NHL Network: Elliotte Friedman on if the Toronto Maple Leafs are finished making moves after acquiring forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues.
** NHLRumors.com transcription
“I think there’s a couple of things in play here guys, and that is, number one, if think that Toronto had decided that they wanted to add depth up front. If you look at them this year and you look at them closely, they have a lot of elite talent. They have a lot of guys who can score, but if you look at their fourth line this year, it’s really struggled.
They’ve had different people going in and out. They haven’t been able to find a constant combination and I think with coming a first-round series against Tampa Bay, a really good deep and tough team, they did not like the looks of that.
And so I think their choices were, go out and acquire maybe a depth forward or go out and acquire a good forward to push other people down. And I think they’ve done a good job here with both.
Nobody needs me to tell them what Ryan O’Reilly has done in his career. He’s a huge add for this team. He’ll be motivated, and Noel Acciari is a guy the Maple Leafs have seen before in the playoffs and he’s a really good depth center. As you see, he’s got 18 points this year. He plays quite a bit, 15 minutes a game that you can count on him. He’s got a lot of playoff experience.
So I think what they’ve done here is they’ve addressed some of their forward depth, and in the playoffs, you can never have too many centers. And now they’re going to have four good ones and they’re going to have centers playing on the wing. I think in this league that is very important. You can never have enough of them and Toronto can say, ‘we’ve got a lot of them.’”
Siera Santos: “Alright Elliotte, it’s been established, we know the Leafs got better but are they done making deals?”
Friedman: “I really wonder if they’re going to look at their D. I think they decided not to make the priority because worst comes to worst, they have eight defensemen that they believe they can play.
However, I do think they wonder about the edge on their defense. Right before the All-Star break, that a Wednesday night home game against Boston and some of their D got pushed around on the forecheck.
I think now they’re going to go take a look and see what else is out there. When they lost Jake Muzzin, I think at the time their plan was, the number one thing we have to add is another kind of Jake Muzzin-type player.
Now, they decided to move back on that and do this instead. They only had to take 25 percent of O’Reilly’s salary. I’m really curious to see what happens here. I think that they do take a look at another defenseman with some sandpaper.
The guy I would say would be perfect for them, is a guy like Radko Gudas but now Florida is really going and I don’t know if I see the Panthers trading him while they’re going or especially to a division rival. But a player like that, I could see them taking a look at for their blue line.”