Toronto Maple Leafs: 6 Remaining Questions Entering 2023-24

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan Reaves
Apr 17, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Minnesota Wild right wing Ryan Reaves (75) . Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Is Ryan Reaves the right “bodyguard” for the Leafs?

For the past few seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have used the likes of Matt Martin, Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds as potential “bodyguards” for their superstars on their team.

That way, it helped prevent anything from getting out of hand, as they would respond quickly if anything were to arise.

However, all of them ended up getting less and less playing time as the season wore on, as the Leafs generally ended up deploying a more offensive or defensive style lineup down the stretch.

After all, the league has certainly moved away from the years where having an enforcer on the team made a huge difference, so their effectiveness has definitely waned in the past few years.

So with the surprise free agent signing of Reaves, many had wondered if it was the right move to make by Leafs GM Brad Treliving.

Not only was he signed to a longer than expected three-year deal, he is also on the wrong side of 30 at the twilight age of 36. Don’t forget, Simmonds was only 34 years old last year and as a former offensive threat that once scored over 30 goals per season, he was already on a rapid decline due to his style of play.

For Reaves, not only has he been known to be a non-offensive threat over the years, but as an enforcer, the amount of fights and PIMs he has accumulated the past few years has also been trending downwards.

Which makes one really wonder, what exactly will be his role with the Leafs?

Perhaps he may be there to provide veteran leadership for the team, as he has been known to be a strong voice in the locker room.

Otherwise, with the enforcer role being greatly reduced over the years, he may find himself in a similar situation as his predecessors, losing valuable playing time down the road as the year progresses.