This past summer Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving signed veteran enforcer Ryan Reaves to a dubious three year deal worth $1.35 Million against the cap, which came with much criticism.
Some outlets in the Toronto Maple Leafs area stated the contract was for too long and too much money.
Whether the deal is good or not [Editor’s Note: It’s Not], Reaves is now a Maple Leaf for the foreseeable future and he suited up for his first battle on Wednesday night when the team opened up against the Montreal Canadiens.
It did not take long for the 6’2″, 226 lbs winger to make his prescience known as he laid out two heavy hits on Canadiens players on one shift midway through the first period. The first was slamming Jesse Ylonen into the boards in the neutral zone.
On the second hit of the shift, Montreal defenseman Kaiden Guhle turned his back as Reaves was in the process of a hit which left the young defenseman pasted against the boards.
In response to the hits, undrafted Arber Xhekaj proceeded to drop his gloves and grab onto Reaves while he was still on a knee. Before Reaves could properly square up with Xhekaj, the Canadiens enforcer leaped at the Toronto Maple Leafs winger and then eventually shoved him over the net to end the fight before being able to throw any effective punches.
Reaves Doesn’t Like Getting Jumped
During Friday morning media availability, Reaves was asked if he would be willing to have Round 2 with Xhekaj and stated “I don’t like getting jumped, I don’t know if I’ve ever jumped anybody, if you want to fight just ask me, I’m always around, you know where to find me”.
Reaves was then asked about the use of the net by Khekaj and stated that he wasn’t sure if he did it on purpose, but felt like it was. Reaves stated he finally got straightened up at which point Xhekaj just started pushing him and wondered if he was trying to end the fight.
To finish off the answer to the fight, Reaves stated that the two teams play twice more and he is sure that something will happen again.
Reaves would end up with five minutes for fighting, while Xhekaj was issued 17 minutes in penalties thanks to the fighting major, along with a two minute instigator and a ten minute misconduct.
Xhekaj has built up a fun reputation as a former Costco worker turned NHL pro, but it appears as though he may not like Round 2 when Reaves will be able to square up properly.