Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumours: Ryan O’Reilly

Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic, have had internal discussions regarding Ryan O’Reilly.

Adding O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs roster would check off a few boxes for  Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas. He is a proven scorer with 20 or more goals in six of the previous seven seasons. More importantly, O’Reilly is a good playmaker with at least 30 assists in each of the last nine seasons. He offers 64 games of playoff experience and knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.

The native of Clinton, Ontario, is in his 14 NHL season. He has registered 249 goals and 438 assists for 687 points in 967 games. As well as some of the younger players in Toronto’s roster, the coaching staff might prefer to have O’Reilly’s experience over players such as Nick Robertson or Pontus Holmberg come playoff time.

O’Reilly could play the role of third-line center or second-line winger. Head coach Sheldon Keefe would love to add a player like O’Reilly to his lineup. The more options Keefe has going into the playoffs, the better. Another thing that makes O’Reilly a good fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs is his ability to win puck battles and take the puck away. Every season, O’Reilly has far more takeaways than giveaways.

How Can the Toronto Maple Leafs Add Ryan O’Reilly?

Ryan O’Reilly is on an expiring contract with a salary cap hit of $7.5 million. Once defenseman Morgan Rielly returns from long-term injured reserve, there is not enough cap space to fit O’Reilly at $7.5 million. However, if Toronto can get the St. Louis Blues to retain 50 percent of O’Reilly’s cap, there is a much better chance of adding him to the Maple Leafs lineup.

At 50 percent retained, O’Reilly would cost Toronto $3.75 million in cap space. Depending on which player(s) get traded back to St. Louis will determine what else Toronto management will need to do to get O’Reilly to fit. By sending players like Robertson, Holmberg, and Wayne Simmonds down to the AHL, GM Kyle Dubas could create even more cap space.

One player that Toronto could trade to St. Louis is Calle Jarnkrok. The 31-year-old Swede has three more seasons left on his deal after this season. Trading his $2.1 million cap hit will help create the needed cap space for O’Reilly at $3.75 million. Jarnkrok has been okay for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the team has other players who can do the same thing for less.

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Will we see Ryan O’Reilly in the blue and white by the NHL trade deadline in March? Time will tell, but until then, we can only speculate.