Transaction: The Joel Payamps era begins again!

No, this isn’t deja-vu, this isn’t a dream, Joel Payamps has again been claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays.

ROSTER MOVE: We’ve claimed RHP Joel Payamps off waivers from the Red Sox.
To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Jacob Waguespack has been designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/7awdikkLQr
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 6, 2021

Payamps has had one hell of winter. He was originally with the Diamondbacks, he was waived and claimed by Boston, waived again two weeks later, claimed by the Blue Jays, waived again shortly after that, and now he’s a Blue Jay again. So, in the last three-is months, he’s been Diamondback, a Red Sock twice, and a Blue Jay twice. Let’s see if it sticks this time.
In a corresponding move, the team designated Jacob Waguespack for assignment. Waguespack, of course, was the guy the Blue Jays got in return for Aaron Loup a couple of years ago.
He pitched 95 2/3 innings for the big-league club between 2019 and 2020 and put together a 5.08 ERA. He had a few strong starts in 2019, most notably the seven one-hit innings against the L.A. Dodgers, that made it appear as though there was …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Tweaking the league’s second best powerplay

Despite having one of the best powerplays this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have really struggled to create chances at times. It can be incredibly frustrating to watch Mitch Marner shoot the puck in the middle of goalies’ chests, but it’s just as frustrating to see Morgan Rielly take one-timers from the right side when the ideal person to do so is Auston Matthews.
After Saturday night against the Oilers, the Leafs had the league’s best powerplay percentage at 33.3%, with Chicago, Buffalo, Washington, and Dallas just behind them. Since the 2018/19 season, the Leafs have trailed Tampa, Boston, Edmonton, and Florida, who have had a powerplay percentage of 24% or better. That’s not to say the Leafs’ 23.8% effectiveness is bad, but they don’t look as dominant as Tampa or Boston have been in recent years.
One of the constants that could change is how the Leafs generate a number of chances from the middle of the slot and the right side of the ice. We can point to Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner for that, as the two send the puck towards the net from the right side of the ice a lot more than they do from …

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Author: Matthew Henriques / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: What the Leafs can learn from the Habs and Carey Price

This week was an ugly one for Habs fans. Their team has now lost seven of their last eight, and fired their head coach responsible for the systems that was driving the team to success, even though a huge reason they were losing was because their “elite” goaltender Carey Price has had an .888 save percentage so far this season.
It’s a very good example of how goaltending can make a team look unstoppable and can also make them look like a lottery team. There’s a reason why a goalie’s save percentage is half of the stat that we use to track luck with PDO. Not just on a team level, but it also makes goalies so tricky to evaluate, as aside from the truly elite goalies like Dominik Hasek and Henrik Lundqvist, they constantly bounce between good and bad seasons. We saw that with Frederik Andersen over his Leafs career, as his first three years saw some pretty consistent play, followed by these past two seasons where he’s been much more inconsistent.
But, there is one consistency with evaluating goalies: time is always undefeated. Age will always be the reason a goalie will start to fall …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Leafs move six points ahead of Oilers after win – Rate That Leafs Game

This was a big game for the Toronto Maple Leafs and with the way they played, you could tell how important it really was.
Jack Campbell with a solid 30-save shutout, and from the supporting cast which was the entire Maple Leafs team, it was nice to see them rally. Along with the offense, Toronto’s defence was spectacular too. They didn’t allow a goal against by the Edmonton Oilers but more importantly, from one of either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.
A big game that both the Maple Leafs, Campbell and Auston Matthews will be proud of. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Matthews out as Leafs look to keep lead on second place Oilers

For the second time this season, the Leafs will be without Auston Matthews against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers as both teams square off in this three game series. The first time this happened, the Leafs found themselves on the winning side with a 4-2 win, but will they be able to repeat that success again?
It isn’t all bad news on the injury front for the Leafs, as they will see Joe Thornton and Jake Muzzin return after missing the last two games, and Jack Campbell will make his first start in over a month after dealing with a Tkachuk-related injury. Having the NHL leading goal scorer out and not being able to match up against the NHL leading point scorer will hurt, but the roster is a bit more well rounded in other areas at the very least.
The Leafs come into tonight’s game after splitting a two game series with the Calgary Flames. They struggled to beat David Rittich in a 3-0 loss in the first game, and those struggles continued until the dying minutes of the second game, as William Nylander got the game tying goal with just minutes to spare, and then …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Channel Six Podcast: Taking trades, injuries, and of course, William Nylander

We’re back. For reals this time. With our pilot episode behind us, Mer and I welcomed a couple of guests this week, Scott Maxwell and Filipe Dimas of The Leafs Nation, and we start off with a little introduction to how they came to follow hockey and they humour us with our rapid fire questions.
Given that we recorded this on Tuesday, you’ll be getting a very middle of a series against the Flames vibe from our discussion, and what we now know about David Rittich actually being a mortal, we were not privy to at the time.
Our topics discussed were:
If the Leafs held a Lake Tahoe type game, where should they play it?
The rumoured winger the Leafs are seeking and we tend to dream big.
The Leafs injury situation and why it makes us cry.
And of course, William Nylander, who if you didn’t notice, had quite the night last night.

Channel 6 Toronto · Episode 1 with Scott and Filipe
If listening to us in your browser doesn’t cut it for you, you can find us on Apple and Spotify as well. And we’ll be back in a couple of weeks with even …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Raptors schedule release: Important dates, crucial contests, takeaways

Raptors schedule release: Important dates, crucial contests, takeaways

The Toronto Raptors schedule for the second half of this unusual 2020-21 season has officially been revealed. After a 2-8 start, the Raptors have managed to climb back to .500, taking down some of the best teams in the league in order to do so. Nick Nurse and Toronto looked destined for a No. 1 […]
Raptors schedule release: Important dates, crucial contests, takeaways – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Injuries plague Maple Leafs in loss to Flames – Rate That Leafs Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs started this season off very well and have now run into injury troubles. With six players out, Sheldon Keefe had to do some line juggling in this game and I don’t believe it worked.
We also got news after the game on the extent of Frederik Andersen’s injury and what his timeline to return would look like.
For the Leafs though, this game was what I’d call a throw-away game. It was unlucky, they were goalie’d by David Rittich and penalties cost them at the end of the game. Plus, Toronto didn’t score on seven power play opportunities which didn’t help.
This team knows that if it’s a bad game, they move on and I think that’s what they plan to do after this one. And so do I. Enjoy the video!

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Rittich shuts the door as Leafs lose 3-0

This game had all the makings for this exact result. The Leafs were riding a hot streak, the Flames came in off a 7-1 loss, the Leafs had an absurd amount of injuries with Hutchinson in net. It went exactly the way we all thought it would.
And honestly, I’m not mad. With Andersen, Muzzin, Thornton, and Hyman all out (along with Simmonds and Campbell who have been for a while), the Leafs were already not sitting pretty going into the game, and David Rittich shut the door as the Leafs would lose 3-0.
The first period went about as well as we could’ve hoped for considering the circumstances. They saw the shot attempts and scoring chances favour the Flames, but they only found themselves down 1-0 after the first thanks to a goal from Sam Bennett. The Leafs had a couple power plays to get the game tied, but despite a plethora of scoring chances, they couldn’t get any in the net.

Sam Bennett trying to show Kyle he’s the one
(1-0) pic.twitter.com/HKDnQcHaJE
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2021

The Leafs started pressuring a bit more in the second, at even strength, on the power play, …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

What can be learned from the Leafs comically bad losses?

All and all this was another really good week for the Leafs. They just picked up 7 points out of a possible 8, and remain at the top of the both the North Division and the league at large. Things are going really well. Still, there’s something to be said for giving up 5 straight goals against the worst team in the league to lose in overtime, and last night marked the one year anniversary from the Leafs losing to an emergency backup goaltender, who happened to be their own payroll. Those are tough losses, and no matter how good the Leafs are doing, these are hard things to shake. It’s in that context that I asked the TLN crew if there was anything we could learn from the Sens comeback win against the Leafs this week.
Nick Barden
For me, honestly, I didn’t learn anything. The Leafs are first in the NHL and I believe we’re watching a team that we’ve never seen before. Although this loss was problematic I feel that we shouldn’t take this team for granted and I’m afraid we already are. Sure, I understand getting upset about an Ottawa Senators four-goal …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation