Less than 24 hours after being acquired in a blockbuster trade, Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari both plan to make their Toronto Maple Leafs debut Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens, per head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Keefe described both players as “adamant” to get on the ice with their new team.
The Leafs sent Mikhail Abramov, AHL forward Adam Gaudette, Toronto’s first-round pick in 2023, Ottawa’s third-round pick in 2023 and Toronto’s second-round pick in 2024 to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for O’Reilly and Acciari.
The 32-year-old is in the midst of a down season that’s seen him only score 19 points in 40 games with a minus-24 rating on a Blues team that has disappointed this season. He missed the entire month of January with a broken foot but returned to play three games after the all-star break.
Acciari, 31, is an eight-year veteran in his first season with the Blues who will add depth and can kill penalties. In 54 games he has 10 goals and 18 points.
With this move, the Maple Leafs now have one of the more formidable centre units in the NHL and are clearly going all-in on competing for the Stanley Cup. In O’Reilly, Toronto is slotting in a former Conn Smythe and Selke Trophy winner who can play in all situations.