The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly interested in adding veteran winger Ryan Reaves to their lineup for the upcoming season. With a desire to add toughness and physicality, the Maple Leafs see Reaves as a potential solution to address their lack of grit. More than a few insiders have linked the two sides as the free agent frenzy begins on Saturday.
Darren Dreger suggests that Reaves is interested in playing for the Maple Leafs and could sign for the minimum salary. Additionally, Reaves’ fun personality could make him an instant fan favorite and open up endorsement opportunities in Toronto. You need to have a fairly loose and relaxed attitude to survive and thrive in Toronto, and Reaves is the type of player who would do well, potentially even taking some of the focus off the bigger stars. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period writes, “The Maple Leafs will look to add some size & toughness via free agency. One player high on their list: Ryan Reaves.”
The Minnesota Wild, Reaves’ former team, would have liked to bring him back, but their tight salary cap situation makes it difficult. The Leafs are exploring options to strengthen their bottom six, and Reaves, along with Austin Watson and possibly Miles Wood, are being considered.
Reaves Offers Intangibles The Leafs Like
In the previous season, Reaves played for the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild, recording five goals and ten assists in 73 games. He ranked 25th in hits per 60 minutes played in the NHL, demonstrating his physical presence on the ice.
With exclusive negotiating rights until Saturday, the Wild have the opportunity to engage in contract discussions with Reaves. However, once free agency opens, the Maple Leafs are expected to make a pitch for the veteran winger. The priority for the Leafs is to have a complete roster of 23 players, and Reaves could potentially fill a valuable role on the team. As long as there isn’t a bidding war for his services, this seems like a deal the Maple Leafs should be able to land.
That said, the Ottawa Senators and a few other teams are said to be keenly interested as well.
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