The sudden announcement of Ryan O’Reilly being traded to the Maple Leafs had many in the
hockey world wondering how he may benefit the team just before playoff season.
Well, the former Stanley Cup Champion has officially played his first full week with the Maple
Leafs and the results so far have many fans excited for O’Reilly’s future with the team.
Following the announcement of O’Reilly joining the leafs, there were mixed reactions
from the fans. There had been talks about O’Reilly’s ‘lacking’ performance with the Blues
this year, with only 19 points in 40 games. That being said, the result of this easily may
just be an overall team issue for the Blues, as the Blues shooting percentage was cut in
half on the powerplay thanks to O’Reilly. O’Reilly put a rest to all speculation last
Saturday during his first game with the Leafs.
The 32-year-old centers John Tavares’ line, who has now been moved to wing, along with
Mitch Marner. Acquired from the St Louis Blues last week alongside Noel Acciari,
O’Reilly has already made a name for himself with Leafs nation, showcasing his talent
with 5 points in only three games.
Just one day after the trade, O’Reilly made his Leafs debut in their game
against Montreal last Saturday, where he was able to pick up an assist in their 5-1 win at
home. The following day in Chicago, O’Reilly registered his fourth-career hat trick.
He continued his point streak by adding another assist in Buffalo on Tuesday night.
So far, coach Sheldon Keefe says he plans on keeping the current trio on the first line,
although he plans to experiment with other line combinations before their push for the
playoffs. With the success that O’Reilly has had with his fellow Ontarians on his line, the
possibility of other line combinations could make for an exciting dynamic for the team.
“Very intrigued by the ability to move some things around,” Keefe said. “We don't have
that much schedule, but we do have enough scheduled where we can give some things
time to breathe.”
The Leafs will face Minnesota at home on Friday, before heading on a five-game road trip.
The next few games will definitely show where O’Reilly stands with his new team.