The Toronto Maple Leafs have joined the Eastern Conference arms race forward of the NHL’s commerce deadline on March 3.
Toronto acquired heart Ryan O’Reilly and ahead Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blueson Friday evening. In return, the Blues acquired a 2023 first-round choose, a 2023 third-round choose, a 2024 second-round choose, ahead Mikhail Abramov and ahead Adam Gaudette.
The Blues retained 50% of O’Reilly’s $7.5 million wage cap hit, and the Wild bought concerned to retain 25% of his wage. In alternate for that, the Wild acquired Toronto’s fourth-round choose within the 2024 NHL Draft.
Maple Leafs basic supervisor Kyle Dubas needed to work some wage cap magic to make this commerce occur, however he wound up with O’Reilly at 25% of his unique wage. The query now could be whether or not he was value what the group surrendered.
Let’s check out the commerce grades for all three groups concerned on this deal.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are proper in the course of their championship window, this yr’s Eastern Conference is completely loaded, and the group hasn’t seen the second spherical of the playoffs since 2004.
All of these elements meant Toronto was in all probability going to push its chips to the center of the desk forward of this commerce deadline, and that’s precisely what it did. The Maple Leafs have simply three picks within the first 4 rounds of the subsequent two drafts mixed. The group has gambled a good portion of its future to make a deep playoff run this yr, and albeit, it may need been a clever determination on this occasion.
O’Reilly would not essentially deal with a obvious want for the Maple Leafs, a group that has Auston Matthews and John Tavares as a one-two punch down the center. What this commerce does do for the Maple Leafs is give them an enormous benefit at crucial place within the sport. With a powerful assortment of expertise round him, O’Reilly ought to have the ability to thrive in a third-line function.
O’Reilly had simply 12 objectives and 7 assists in 40 video games performed this season, and his minus-15 aim differential at five-on-five would not look good both. However, O’Reilly has performed higher than these numbers point out. The Blues owned a 50.21% anticipated objectives share with O’Reilly on the ice at five-on-five, and the group’s save proportion in these conditions was a depressing 87.2%, per Natural Stat Trick.
The excellent news for O’Reilly is that he’s about to be in a significantly better scenario, which ought to permit him to play at the next stage. When O’Reilly is at his finest, he is without doubt one of the finest two-way forwards within the sport. In the 2018-19 season, O’Reilly led the Blues to the Stanley Cup whereas profitable the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Selke Trophy. In the common season, he tallied 77 factors in 82 video games, and he notched 23 factors in 26 postseason video games.
That was 4 years in the past, and the 32-year-old O’Reilly might not have that stage to his sport anymore, however the Maple Leafs do not want that from him. Based on the function he’ll be requested to play in Toronto, O’Reilly can be a pleasant luxurious for the Leafs.
Acciari has 18 factors in 54 video games this season, and he’ll probably tackle a bottom-six function for the Leafs. He is not the centerpiece of this deal, however Acciari’s versatility may come in useful over the course of a deep postseason run.
The Maple Leafs gave up a complete of 4 draft picks, together with a first-round choice, to make this commerce occur. That’s an enormous danger to take for a 32-year-old heart and a depth ahead. There’s no means round it. Anything wanting competing for a Stanley Cup will make this a troublesome capsule to swallow for Toronto.
Still, the Leafs have not seen the sunshine of the second spherical in nearly twenty years. They have a roster that may win the Stanley Cup this yr. This is pretty much as good a time as ever to go “all in.” O’Reilly may assist get this group over the hump, and if this season ends with Toronto hoisting the Cup, this commerce can have been nicely well worth the price ticket. Grade — B+
St. Louis Blues
Blues basic supervisor Doug Armstrong has been a busy man during the last couple of weeks. After sending Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers, he has now flipped O’Reilly and Acciari for a group of draft picks.
After this commerce, St. Louis now owns three first-round picks within the 2023 NHL Draft. To make this deal even sweeter for the Blues, the third-round choose belongs to the Ottawa Senators, which suggests it will likely be a comparatively excessive third-round choice.
Whether they use these picks to restock the prospect cabinet, commerce them for a direct improve, or some mixture of these two, there’s purpose to be hopeful in regards to the Blues’ future.
Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich are all signed for a minimum of a pair extra seasons, and people picks may assist Armstrong construct round a core that’s already in place.
Between Tarasenko and O’Reilly, the Blues deserve credit score for coming to phrases with the present state of the group and getting good worth out of a pair veterans on the fallacious aspect of 30. Because of that, St. Louis could possibly keep away from an in any other case lengthy and painful rebuild. Grade — A+
This one is fairly simple. The Wild simply bought a free fourth-round choose to tackle $1.875 million in wage for the remainder of this season. That’s not a foul deal, and the one draw back is that it places a slight dent into Minnesota’s flexibility to enhance its personal roster between now and the commerce deadline. Grade — A-