Toronto Maple Leafs: Ryan Reaves 3 Year Contract Is Incredibly Awful

Circa 1750, The skull and crossbones. (Photo by Henry Guttmann Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Circa 1750, The skull and crossbones. (Photo by Henry Guttmann Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) /

On July 1, the Toronto Maple Leafs made it a priority to sign Ryan Reaves. It was their first order of business once the free agency window opened. What they likely didn’t realize at the time, perhaps because he wasn’t wearing an eye patch and had a parrot on his shoulder, was that they had just brought a real life pirate to the organization.

The Toronto Maple Leafs general manager, Brad Treliving, was the one who turned Reaves into that pirate. That’s because, Treliving voluntarily allowed Reaves to rob the Leafs in the form of a three-year $4,050,000 contract. That’s all guaranteed money. It will cost the Leafs an annual cap hit of $1,350,000.

To understand why that’s stolen money, it’s important to put the contract into context. (Note: all statistics are from Cap Friendly.)

Reaves is a 36-year-old right winger, playing in the twilight of his career. Though he is a forward, there is little expectation for Reaves to contribute to the team’s offense. His best year in the NHL saw him scoring nine goals and 11 assists in 80 games. He’s never been able to eclipse 15 points since that 2018-19 campaign.

 Toronto Maple Leafs: Ryan Reeves 3 Year Contract Is Incredibly Awful

If he can’t score, one would expect that Reaves would be a strong defensive contributor. They would be wrong. Reaves is dreadful in his own end. In November of 2022, after playing just 12 games for the New York Rangers that season, they knew they needed to ship him out. That’s because he was a liability every time he stepped on the ice.

In New York, while playing at even strength, Reaves had a Corsi per 60 mins of -18.3. His Corsi rating of 40.9 was -17.6 compared to his team. That did improve slightly after he was traded to the Minnesota Wild. The Corsi rating climbed to 46.7 which was -4.7 compared to his team.

Knowing what they did about Reaves and his on-ice flaws, the Wild barely had to part with anything to get him from the Rangers. All it took was a fifth round draft pick in 2025.

Like a pirate, Reaves is often in physical fights to earn his wages. He is one of the last enforcers to patrol the ice in the NHL. If he needs to, he will smash an opponent through the boards to help his teammates get the loot that is winning the game.

Off the ice, Reaves does a lot of good. He works to bring equity and inclusion to the sport of hockey. He is a part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA) whose purpose is to “eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in hockey. They are committed to inspire a new and diverse generation of hockey players and fans.”

Reaves has volunteered many hours to in support of this cause, helping to ensure that children who may not have otherwise been interested, have the opportunity and means to participate in and enjoy the game of hockey.

Reaves is a great guy – no doubt.  But as a hockey player, his age, skill level and role does not necessitate anything more than the league-minimum, let alone a three-year term.

The contract the Toronto Maple Leafs gave him is insanely bad.

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The contract the Toronto Maple Leafs gave him is insanely bad.