The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to load up by the NHL trade deadline.
The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to finally achieve some playoff success. With the defense playing great hockey, General Manager Kyle Dubas is likely looking to add more scoring with greater depth up front.
This may mean that the Leafs swing a deal with the St. Louis Blues to acquire their captain, Ryan O’Reilly. Even though he’s currently injured, it appears as though the Clinton, Ontario native may be ready to play by the trade deadline.
Through the first 37 games this season, the 6’1″, 216 lbs 31-year-old has recorded ten goals and six assists. Now in his 14th season, his career totals have improved to 688 total points in 975 contests. He’s scored 250 goals and added 438 helpers.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ryan O’Reilly
The link to the Maple Leafs has been made by Jeremy Rutherford and Jonas Siegel in The Athletic. They noted that even though O’Reilly is a center, he can still be a useful asset to the lineup. They believe that he is too valuable of a player to pass over simply because of his position. Even though Toronto has two top centers in Auston Matthews and John Tavares, they can move a player in order to fit in O’Reilly.
If this trade were to take place, the Maple Leafs top line could continue to be Michael Bunting at left wing, Auston Matthews at center and William Nylander on the right side. The second line could then be centered by O’Reilly, shifting Tavares to the left and leaving Mitch Marner at right wing.
The St. Louis Blues will be chasing a young, high ceiling prospect and picks in return for their captain. As much as the Leafs would like to add a former Stanley Cup champion who has also won a Selke Trophy, the Lady Byng Trophy, and the Conn Smythe Trophy, they need to be measured in the package they offer Blues GM Doug Armstrong.
The Blues will certainly ask for Matthew Knies. This should be a non-starter. However, Dubas may be willing to part with currently injured winger Nick Robertson or the OHL’s current leading scorer, Ty Voit. Unless there is also talk of an extension, a deal of this sort would be only to add O’Reilly as a rental.
A trade of this magnitude would give the Maple Leafs additional veteran leadership along with another true top six forward. If the opportunity arises, the Leafs should take a shot at adding O’Reilly.