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FTB: Do we need to get our sports back right now?

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And getting excited about Leafs prospects.

The White House Holds Daily Briefing On Coronavirus Pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: U.S. President Donald Tramp speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Rose Garden at the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Tramp announced that he is halting funding for World Health Organization WHO.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

After ordering the USA to halt funding for the World Health Organization for telling him things he didn’t believe (that came true), Donold Trump has put together a group of advisors to help “get sports back.” The advisory committee comprises of four sports commissioners (three major), two owners, Dana White, and whatever Vince McMahon does (executive producer?).

As much as we miss it, we do not need sports back right now. We need to keep physical distancing and investing in scientists so they can create a vaccine. Only then will we be able to gather in groups and watch sports together.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it.


Saplings

Some of the things we can do while we wait out the pandemic like good human beings is talk about prospects and the draft. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a second round pick in the 2020 Draft (date and time yet to be determined), along with two fourths, and eight picks between the fifth and seventh rounds.

The second round pick will be interesting, depending on what Kyle Dubas does with it. Should he decide to not trade the pick, there is a fair number of prospects the Leafs could take with the 51st overall pick, which is where the Leafs are provisionally sitting according to the standings.

There are lots of prospect analysts doing work in the industry, creating draft lists and explaining their thoughts on each player in posts and videos. All of them do great work, but for me, Will Scouching has been outstanding to listen to on his Youtube channel, both in terms of his breadth of knowledge on so many prospects around the world, and his drafting philosophy.

A well-spoken guy, I really enjoy listening to his streams as he goes through listeners questions. This is not an ad or anything (though you should check out his patreon), I just really like Will’s work. It’s been great to listen to while I’ve been studying for my online exams this month. If you have a couple hours to put his work on in the background, I recommend it.

In terms of current Leafs prospects, the 2019 Draft seems like a pot of gold. Yesterday, 53rd overall pick Nick Robertson was named ESPN’s NHL Prospect of the Year. That’s very cool.

Mikhail Abramov has also appeared to be a revelation from that draft, though we are only one year in. Joseph Pizzimenti from Youtube posted a 15-minute highlight reel video of Abramov for your entertainment.

Those two prospects will remain in the CHL next season. Or the NHL. Not the AHL. Prospects that will join the AHL Toronto Marlies include centre Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, defenseman Filip Kral, and potentially forward Riley Stotts and goaltender Zachary Bouthillier (they have yet to sign a contract). Goalie prospect Ian Scott will hopefully be back for his first real AHL season next to Joseph Woll.

I’m excited for this new crop of prospects hitting the Marlies. This past season really felt like a transition year; one where players are deemed capable in the NHL or not. There were some young players — like Kristians Rubins and Hudson Elynuik — finding their footing in the league, but there wasn’t the same kind of energy. I’m excited for the fresh blood to come in, and for Woll to settle in for his second season and be given a bigger chance to take on a bigger responsibility for the team in net.


Various Other Branches

Former Toronto sports stars (broke my heart writing those four words) Nazem Kadri and Marcus Stroman ripped into NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, who used the n-word on a racing stream on Sunday and was subsequently fired by Chip Ganassi Racing on Tuesday. Go get ‘em, Kings.

The NWHL wants to expand into Toronto for next season, whenever it takes place. There are currently a few names being talked about who might join the team, including world-renowned college, CWHL, and Chinese international tournament head coach Digit Murphy.

After extending their league-wide quarantine to April 30th, the NHL predicts they’ll have to make a final call on the season sometime at the end of May or into June, according to Board of Governor members.

Maple Leafs legend Kris Versteeg has officially called it quits, retiring after 11 seasons in the NHL and two Cups (not with the Leafs). He played his final season at the age of 33 in Slovakia.