While the Toronto Maple Leafs have been among the NHL’s most successful regular-season teams for the past half-decade, playoff success has eluded them. One player who had similarly spent an extended period without any playoff success is Ryan O’Reilly, who spent nearly his first decade in the NHL without making it to the second round. In 2019, though, O’Reilly bucked that career trend, leading the St. Louis Blues to a Stanley Cup victory and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy along the way.
The Maple Leafs want to do the same this spring, and it seems that they view O’Reilly as someone who can help them get there. Per Pierre LeBrun in The Athletic’s first 2022-23 trade board, Toronto has “talked about O’Reilly internally,” debating the prospect of acquiring him from the Blues. (subscription link) While O’Reilly’s scoring numbers have slowed down, Toronto could add him to a center corps that already boasts Auston Matthews and John Tavares, forming what would be likely the best trio of centers in the NHL. He remains a player with a sterling reputation as a playoff performer, and as a pending unrestricted free agent acquiring him would pose no long-term financial complications.
For some other notes from across the NHL:
- The Montreal Canadiens have been better than expected this season, as they were the NHL’s worst team last year but have hovered around the .500 mark so far in 2022-23. Despite that, the team is still anticipated to engage other teams as a seller in next year’s trade market, and one of the players reportedly garnering interest from other teams is defenseman Joel Edmundson. On TSN’s Insider Trading segment, LeBrun reported that the Edmonton Oilers had interest in adding Edmundson, a 2019 Stanley Cup champion who has taken an important leadership role on a young Canadiens team.
- The Winnipeg Jets announced tonight that defenseman Nate Schmidt has suffered an upper-body injury, and will not return to their game against the Nashville Predators. Schmidt appeared to suffer the injury after a high hit from Predators forward Tanner Jeannot. The loss of Schmidt costs the Jets one of their top-four defensemen, as he has skated in over 20 minutes per night, including time on the second units of both special teams phases.