Ryan Reaves Will Have Zero Impact on Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Ryan Reaves is unfortunately going to have zero impact on the Toronto Maple Leafs winning a Stanley Cup this season.

That was painful to write because Ryan Reaves can beat up almost anyone on planet earth, but if you think he’s going to have an impact on the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, you’re dead wrong.

Over the course of his career, Reaves has averaged less than nine minutes of ice-time per night and has had virtually zero offensive impact. With over 1,000 penalty minutes, he’s played the role as an intimidator and although that type of player isn’t quite extinct in 2023, we’re almost getting there.

The Leafs finished T-23rd in fights last year, so with Reaves in the line-up, that number is bound to go up, but that type of toughness doesn’t actually help a team win. As much as people think that Toronto will be a tougher team to play against this year because Reaves is in the line-up,  you need to be on the ice more than two or three times a period to have a serious impact.

Will Reaves find his way onto SportsCenter a few times a year because of a big hit or because of a fight? Yes, absolutely, but the team isn’t going to be harder to play against.

Reaves isn’t going to play a role like Marty McSorley did when people were going after Wayne Gretzky’s head back in the day. In today’s NHL, nobody is going after the top superstars anymore and the league is so talented that the best players have space to play their game without worrying about getting hit.

Reaves Will Not Help the Toronto Maple Leafs Win a Stanley Cup

One player being able to fight doesn’t help a team win. Team toughness helps a roster win and it starts on the blue-line.

The reason why the Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning have been so successful over the past few years is because of team toughness, especially on their blue-line. They have these big intimidating defenseman who play between 20-30 minutes per night who wear you down and it make it difficult to score.

Sure, the Lightning have had a forward like Pat Maroon who can fight and hit, but at least he’s shown a little offensive upside with 23 goals in 150 playoff games, compared to Reaves who has three goals in 108 playoff games.

Maroon played his part well, but the Lightning had these huge defenseman that were super hard to play against and the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have that.

The Leafs are still soft as butter and their defensive group is one of the weakest in the NHL. They may be a strong team in the regular season because they’ll be able to score a lot of goals, but once the playoffs start, the Leafs aren’t going to win anything until they make their defensive-group tough and intimidating.

As much as Reaves is a fun player to have and talk about because he’ll make those old-school fans happy when he crushes someone along the board, he’s not going to have a true impact on the Leafs winning or losing any games this year.