Maple Leafs make big move to acquire Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from Blues
Ryan O’Reilly is a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they are going for it all this season and if they have to mortgage the future, so be it.
Late Friday night, GM Kyle Dubas moved a 2023 first and third-round picks along with a 2024 second-round draft selection, plus prospect forwards Adam Gaudette and Mikhail Abramov to the St. Louis Blues for forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari.
The Blues will retain 50% of O’Reilly’s cap hit, but the Leafs needed more help to make it fit so the Minnesota Wild were enlisted to retain 25% more. In exchange, the Leafs dealt a 2025 fourth-pick to the Wild.
Maple Leafs acquire Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari
This is an all in move for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, who is going for it this season looking to finally get his Leafs past the first round. It’s also a stark contrast to what he said just over a week ago regarding trading for rentals.
“In regards to rentals, I can’t see that happening,” he said Feb. 9. “But with regards to other options, I don’t think you say no off the hop to anything, but those are very important pieces to us, now and in the future.”NHL.com
Both O’Reilly and Acciari will be unrestricted free agents in July.
O’Reilly is in the 14th year of an NHL career that has seen him win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship) in 2013-14 and the Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward) and Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) in 2018-19. The latter two honors came as he helped the Blues win the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
The 32-year-old veteran has played for the Colorado Avalanche (2009-10 to 2014-15), the Buffalo Sabres (2015-16 to 2017-18) and St. Louis (2018-19 to 2022-23).
O’Reilly has 12 goals and seven assists in 40 games this season, raising his career totals to 252 goals and 439 assists in 978 games.
Acciari, 31, has 10 goals this season, tied for the second-best total in his eight-season career. He also has matched his career high with eight assists in 54 games during his lone season in St. Louis.
Acciari previously was with the Boston Bruins (2015-16 to 2018-19) and the Florida Panthers (2019-20 to 2021-22). He has 55 goals and 40 assists in 361 career games.
Gaudette, 26, signed as a free agent with Toronto last summer but never appeared in a game for the Maple Leafs. He played 40 games for the AHL Toronto Marlies and produced 20 goals and 14 assists.
Abramov, 21, also has spent the season with the Marlies, amassing six goals and 10 assists in 34 games.
Pillar, 21, has four goals and eight assists in 13 games for WHL Saskatoon this season.
The Maple Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, 13 points back of the Boston Bruins and one point up on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blues are eight points behind the final Western Conference playoff position.
The NHL trade deadline is March 3.
–Field Level Media contributed to this article