Is Ryan Reaves Getting Back in the Leafs Line-up?

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

It has been nearly six weeks since Ryan Reaves last played in a Toronto Maple Leafs uniform.

It was December 14, when the Columbus Blue Jackets came town to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs and the enforcer went stumbling into the boards toes and knees first.

Since joining the organization Reaves has been the brunt of a lot of deserved negative coverage after new general manager Brad Treliving signed him to a ridiculous three-year deal worth $1.35 Million per season.

There were several bad indicators on the contract when the rumours surfaced of the possible deal: multi-year, close to double the league minimum and for a player who would be turning 37-years old during the first year of his contract, yet was barely holding onto a roster spot the last couple of years.

Is Ryan Reaves Getting Back in the Leafs Line-up?

Things did not go well to start the season as the former enforcer had been on the ice for just two goals for and 13 goals against this year. He was brought in to help protect the club and bring an intensity to their game, however he has not fought in the last 19 games he has played and has done nothing to strike fear into opponents.

Recently in an interview with Luke Fox from Sportsnet, Reaves appeared to express his displeasure for not getting back into the line-up and even stated that "Yeah, I've been ready for a couple weeks now,".

The problem for Reaves getting back in the line-up is he is likely the 14th best forward on a roster with 14 forwards and this does not include players that would bring a bigger impact that are currently in the AHL.

At the time of writing, Reaves remains on the injured list and while it doesn't give the team any cap relief, it does allow them to have an extra roster player. When Reaves is ready to come off the IR, a player would have to be demoted to the Marlies and just Matthew Knies, Pontus Holmberg and Nicholas Roberston are waiver exempt.

The smart move would be to put Reaves on waivers and demote him to the Marles and by doing so, just $200,000 of his $1.35 Million salary would go against the cap. For the team to do this, Treliving would be admitting to one of his many mistakes he did this past off-season and I can't see him doing that yet.

The most likely situation is Sheldon Keefe may be forced to give the Winnipeg, Manitoba native another opportunity in the line-up so expect Reaves back on the fourth line in at least one of the games against the Winnipeg Jets.


The ripple effect from this roster move is Holmberg will get demoted to the Marlies and Bobby McMann will have to remain in the press box.