David Kämpf moving to the Leafs is an underappreciated gem

When I wrote our offseason introductory post on who David Kampf (Kämpf) is, the numbers I looked at painted a picture of a player who came out of nowhere to be just “okay”. If anything I came away thinking that Kämpf might be a case of subtraction by addition. And my goodness was I wrong.
After scoring just 1 goal last year for Chicago, and only 7 primary points at 5-on-5, Kämpf already has 6 primary points in the 22 games he’s played this season. He’s been locked into the 3rd line center role, deservedly, and performed at a good clip in that spot. From the very start of the season, it felt like he would change my mind.
The recent injury scare was enough to galvanize that opinion. It forces one to think about Pierre Engvall moving to center, or Jason Spezza being pulled up into that role, or Alexander Kerfoot coming down from the top-six. None of those options are terrible, but all of those players seem to fit much better where they are.
It’s not just Kämpf’s scoring though, or feeling like he’s fit in that role. That would be too superficial …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Rumour Nest: The Blue Jays were interested in Jose Ramirez before the trade deadline and it’s safe to say they still are now

Recently, I wrote an article about the rumours surrounding Marcus Stroman and how he could be returning to the Toronto Blue Jays. Originally I intended to write two rumours in that article, but mid-article, I decided to make a rumour series. Jose Ramirez is the next rumour that this series will cover.

In an article published by Sportsnet written by Shi Davidi, an interesting yet important sentence reads as follows: “Worth noting is that before the trade deadline, the Blue Jays took a run at Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez and Detroit outfielder.”
Shi Davidi is a well-known and respected journalist that follows the Toronto Blue Jays. Where there is smoke, there is a burning building. Do you want a hot take? I believe before spring training 2022, Jose Ramirez will be a Toronto Blue Jay.
Jose Ramirez is amazing:
It’s important to look at a player’s statistics before deciding whether or not it is beneficial for trading for them, so let’s start with that.
Jose Ramirez is a 29-year-old third baseman that has put up impressive numbers over his career. His 2021 was no different as he slashed .266/.355/.893 and added 35 home runs. That’s obviously impressive, but factor …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Saturday’s huge win overshadowed by Sunday’s frustrating loss

About two months ago, I wrote an article that said the phrase “get bullpen help” a thousand times. While I won’t be doing that for this article, the point still stands.

I’m currently writing this in the bottom of the seventh. Thus far, the Jays are 1-13 with runners in scoring position. This includes three separate times with no outs early in the game. In fact, their offense only started to pick up after the third time through the order against Rich Hill.
Things worth mentioning
Top of the 6th
The Jays scored three runs to make it 3-1, yet it was still quite painful to watch. Springer got hit with a 69 mph curveball on a 3-2 count. Not the pain I was talking about, but nice. Vlad hit a rocket off the wall for a single. Semien walked and the Jays had the bases loaded for Bichette.
Hill was taken out of the game and Bichette hit a two run single off of Lugo. The start of the pain kicks in now. Teo hits a tailor made double play ball which would have scored a run, but the Mets third basemen decided to go home with it …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Sandin injury update, Ovchinnikov breaks through, Robertson ready?

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Last week, I wrote about Rasmus Sandin’s injury and the prospect of him missing significant time. The organization’s fears were confirmed this week when it was revealed that Sandin had suffered a fracture in his foot as the result of a blocked shot and the Leafs have announced that he will be reevaluated next month.

As a follow up on Marlies defenceman Rasmus Sandin’s injury which he suffered last Monday (Feb. 15), further evaluation has confirmed he has a fracture in his foot. He will be re-evaluated in mid-March and the club will offer a further update at that time.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 25, 2021

As was the case when Nick Robertson’s early season injury coincided with a spot opening up due to Joe Thornton suffering an injury of his own, the timing was made more unfortunate when Jake Muzzin was hit with a stick and fractured a bone in his face on the weekend. Though Mikko Lehtonen is still ahead of him on the depth chart and Muzzin’s absence isn’t expected to be long term, it would have been a chance to get Sandin some more NHL reps after he played …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs waive five players

We knew this was coming. In fact, I wrote earlier today about how it was coming. That being said, we are now playing the waiting game to see if any of them are claimed.

Kenny Agostino, Travis Boyd, Adam Brooks, Martin Marincin and Calle Rosen have been placed on waivers by Toronto.
Aaron Dell, notably, was not. So the #leafs are still carrying three goalies on the active roster.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 11, 2021

Let’s start with who wasn’t waived, and that was Aaron Dell. Not waiving Dell was absolutely necessary at this time, given that both New Jersey and Washington could use a goaltender, and let’s face it, Dell could be a starter in Edmonton as well, so he was going to get a ton of interest. Hopefully teams figure out their goaltending situations soon, and Dell can safely be moved to the Taxi Squad in the near future, giving the Leafs a bit more flexibility with their players.
Boyd and Brooks are both slated for the Leafs main roster or Taxi Squad, and the fact that they are waived pretty much guarantees that it is the taxi squad where they are landing. There is some risk …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maybe Nick Robertson CAN play in the American Hockey League?

We recently wrote about the Leafs’ options for Nick Robertson in the aftermath of controversial comments from provincial government officials regarding the OHL’s return being contingent upon the elimination of body contact. The comments stirred up a firestorm on social media but eventually died down when Premier Ford contradicted his minister and said the hope was that it could return with hitting after all.
One option that was talked about in the November 2020 article was the non-possibility of Robertson playing in the AHL this season, due to an agreement between the NHL and CHL that does not allow players from CHL teams to play in the AHL (or ECHL) until they are 20 years old (by December 31st of that year). However, Arpon Basu of The Athletic has some interesting news to share:

A team source reached out to mention NHL teams can have their CHL prospects play in the AHL up until their CHL league gets going and that is something the Canadiens might like to do with Kaiden Guhle. Would be rare opportunity to work with a young CHL prospect at the pro level.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) January 4, 2021

So there may be a loophole here. As long as …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Pontus Holmberg is the Leafs 19th ranked prospect

I wrote Holmberg’s 2019 Prospect Ranking, and one of my key points was how the Leafs traded for a pick to draft him. That’s a universal indicator that the team has intimate knowledge of a player, in this case it would be from Swedish scout Thommie Bergman. He is the same scout the Leafs had assigned to Sweden at the time they drafted Nylander, Johnsson, Engvall, and Liljegren, so it’s safe to say they trust his judgement.
Holmberg was selected in his second time eligible for the draft, 156th overall (2018). He played in 2 SHL games that season but didn’t record a point, playing mostly in lower level Swedish leagues. It was 2018-19 where he had a breakout season, recording 10 points in 47 SHL games for Vaxjo.
Pontus remains on Vaxjo this season, where he mostly plays Center. There are three other Cs with more draws taken though, and he does quite poorly in the faceoff circle. Despite that he’s 6th amongst Vaxjo forwards in TOI/G, so he clearly spends some time on the wing as well.
Rank – Grade – NHL Readiness
19th – C – 2-4 YEARS
Position: C
Age: 21
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 179 lbs
Shoots: Left
Drafted: 2018 6th round, 156th …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs should not consider circling back to Cody Ceci

Earlier today, I wrote about how it was reported that Cody Ceci was expected to enter the free-agent market on October 9th. Barely two hours after that post came out, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic doubled down on the report and also dropped this terrifying tidbit of information:

Cody Ceci is headed to market. The pending UFA D could also circle back to the Leafs and vice versa after the market opens.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 30, 2020

As you can tell by the title of this article, this scenario should not and cannot play out in real life. The fact that there remains a distinct possibility of Ceci re-signing with Toronto is something I’m sure a lot of Leafs fans are not too happy about. Even if the two parties agreed to a cheap contract, the Leafs would be far better off without Ceci than with him on the roster.
This past season saw Ceci post one goal, seven assists, and eight points during an injury-riddled year that limited him to 56 games. He was healthy for the playoffs where he only scored one goal during the five-game series against Columbus. If you take a look at his underlying metrics at 5 …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

We’re Still Here, Asking For More From the NHL

24 days ago, I wrote this post about what white fans and members of the media could do to demand more from the NHL and its players on the subject of Black Lives Matter.
Today, we’re asking the same questions.
After yesterday’s historic events in the NBA and later the MLB, hockey fans wondered how the NHL would respond. The answer was: they wouldn’t. Not in any meaningful way.
Before I go any further, I urge you to read this open letter to the NHL by Matthew Henriques. And then read this great post from Omar over at Pension Plan Puppets.
As white fans, we aren’t the conveners here. We aren’t the leaders, or the ones starting the conversation. But we are the ones who have to carry it. Who have to shoulder the burden, and do the heavy lifting. Yes, still. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Our privilege necessitates it.
In my post a few weeks ago I encouraged fans to put pressure on the media to ask the important questions of white hockey players and coaches. We did, and it worked. The media are asking. But the answers are disappointing.

Here’s @ …

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Author: MerOutLoud / The Leafs Nation

A sixth-inning meltdown costs the Blue Jays a winnable game

I wrote yesterday that it’s critical for the Blue Jays to do well during this stretch of games against bad teams over the next couple of weeks because the schedule gets much more difficult in September.

On Tuesday, the Jays had a prime chance to start their series with the Red Sox off on a positive note. Boston had a struggling rookie starter on the mound but Toronto failed to capitalize, leading to an incredibly frustrating loss.
Things worth mentioning…
Things started off really well as the Jays kicked Kyle Hart around for four runs in the first inning. It looked like it was going to be a laugher in the second inning when the Jays loaded the bases with just one out but a Vlad Jr. double play ended the inning and cost the team a huge inning. That would eventually come back to haunt them because as bad as Boston has been this year, they can still hit.
Before I get into the meltdown, I’ll mention the infuriating strike zone last night. Hart was all over the grid, but got the benefit of the doubt from the home plate umpire, who called strikes …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation