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What Does New Maple Leafs’ Noel Acciari Bring to the Team?

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Noel Acciari last week. What does he add to the team? Can he make a difference?

Until this week few Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans probably knew who Noel Acciari was. He played that far down the forward depth with the St. Louis Blues. But that changed when he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Ryan O’Reilly last Friday night.

O’Reilly was the biggest catch in the trade. He’s already shown that with his hat trick two nights ago. But who is this Acciari guy, and what does he bring to the team?

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: O’Reilly, Samsonov, Muzzin & Marner

Tavares Says that Acciari Is Tough to Play Against

John Tavares, the Maple Leafs’ captain, had some highly positive things to say about newcomer Acciari. Specifically, he believes that Acciari brings a strong playing style and skill set. Tavares notes that Acciari is a consistently physical player who is difficult to play against, but who also can produce offense and be productive in his role on the team.

Tavares also notes that Acciari brings experience to the table, which will be valuable for the Maple Leafs. Overall, Tavares believes Acciari is a strong addition to the team.

What Else Does Acciari Bring to the Maple Leafs?

Acciari is aware of the important role he plays as a bottom-six forward for the Maple Leafs. Acciari has been in the NHL since the 2015-16 season, playing for the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and St. Louis Blues before being traded to the Maple Leafs.

Although his point production is respectable, his physical style of play is what makes him a valuable addition to the team, particularly in playoff-style games. Acciari is known for his grit and willingness to finish checks, as evidenced by his high number of registered hits despite relatively low ice time.

In addition, he’s a willing shot blocker who can play on the penalty kill. Finally, and perhaps more important, similar to his new teammate David Kampf, he’s completely dedicated to team defense. Overall, it seems that the team is hoping Acciari’s style of play will add an important element to their roster.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 6-3 Win Over Sabres

Might Acciari Take Wayne Simmonds’ Place on the Team?

One other interesting thing about Acciari is that he’s willing to engage in fights when necessary. His reputation is that, although he doesn’t actively seek out the occasion to fight, he doesn’t back away either. He’s typically fought about once per season throughout his NHL career.

This willingness to drop the gloves adds to his physical style of play and could make him an even more intimidating presence on the ice. Did Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas have that in mind when he had Acciari included in the O’Reilly trade? Was he thinking that the new fourth-line player might be an effective replacement for Wayne Simmonds?

Wayne Simmonds Maple Leafs 1
Wayne Simmonds Maple Leafs 1

There is no doubt that the Maple Leafs have been criticized in the past for being too easy to play against. However, this last trade and the addition of players like Acciari and O’Reilly can change that. Both players are known for their physicality and competitiveness.

With this trade, could the Maple Leafs do two things? Could they change the perception that they are a sort of team that’s easy to play against? And, second, could that become a tougher opponent to face?

This trade is all about the playoffs. How will it work, and what place does Acciari have in it?




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