NHL Notebook: Toronto Maple Leafs swing for the fences in Ryan O’Reilly blockbuster and Connor Bedard scores 100th point of the WHL season
Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing1 month ago
It came out of nowhere Friday night, but the Toronto Maple Leafs pulled off a stunning blockbuster by acquiring Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues.
The cost was steep. They paid a 2023 first, a 2024 second, and a 2023 3rd (belonging to the Ottawa Senators), as well as AHL’ers Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudettte for the two players. St. Louis retained 50% of O’Reilly’s salary, while the Minnesota Wild jumped in to retain an additional 25% getting a 2025 fourth from the Leafs to do so.
It’s undoubtedly a massive move for a Leafs team looking to break out of the first round of the playoffs.
Over at TheLeafsNation, I offered up some thoughts on the trade in a roundtable:
I’m absolutely fascinated to see how this one plays out for the Leafs. I had thought Ryan O’Reilly would’ve been a tremendous trade target for the Oilers ahead of the deadline, and Noel Accari was even a guy Edmonton had checked in on. Alas, Kyle Dubas and co. jumped the gun to get this one done. You’re going to hear people say “Wow! That’s a lot of draft capital to give up!” and while they might be right in one sense of the term, I don’t mind the acquisition cost especially where this Leafs team is at right now. They need to get out of the first round and go on a run, and with Dubas GM’ing on an expiring deal, I’m not surprised to see him swing for the fences here.
It’s easy to sit and laugh at Toronto’s inability to get out of the first round for the last umpteen years, but O’Reilly really checks off all the boxes of a player who could help a team get over that hump. Is he the same player he once was? No, of course not — but according to hockeyviz.com, he’s still providing offence at a nine percent rate above league average and defence at a three percent rate above league average all-the-while playing top-six minutes. That’s significant because I don’t see him coming into Toronto and playing against top competition. He should, however, be able to feast as the Leafs new 3C
Accari, too, is a nice little addition in this deal as a depth player. People tend to overlook the fact that this is a guy who has put up 20 goals in the NHL before, and has chipped in some nice offence despite playing a third-line role.
I’m going to give this grade an A. It’s a solid deal that should help the Leafs, but could it hinder their ability to do much else at the deadline?
Bedard hits 100
McDavid wasn’t the only Connor to hit 100 points last night, as WHL superstar Bedard also hit the century mark. Bedard’s now up to a clean 50-50—100 on the season doing so in just 40 games played.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Colton Davies wrote about him:
Bedard, the projected number-one overall pick for the 2023 NHL Draft, picked up two goals to hit the 50-goal mark in 40 games. He is the first player in the WHL to reach both 50 goals and 100 points this season. Bedard made a nice move between the legs at the left-hand faceoff circle before making a quick move down low to beat Raiders goaltender Max Hildebrand for his 49th of the season. Then, in the second period on the powerplay, Bedard fired a missile of a wrist shot through traffic to beat Hildebrand for his 50th in typical Bedard fashion. With his 50 goals in 40 games; only Jock Callander who scored 50 goals in 39 games hit the mark faster since the Pats joined the WHL in 1966.Bedard also picked up two assists on the night helping linemates Tanner Howe and Washington Capitals prospect Alexander Suzdalev get on the score sheet. Those two assists launched him to the 100-point milestone. Last season, Bedard became the first Pats player since Mike Sillinger to register 50 goals when he recorded 51 goals. Sillinger reached that milestone three seasons in a row.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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