Maple Leafs add O’Reilly, Acciari in trade with Blues

Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan O'Reilly. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan O'Reilly. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing in an incredibly strong Eastern Conference, and late on Friday night, they enhanced their ability to compete with the conference’s best.

In a deal with the St. Louis Blues, the Maple Leafs acquired forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari, moving two players and several picks in the process. The Minnesota Wild entered as a middleman to retain part of O’Reilly’s salary, getting a fourth-round pick for their involvement.

The return for the Blues is rich with picks. The first-rounder received in this year’s draft gives St. Louis a total of three picks in the 2023 first round after acquiring one from the New York Rangers in the trade that sent Vladimir Tarasenko to the Big Apple.

The Maple Leafs landed two strong players in this trade with the Blues.

For Toronto, this is a trade that should be most impactful at the time in which the team will need it the most: the playoffs. Acciari is the type of guy you want in your postseason lineup, as he has been a part of 54 playoff games. He played in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final with the Boston Bruins.

As for O’Reilly, he is a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, claiming the prize as the postseason’s most valuable player when he won the Cup with the Blues in 2019. He also brings tremendous leadership to a locker room that is still fairly young, as he has served as the Blues’ captain.

The experience that these two players bring to the table for the Maple Leafs is invaluable. Toronto has made a habit out of losing in round one and then adding veteran players without championship experience to try to fix that, so O’Reilly in particular is a massive pickup.

Plus, the Leafs will only have to take on 25% of his salary after both the Blues and Wild retain the rest as part of the trade. Getting one of the bigger names on the trade market is great, and finding a way to make the money work is impressive.

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The Maple Leafs deserve big credit for pulling this off. Maybe this will be the year that Toronto finally overcomes the first round of the playoffs.