No. 2: Ryan O’Reilly Trade
Toronto is the biggest hockey market in the world when it comes to trade rumors.
If there’s a big-name player, and he’s Canadian (or not), he’s connected to the Leafs. However, they never get that player, until the Ryan O’Reilly trade.
O’Reilly, a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner, was the missing piece to the Leafs season last year. The team struggled without a strong third-line centre or top-six left-winger and he helped fill both of those voids.
In 11 playoff games, O’Reilly finished with three goals and nine points, but more importantly was a leader right away.
The way he plays is a perfect style for playoff hockey and that passion was ignited into the rest of the roster.
I know that the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t win a Stanley Cup and O’Reilly signed in Nashville afterwards, but this trade showed the fans and the team something.
It showed them that this GM would do whatever it takes to bring in proven winners and someone who can help them win now.
They took a chance and they were successful, but unfortunately not quite successful enough, but this was one of the best moves Dubas ever made because he went all-in on winning at the right moment.