The Toronto Maple Leafs are all in this season, pulling off a significant trade involving the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild. The Maple Leafs announced that they had acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari in a three-team trade with the Blues and the Wild. Going the other way, to St. Louis will be Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette, the Maple Leafs’ 1st-round pick in 2023, the Ottawa Senators’ 3rd-round pick in 2023, and the Maple Leafs’ 2nd-round pick in 2024. The Wild will receive Toronto’s 4th-round pick in 2025.
More About Ryan O’Reilly
Ryan O’Reilly is an experienced center who has been with the St. Louis Blues for the past three seasons, serving as their captain for the last two. He’s known for his strong two-way play and leadership.
Interestingly, this season has been one of O’Reilly’s poorest in terms of his offensive production. While he’s been injured, offensively on the season he’s put up lower point totals than normal. He also carries a negative plus-minus rating. The Maple Leafs are banking that he’s still as good as his reputation as a strong two-way player. Certainly, he will be an added veteran presence that should help improve the team’s overall performance.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Nylander, Gio, Timmins & Hitchcock
Will O’Reilly’s Production Improve on the Season?
It will be interesting to see how the Maple Leafs utilize O’Reilly in their lineup. It will also be interesting if the trade will give his offensive production a jolt as the remainder of the regular season progresses.
Two things are noteworthy about O’Reilly. First, his contract expires after this season and he will become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after this season. Second, he’s an Ontario native – from Clinton, which is about two hours west on the shores of Lake Huron just north of London.
That said, worrying about next season is secondary to the impact that O’Reilly will have instantly on the Maple Leafs’ lineup. Currently, it seems that the team is focused on competing for the Stanley Cup this season. After that, what happens with O’Reilly is another story.
More About Noel Acciari
Noel Acciari is a versatile forward who can play both center and wing positions. Acciari can provide depth scoring and he throws in a physical style of hockey. He’s scored 10 goals and has 18 points this season, which suggests he can contribute offensively in a bottom-six role.
Acciari is also on an expiring contract and will become a UFA after this season. He’ll provide some much-needed depth for the Maple Leafs as they look to make a deep playoff run.
Moving Out of Toronto
In return for O’Reilly and Acciari, the Blues are receiving a number assets from the Maple Leafs. As noted earlier, these include promising forward prospect Abramov, high-scoring AHL forward Adam Gaudette, and three draft picks. The Blues are retaining 50% of O’Reilly’s remaining salary.
The Wild’s involvement as a “broker” in the trade was necessary to make the trade fit under the salary-cap structure. The Maple Leafs sent the Wild a fourth-round pick in 2025 in exchange for retaining a 25% portion of O’Reilly’s salary. Josh Pillar, a right-wing prospect, is also being sent to Toronto as part of the deal.
Related: Maple Leafs Consideration: Why Would Coyotes Trade Chychrun?
The Maple Leafs Hope for the Season
The trade ends a lot of speculation about who the team might bring in at the deadline. With O’Reilly joining the team’s roster, the Maple Leafs have added a one-time, top-tier center that brings a wealth of experience and talent to their lineup. O’Reilly has the experience, the ability, and the grit to play in all situations.
He can help the team in five-on-five hockey and also on the special team’s units. He has the ability to play on the power play and penalty kill. At his best, which the Maple Leafs hope he brings, he makes the team a tougher match.
If this works out, and there are always a lot of questions about a trade like this, the Maple Leafs now have one of the more formidable center units in the NHL. O’Reilly joins superstar Auston Matthews and captain John Tavares.
The Move Shows that the Maple Leafs Are All In This Season
This move clearly shows that the Maple Leafs are committed to competing for the Stanley Cup this season. The trade also shows they are willing to take significant risks and make big moves to improve their chances.
Now, we all will see what happens. How much does O’Reilly have left in his tank? Can he integrate well into the team’s structure? And, how will his addition impact the team’s overall performance?
Related: EX-COACH KEN HITCHCOCK CALLS MAPLE LEAFS STANLEY CUP CONTENDER
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February 18, 2023 at 3:27 am
I believe the Wild drafted Pullar in 2021 in the 4th round and he remains unsigned. It sound like they wanted to get their 4th pick back by carrying 1.875 cap it for redt of year and paying $55,000 salary.
February 18, 2023 at 3:33 am
My suspicion is that the Leafs and one or both of O’Reilly and Accuari have already worked out signing but it won’t be announced until after the deadline, in maybe 4 to 6 weeks. That way it looks like some major separate achievement when it was part of the deal 😉
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