Raptors draft: Bryce McGowens seems ideal for Masai Ujiri

Raptors draft: Bryce McGowens seems ideal for Masai Ujiri

The Toronto Raptors appear to like what Fred Hoiberg is building at Nebraska, as Masai Ujiri used one of his 2021 NBA Draft picks on Rexdale native and lanky point guard extraordinaire Dalano Banton. Ujiri could go back to Lincoln and select Bryce McGowens in 2022. McGowens has that slender frame that Ujiri loves, as […]
Raptors draft: Bryce McGowens seems ideal for Masai Ujiri – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Exploring what the Maple Leafs defence core should look like next season

What the Maple Leafs defence should look like is always up for debate — every year.
Last season, it seemed like there were arguments almost daily about who should and shouldn’t be in Toronto’s lineup on the back-end. The players discussed then were Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren, and Rasmus Sandin.
As the year went on, it became quite clear who the Maple Leafs’ best defenceman of that group was and his name is Sandin. Unfortunately, he was injured prior to the playoffs and didn’t get to play, but it’s evident that the 22-year-old is an every day player.
Liljegren was also another name that improved a great amount as the season went on. He might’ve been one of the Maple Leafs’ most-improved players of the last year.
Toronto, like it always seems though, has a logjam on their hands at defence. There’s only three spots on the right side with what seems like could be four defencemen in line for it.
It could work out to three if the Maple Leafs could find a way to move Jake Muzzin in the second last year of his contract. However I don’t see that happening.
What does a successful summer for the Leafs look like?
With a no-trade clause until next season, it seems like an unrealistic possibility that the 33-year-old gets moved. Although his cap hit is $5.625 million for the next two seasons, Muzzin is incredibly …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Exploring the idea of a Jake Muzzin trade

No matter what your feelings on the current state of Jake Muzzin as an NHL defenseman, it’s hard not to look at his $5.625M cap hit and wonder if the Leafs would be better off with Muzzin being relocated. From an actual dollar cost over the next couple of seasons, Muzzin is a bit more affordable. He’s owed $4M each of his remaining two seasons, and when you consider that he’s going to be paid his $2M signing bonus as part of that on July 1st, that means he’s only owed $6M over the next two years at that point. For a number of teams, that level of savings has some real appeal. Looking at Muzzin’s contract projections on Evolving Hockey, he projects as a two year contract player with a $4.062M cap hit, so while his pay is in line with what he should be getting, and potentially a bargain post bonus, his cap number is still a bit of a bite.
So beyond Muzzin’s cap hit, there is a second barrier to moving Muzzin, and that is his no trade clause, which prevents him from going to 10 teams. While there is no way of knowing who specifically is on Muzzin’s list, there’s a pretty reasonable way of extrapolating who will be on it, and it’s g …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Grizzlies PG Tyus Jones

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Grizzlies PG Tyus Jones

The Toronto Raptors are still trying to figure out what to do at the backup point guard position after Malachi Flynn failed to take the leap that many expected. Solving that crisis via free agency could be a genuine possibility, and Memphis Grizzlies PG Tyus Jones could be the perfect man for the job. After […]
Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Grizzlies PG Tyus Jones – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

BJN Radio – Ep. 80: A four-game sweep? On the West Coast?!?

What a ride.

The Blue Jays traveled out west and brought their bats with them, as they scored 27 runs over the course of a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In this episode of BJN Radio, we took a look through that rollercoaster of a series in which the Blue Jays started to look a lot like the 2021 Blue Jays, a team that’ll blow a lead but then grab it right back. We talked about the batters that are heating up, the team’s great problem behind the plate, and some stellar performances out of the bullpen. We also talked about Jose Berrios’ difficult outing and some unnecessary hate that’s been thrown at Charlie Montoyo.
Finally, we looked ahead to the upcoming series with the Chicago White Sox, a team with high expectations that hasn’t yet found its groove.
You can listen to the episode here…

POINTSBET IS LIVE IN ONTARIO

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant

Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant

While the Toronto Raptors need to figure out what exactly is going on with Chris Boucher and Thad Young before they start adding additional pieces elsewhere to improve this roster, the center spot will need to be remade eventually. Washington Wizards big Thomas Bryant could be one way to fill that void. The Raptors need […]
Toronto Raptors free agent profile: Wizards C Thomas Bryant – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

This Raptors-Spurs sign-and-trade for Lonnie Walker could work

This Raptors-Spurs sign-and-trade for Lonnie Walker could work

The Toronto Raptors need to figure out what the plan with Chris Boucher is before they can create a more robust plan of attack in the offseason. A sign-and-trade can’t be ruled out as a possibility if Boucher gets a handy multi-year offer, as Toronto could get a quality bench standout in return. The San […]
This Raptors-Spurs sign-and-trade for Lonnie Walker could work – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

New York Yankees fan who got Aaron Judge homerun ball in Toronto got to meet him

Sports rule.

No matter what side of the fanbase you sit on between the AL East foes in the Yankees and Blue Jays, you can’t help but feel good for nine-year-old Derek Rodriguez.
You see, Torontonians Derek and his father, Cesar, are both massive Yankees fans who had tickets to all three games of the series between the two teams. Derek, a massive Aaron Judge fan, was donning a shirt the players’ number 99 on the back.
When Judge juiced a sixth-inning no-doubter to left field, it bounced into the second deck right where Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta was sitting.
“When it came to me, and I picked it up, and I was just like, ‘Wow, like, I got to give it to this kid,’” Lanzillotta told The Athletic. “It’s his player, his T-shirt.”
Cameras picked it up right away caught a heart-melting hug between the two and
And ahead of the rubber match between the two teams Wednesday, both Rodriguez and Lanzillotta got welcomed into the Yanks’ dugout to meet Judge.

Last night, 9-year-old Derek Rodriguez was given @TheJudge44’s home run ball by Mike Lanzillotta
Today, they both got to meet Aaron before the game.
We are crying too. pic.twitter.com/fmGwEv9Xgv
— MLB (@MLB) May 4, 2022

You can’t pick up what was said in any of the clips posted, but you can just see the joy beaming from the young Rodriguez’s face.
Lanzillotta, meanwhile, didn’t walk out of it all empty-handed as George Springer went out of his way to give him two signed jerseys.
How can you not love baseball?
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: Who has the advantage on special teams?

What is it they say about unstoppable forces and immovable objects? The round one matchup between the Maple Leafs and Lightning is one between two dominant even-strength teams who tend to control their games at 5v5. Both teams ended the season with results above 50% in advanced metrics like Shot Attempt Share (CF%), Unblocked Shot Attempt Share (FF%), Shot Share (SF%), Goal Share (GF%), and Expected Goal Share (xGF%).
Even strength is going to be a battle where the two teams may play to a split. Where this series may be won, is on special teams.
Powerplay
Toronto
The Leafs finished the 2021-22 season with the league’s top powerplay, clicking at a 27.3% rate that was good for the fourth-best powerplay success rate in the league over the last five seasons. Leading the way was their first unit of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Morgan Rielly, whose fluid, shapeless, and unpredictable powerplay formation twisted opponents in knots. You may be surprised to know that Nylander lead the first unit Leafs in points-per-60 on the powerplay with 7.6 points for every hour on the man advantage, with Matthews coming in at 7.5, Tavares at 6.6, Marner at 6.5, and Rielly at 5.34.
What’s most ironic about the Leafs’ powerplay success this season, …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Adventures of the time-travelling Leafs fan

What I’m about to tell you is incredibly difficult to believe, I know that. But I promise you that, even if you don’t believe me, you’ll enjoy the story I’m about to tell.
On Wednesday, I was shopping at the grocery store that now occupies the former Maple Leafs Garden and, when reaching into the back of a freezer for some cheese-y pierogies, my hand knocked the base of the freezer off and… that’s when I saw it: a time travelling portal.
How I knew it was a time travelling portal is unimportant; all that you need to know is that I stepped through its doors and all of a sudden, I was still in a grocery store, but “Payphone” by Maroon 5 was playing on the radio, and that’s how I knew: I had travelled back in time, to the early 2010’s.
I felt a sense of panic come over me. I went to ask the woman next to me, who was wearing an oversized white shirt and blue cutoff jeans, with wedge sneakers, if she knew what year it was, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t ask her anything I wanted to ask. I couldn’t ask who the Prime Minister was, I couldn’t even ask her about the weather. I stood there like a deer in headlights until the question I needed to ask clicked in my head like a switch: “so, how about those Leafs, eh?”
A short conversation flowed, about how the line of Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak were dominating once again. She clearly was a big fan, like me. The fact that she was talking about a whole different Leafs roster was hard at f …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation