Should the Toronto Maple Leafs Play Ryan Reaves In the Playoffs?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

it's crazy to think that one of the biggest storylines heading into the playoffs is whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs should play a 36-year-old fighter Game 1, but that's the market we live in.

There are two ways of thinking when it comes to whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs should play Ryan Reaves. First, you could argue that the team needs his toughness, as that's something they've been lacking in recent playoff runs.

Or, secondly, you could say that the team needs to insert more offense, as the Leafs lack of depth scoring cost them in recent runs as well.

I've been going back and forth on this, but I think the Leafs ultimately need to play Reaves. At the end of the day, him and the rest of the fourth-line are probably only going to play five-eight minutes per night, so I'd rather have his toughness and uniqueness than someone like Connor Dewar or Noah Gregor.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Play Reaves in Playoffs

For example, although the Leafs lost the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, his fight did spark the crowd. The engery levels were raised and that toughness is important in the playoffs. I don't neccesarily know if it will make or break a hockey game, but I think his intimidating demenaor is something you want on the bench, rather than in the pressbox.

Also, we've seen Reaves become more of a well-balanced player over the last few weeks, as compared to the perception of him by some as a "goon." He's not just fighting people to earn his stripes, but instead is finding his way to the front of the net and has created some scoring chances. If Reaves can continue that type of play, he'll be effective and it's possible that a puck bounces off his shinpads and one eventually goes in.

Here's what Reaves had to say after their loss against Tampa Bay that really changed my mind (via: The Hockey News):

That quote showed me everything I needed to know about Reaves. He knew he needed to get better and put in the work to do so. He feels like a player that knows that this is the end of his career and if it doesn't work out in Toronto, he may be on waivers next year.

As mentioned, he's probably not going to be the difference-maker, but what fourth-line player really is?


This team will win or lose with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, so let's see Reaves in the line-up during the playoffs because he's one of the most entertaining players in the league.