The Blue Jays hit the road to Kauffman Stadium, a place of shadows, to deal with the Royals

It’s been quite some time but watching baseball in Kansas City fills me with a combination of anxiety and dread. I get flashbacks to bloops singles, random overachievers hitting dingers, and runners getting stranded on third. As always, fuck the Royals.

How they’re doing…
This is obviously a very different team than the one we, unfortunately, knew from 2015. That’s the case on both sides.
The only major Royal left from that World Series team is Sal Perez. Jarrod Dyson left for a few years and is now back, the same goes for Wade Davis. Danny Duffy is also still around, though he wasn’t a big part of the 2015 team. Nobody from the 2015 Blue Jays is still around, but one player on the roster faced Kansas City in the playoffs. I’ll let you guess who it is.
Anyways, enough about the 2015 Royals, let’s talk about the 2021 Royals, a team in purgatory.
Kansas City is 6-4 this season and there aren’t really any real expectations for them to compete with Minnesota and Chicago for the American League Central. They have OK pitching and a ho-hum offence. The Royals rank above league-average in terms of runs …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Minor Leaguers: Do They Even Exist?

We were told, some time ago, that the minor leaguers would be staggered so as to come to spring training after the Blue jays broke camp. Certainly, in the case of the jays, there was some mild fuzziness because the complex is just five miles across town and the non-roster invitees to major league camp just continue on when the rest of the system arrives. All this in preparation for the opening of the minor league season currently set for May 4. So in theory all those many wonderful prospects are there, now, as you are reading this, going through their paces – and have been for over a week so. . . why is it so quiet?

Seriously, as far as a quick Google search can reveal, not one whisper published this month about Austin Martin or Jordan Groshans or Alek Manoah and what kind of impression they, or anyone else, might be making. For someone who’s generally as fascinated with this side of the organization as I am the major league club, it makes one feel a bit deprived. Moreso when you feel obliged to generate some content as the season approaches.
So here’s what little I’ve got: a …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Expectations for the Leafs at the trade deadline

Expectations for the Leafs at the trade deadline

At the time of posting this we are 33 hours away from the trade deadline, and as fun as the Riley Nash trade was, it would certainly be nice to see the Leafs make another move. That’s the low bar of what I want out of the trade deadline, but I put the question out to the TLN crew, “what do you want out of the trade deadline for the Leafs?”
Michael Mazzei:
This season represents the Leafs’ best shot at making a deep playoff run for the first time in nearly two decades. So they should be looking at any possible method to improve the team because despite their solid record to this point, they could surely be even better That’s what their focus should be at the deadline, add another piece to make the existing team even better.
Mark Norman:
Taylor Hall.
I don’t think the Leafs need to do anything with their defence, but adding a gamebreaking top-6 forward at a discount into the mix to compliment Matthews-Marner or Tavares-Nylander is the stuff dreams are made of. Acquiring Hall has a dual purpose: acquiring him for our own needs AND keeping him from going to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Identifying good, affordable players to buy at the deadline market

Arguably the most exciting time of the season, the NHL trade deadline is just around the corner. After Monday April 12th at 3:00 pm in Toronto (it’s set on Toronto time because the NHL knows that’s where its money comes from), teams will no longer be able to trade players and have them play in the NHL playoffs for their team this season.
Because the Maple Leafs are the most talked-about buyer on the market, they will be linked to every single player who is available. This post will aim to identify just which targets Toronto should be trying to go after.
There are five factors that will determine whether a player is a good buy for Toronto. Two of these are very simple and obvious, one is based on NHL CBA wizardry, and the last two rely on advanced stats.
At a high level, these five factors are:
Player is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) at the end of the 2020-21 NHL season
Player plays for a team that is a seller, or could be convinced to be a seller for the right price
Player has a cap hit that Toronto can afford
Player has is expected to …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 3 things to keep an eye on through the rest of 2020-21 season

Toronto Raptors: 3 things to keep an eye on through the rest of 2020-21 season

Time is running out on the Toronto Raptors’ playoff hopes for the 2020-21 season and, if the past three games are any indication, a turn-around in performance isn’t imminent. As our initial mock draft makes clear, attention is starting to turn towards the summer for the next phase in the rebuild. Newer Raptors fans may […]
Toronto Raptors: 3 things to keep an eye on through the rest of 2020-21 season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

Justin Bieber releases a musical ode to the Maple Leafs

Justin Bieber releases a musical ode to the Maple Leafs

Big time Leafs fan Justin Bieber has released a song dedicated to our boys in blue! It’s well documented that the Biebs is a Leafs fanatic, and good buddy of players like Auston Matthews. Check out the song that Bieber calls “a love letter to the Leafs” below:

A love letter to the @MapleLeafs. Special thanks to the Leafs and the @NHL #HoldOn https://t.co/1uB0buLl3r
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 10, 2021

The collab you didn’t know you needed.#LeafsForever x @justinbieber #HoldOn @NHL pic.twitter.com/KtkmEkaKcr
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 10, 2021

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: So, you want to trade William Nylander again?

If I had a nickel for every time William Nylander’s name was thrown around in trade rumours for something the other core players would just get a stern finger wagging for, I’d probably be the richest man in the world.
Look, Nylander isn’t a perfect player. His defense can be a bit lacking, he’s prone to make those big mistakes that scream bad to the eye test, and he can look like he isn’t always putting in 100% effort, sometimes because he isn’t, and sometimes because his skill and skating are well above most of his competition that he just doesn’t look like he’s working as hard as Grinder McGritface on the fourth line.
But, trading Nylander would be a mistake. A big one. The kind of mistake that you think looks great now, but in two or three years, he’s torching the Leafs in a playoff series on route to a Stanley Cup, while all those “valuable” depth pieces we got for him turned out to be just that: depth pieces that could never replace the value that Nylander brought.
Look, I get it. You’re still not over the fact …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / 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

MAIL CALL: McDavid vs. Matthews, Nylander feelings, goaltenders of the future, and taking a mulligan

It’s time to answer some more questions, from you, our valued readers. I have to say I’m extra appreciate this week as we’ve received four great questions that allow us to take a deep dive into our Leafs feelings. So let’s get at it.

Why is Matthews better than McDavid and Draisaitl?
— Bandwagon Leafs Fan (@hockeyphreak) February 21, 2021

Michael Mazzei: He is not better than McDavid, actually no player is better than McDavid. When it comes to Draisaitl, then I think you have a legitimate argument to make because the two players are pretty comparable. I will say that it’s been a lot of fun watching the Canadian Divisions top dogs put on a show.
Mark Norman: Matthews is for sure a more complete player than either of McDavid or Draisaitl, but he hasn’t touched McDavid or Draisaitl’s career highs in points yet. Let’s see what he can do this year, although it looks like McDavid has an entirely new gear this season. If Matthews were as prolific as McDavid or Draisaitl on the powerplay, this would be a tougher discussion. McDavid > Matthews > Draisaitl.
Scott Maxwell: Going into this season, I …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation