Lightning Round: Tampa Bay’s potential first-round opponent made a trade

The Leafs acquired forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari in a three-team deal on Friday night

Almost two weeks before the trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made their biggest move this season. On Friday night, the Leafs acquired forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues in a three-team trade, that also involved the Minnesota Wild. As a result, the Blues received Toronto’s prospect Mikhail Abramov, forward Adam Gaudette, first round pick in 2023, third round pick in 2023 (via Ottawa Senators) and second round pick in 2024. The Wild, who utilized their cap space to absorb a portion of O’Reilly’s cap hit, also received the Leafs fourth round pick in 2025. The Leafs will also get Josh Pillar, a Minnesota Wild prospect.

To make this deal work, the Blues initially retained 50 percent of O’Reilly’s salary and traded him to Minnesota, who also retained 25 percent of his salary before trading to the Leafs. Therefore only $1.875 million will be counted against the Leafs cap. Before that trade the Leafs also placed goaltender Matt Murray on LTIR and assigned forwards Pontus Holmberg and Wayne Simmonds to the AHL to fit into a 23-man active roster limit.

Ryan O’Reilly is having one of his least productive seasons in the NHL so far. After 40 games with the Blues, he has just 19 (12+7) points and is on pace for 32 points in 67 games, which would be his lowest result since the 2010-11 season. This season was also tainted by a broken foot, due to which he missed 14 games in January. His underlying stats, however, are not that bad as he’s still driving play and creating chances with a very high rate, but was plagued with  poor finishing on his team.

Noel Acciari is a strong bottom-six forward, who has 18 (10+8) points in 54 games this season. He’s very hard-working player, who also led St. Louis in hits with a big margin this season. Those skills will be very useful in the playoffs.

In O’Reilly, the Leafs are also receiving a very experienced playoff player, who has a Conn Smythe Trophy under his belt. Despite his offensive slump this season, he’s still a very strong two-way forward with good defensive numbers. With both O’Reilly and Acciari, the Leafs are definitely strengthening their depth, which was one of their issues in recent years.

Currently the Leafs are just one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, while having played one more game than their opponent. With a 13-point gap behind the leading Boston Bruins and a 10-point lead ahead of the first wild card spot, the Leafs and the Bolts are almost destined to play in the first round of the upcoming playoffs.

The details of last season’s deal, which allowed the Lightning to acquire Brandon Hagel.

The Syracuse Crunch signed forward Daniel Walker to an AHL deal. A 23-year-old player previously played for University of Waterloo in USports, where he had 20 points in 23 games this season.

The Lightning also reassigned forward Jaydon Dureau to the Orlando Solar Bears.

Meanwhile the Solar Bears defeated the South Carolina Stingrays on a Friday night.

Hockey News

Here are the results from last night in the NHL.

Connor McDavid became the first player to reach 100 points this season, but his team still lost to the Rangers in the shootout last night.

Pheonix Copley was given a match penalty and almost got into a fight with opposing goalie John Gibson in a game against the Anaheim Ducks yesterday.

The Boston Bruins and the Los Angeles Kings are expected to play a pre-season game in Melbourne, Australia next season.