before it cuts out of the zone at the last moment. This gets a ton of swing and miss and induces weak contact. Then he can back door it to …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays 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) …

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Author: Nick DeSouza / The Leafs Nation

The Current State of the Leafs Blueline

If there is one area of the Leafs roster that has remained untouched or ignored, depending on how you choose to perceive it, it’s the defence. With the top four all slated to return (depending on whether or not you think the Leafs will re-sign Morgan Rielly or have him play out the last year of his contract) at the moment it seems reasonable to assume that Rielly, Brodie, Muzzin, and Holl will be back, and quite possibly with the same partner they had last season. Even the bottom pairing seems to face limited changes as Travis Dermott was a staple of the bottom unit, and while his partner Zach Bogosian is the one departee, Rasmus Sandin did see significant usage when he was healthy, and if he wasn’t part of the Leafs full time plans last season, he is absoutely set to be a full fledged Leaf this season. Even the reserve list has some familiarity to it, in that Timothy Liljegren will still be fighting to crack the Leafs line up, and Brennan Menell will be playing the role of Mikko Lehtonen, and Carl Dahlstrom will be playing the role of Martin Marincin/Ben Hutton. It …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs weren’t fixed in a day

The Leafs weren’t fixed in a day

Since May 31st it seems like there has the has a constant effort to keep the disappointment fresh for Leafs fans. The Habs playoff run took care of a lot of it. The constant reassurance from Kyle Dubas that he loves this roster when the rest of don’t has picked up the slack where the Habs failed. There has been the excitement of having Jared McCann as a Leaf and the having him taken away days later, after being lied to be a fish. There’s been a draft that saw the Leafs only pick three times, and only once in the first four rounds, and all the while the convenient lie I’ve been telling myself is it will all be cleared up on free agency day.
The thing is I know that wasn’t a realistic expectation. And I know that Kyle Dubas is an infinitely more patient man than I am, but at the same time I find myself begging for a sense of urgency and begging for a move that is going to tell me that everything is going to be alright. That didn’t really come in the first day of free agency, and …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

This day in Toronto Raptors history: Masai Ujiri lands Kawhi Leonard

This day in Toronto Raptors history: Masai Ujiri lands Kawhi Leonard

There are few anniversary dates as significant as three years ago today, July 18, 2018, in Toronto Raptors history, as the one and only Kawhi Leonard started upon what would be his legendary, albeit brief, time in Canada. Certainly, November 4, 1993, when the NBA Expansion Committee announced Toronto would get a future franchise, was […]
This day in Toronto Raptors history: Masai Ujiri lands Kawhi Leonard – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Building a Sustainable Contender

Without a salary cap in a league, there will always be small markets in a league. Baseball is one of those sports that doesn’t have a salary cap.

Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America and is by no means a small market, yet, the Jays Front Office has used tactics often seen in small-market teams. How did the Jays turn an old team with a barren farm into a team that is a contender with a top-seven farm system in the MLB? Well, the short version is that they used small market tactics to create a sustainable contender.
The beginning
2015 and 2016 were fun. I only started watching baseball a lot around 2014, meaning that my fondest memory of the Jays came in the two following years. Alex Anthopoulos built a team that in all honesty should have won the World Series in 2015. In 2016, Atkins and Shapiro had taken over, but the team’s makeup was largely thanks to AA.
While 2015 and 2016 were nice, AA didn’t leave much for the future. He signed Russell Martin to a bad contract, he traded for a Troy Tulowitzki who was constantly injured as a Blue Jays. These moves helped …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation