Leaflets: Stray thoughts on the Leafs forward depth

It’s the ides of June, and we’re still a couple of weeks away from the Stanley Cup Final. This wouldn’t seem so bad except there’s the small matter of knowing that Montreal is still playing, and that between the Islanders and Canadiens still being around there is an active effort to make the series formerly known as the Conference Finals as boring as possible. Part of that sentiment is sour grapes on my part, but that doesn’t change that tuning in to watch these games is a short lived stop on my TV dial. Last night I watched long enough to realize that House Hunters International is more where I’m at right now, and watched a terrible family move to Valencia, Spain instead.
Anyways, with my mind cleared, as ones head does when watching House Hunters, I got to thinking about the Leafs again, and with that, I realized that as much as I want a major move, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way they address depth in the organization as well. Here are a few of my thoughts on Leafs depth.
You don’t have depth until your depth …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

A Fortnight on the Farm: Volume Three

We’re just past 1/4 of the modified MiLB season, and there’s a lot to comment on so I dispensed with my introductory digression.

Buffalo
This has turned out to be a veteran-heavy team. With Riley Adams now filling in for the Blue Jays, and two other interesting guys (Palacios and Wall) on the IL, the starting lineup on any given night may well include four guys who are 30 or more. Most of the rest have been pretty much non-factors offensively.
The one exception is 24-year-old SS/3B Kevin Smith. In 2018, in a season split between Lansing and Dunedin, he slashed a robust .302/.358/.528 hit 25 homers and stole 29 bases and turned up in the Top 10 that winter on some Blue Jays top prospect lists. But Smith was a notorious “tinkerer” when it came to his swing and his off-season adjustments going into the 2019 season were… ill-advised. That year he hit .209/.263/.402 and struck out 151 times in 116 games. He was (and is) still rated an above-average fielder but you’re not getting to the show hitting like that. Whatever he did to get back his swing for this year, it worked. He’s having his best offensive year (a current OPS of .927, and 1.131 …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Sunday’s Rundown: Three free-agent centres the Toronto Maple Leafs should target

Sunday’s Rundown: Three free-agent centres the Toronto Maple Leafs should target

For this week’s Sunday’s Rundown, we’re on the topic of free-agent centres that could be hitting the open market and that the Toronto Maple Leafs should potentially target this summer heading into next season. Last week we took a look at three left-wingers the Maple Leafs should target and all three players mentioned were pretty solid players that could definitely be a solid addition to this lineup next season and beyond.
All three players come into Toronto and can easily play anywhere in the lineup and all bring a similar style of play that would benefit the Maple Leafs. This week, it’s three free-agent centres we are going to take a look at, and these three centres, just like the left-wingers would definitely come here and make an impact for this team next season.
It’s no secret that Toronto wants to make more changes to this team this off-season and keep the “core 4” together for at least one more run at the cup, so they could potentially be looking at the free-agent market to fill out the remainder of their roster spots. So here are three free-agent centres that are set to become free agents …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Raptors: 3 free agent power forwards to sign after Pascal Siakam surgery

Raptors: 3 free agent power forwards to sign after Pascal Siakam surgery

The Toronto Raptors were looking to lean on Pascal Siakam to be a stabilizing force as they tried to fight their way back to the postseason, but Nick Nurse and the rest of the organization were dealt a major body blow that will make it even tougher for them to turn things around. The Raptors […]
Raptors: 3 free agent power forwards to sign after Pascal Siakam surgery – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Michael Bunting would be a dollar and a pound bargain for the Leafs

F#ck it, I guess we’re talking about free agents now. We could be talking about the Leafs match up against the Lightning, but nah, talking about free agents that can fit into the narrow bit of workable cap space for the Leafs is cool too. Though today we’ll hopefully get to have our post up for more than 20 minutes before the player we’re talking about announces they have no intention of playing for any team other than the one they are currently with.
So in the spirit of finding someone who is both affordable and would want to play in Toronto, we’ll dial things back from aging superstars, and refocus on a player that might have had his NHL breakout season last year. That player is Michael Bunting.
Michael Bunting checks a lot of boxes for things that the Leafs could use:
First of all, he’s 25, so he’s about as young as you can find when you’re talking unrestricted free agents. He hasn’t played in the NHL enough for the Coyotes to retain him as an unrestricted free agent, so their loss could very easily be the Leafs gain. Younger is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Grading Freddie Gillespie’s debut season

Toronto Raptors: Grading Freddie Gillespie’s debut season

If you were compiling a list of players who could’ve joined the Toronto Raptors late in the season and made enough of a positive impact to potentially earn himself a contract for 2021-22, center Freddie Gillespie has to be nowhere near the top of the list. Despite his less-than bombastic arrival in Toronto, he made […]
Toronto Raptors: Grading Freddie Gillespie’s debut season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors shouldn’t expect Marc Gasol reunion amid Barcelona links

Toronto Raptors shouldn’t expect Marc Gasol reunion amid Barcelona links

The Toronto Raptors were hampered by a painful lack of depth last season, and watching both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol leave for the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively, was a huge reason why. Gasol’s production might have started to decline in LA, the fact that he was barely afforded any opportunity on offense […]
Toronto Raptors shouldn’t expect Marc Gasol reunion amid Barcelona links – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Trading for Seth Jones would be a terrible idea

Ever since the Leafs were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday, I’ve been seeing a lot of how they should explore bringing in Seth Jones, especially since he’s made it clear with Columbus that he’s going to free agency when his contract expires. Whether that’s because he has an issue with the team, or he just wants to cash in and this is his best opportunity to do so, I’m not sure, but he’s been the talk of the town ever since.
Now, on the surface, I get why the Leafs are getting linked to him. They’ve always been in need of right shot defensemen, and Jones is supposedly a very good one. He has 286 points in 580 games, has had votes for the Norris in each of the last four seasons, and will probably get some more this season. He’s highly regarded by most people in hockey, and with the Leafs in crisis and potentially (but not likely) moving out someone in the core, they might have the pieces to make it work.
But, bringing in Jones would be a terrible idea for the Leafs. It’s an opinion that a lot …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Auston Matthews is a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award

It might fall into the category of things we’re not ready to hear about or celebrate, but Auston Matthews is one of the three finalist for the most outstanding player in the NHL.

Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Sidney Crosby are finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, as voted on by their @NHLPA peers.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 2, 2021

Auston’s Rocket Richard winning year and 40+ goal season in 56 games is why we’re seeing his name up there for sure. In addition, Matthews has begun playing a much more complete game, and can be dominant in his own zone as well. He’s been consistent throughout the regular season, when the voting takes place, and only had a brief lull as he recovered from a wrist injury. The playoffs don’t factor into this, and while they were statistically underwhelming, we can certainly see where Matthews was playing a competitive game, but not getting the results we needed.
Now, here’s the catch. He’s nominated for the same award as Connor McDavid. Connor McDavid who had an absolutely mammoth finish to the season, where he put up over 100 points in a 56 game season. It’s an uphill battle. …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn should look to Mike Conley as a role model

Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn should look to Mike Conley as a role model

The Toronto Raptors looked as if they were going to rue the day they drafted San Diego State point guard Malachi Flynn in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft, but the young stud and April Rookie of the Month has turned things around in a major way. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see […]
Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn should look to Mike Conley as a role model – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ