How Leafs acquiring O’Reilly, Acciari impacts Bruins before trade deadline initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Bruins’ path via the Japanese Convention to the 2023 Stanley Cup Ultimate simply bought much more troublesome.
The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired facilities Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues on Friday night time in a blockbuster commerce that concerned a number of prospects and draft picks, in addition to a 3rd workforce within the Minnesota Wild. The Leafs gave up a 2023 first-round decide however held on to their finest prospects.
The Leafs will enter the weekend 13 factors behind the Bruins within the Atlantic Division, and they’re just one level forward of the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place. It is principally a certainty that the Leafs and Lightning will play within the first spherical for the second consecutive season, and now the battle for house ice benefit in that collection has been heightened. Tampa Bay defeated Toronto in Recreation 7 on the highway final yr.
NHL trade deadline: Updated Bruins rumors and trade targets
The Leafs gave up a bunch of draft picks for 2 leases. It is a daring transfer for them. How does this enormous commerce affect the Bruins forward of the March 3 NHL commerce deadline?
This is a fast breakdown.
Leafs are a extra formidable playoff opponent
Bruins followers can chuckle on the Leafs all they need, however there is no doubt that that is probably the most proficient and deepest roster Toronto has put collectively in a very long time.
The Leafs rank seventh in each targets scored and targets allowed, and so they personal the league’s sixth-best energy play. They’re No. 14 on the penalty kill, and the additions of O’Reilly and Acciari ought to assist in that space. O’Reilly, when wholesome, is among the many prime two-way facilities within the league. He is additionally a former Selke Trophy winner. Acciari is a troublesome, dependable fourth-liner who can kill penalties and supply loads of truculence.
Depth down the center is crucial for playoff success, particularly if you must play the Bruins and their three-headed monster of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Charlie Coyle. After this commerce, you can make a case that Toronto’s depth and expertise at middle is pretty much as good or higher than another workforce.
First line: Auston Matthews
Second line: John Tavares
Third line: Ryan O’Reilly
Fourth line: Noel Acciari/David Kampf
This commerce additionally offers the Leafs beneficial playoff expertise. O’Reilly helped the Blues beat the Bruins in Recreation 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Ultimate and he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. He is aware of what it takes to battle via 4 rounds and get the job performed. The Leafs have not received a playoff collection since 2004 and have been eradicated within the first spherical six straight years. O’Reilly will assist the (largely) younger and inexperienced Leafs struggle via the adversity of the postseason.
If the Bruins win their first-round collection and the Leafs beat the Lightning, we might see these Authentic Six rivals sq. off within the second spherical. The B’s beat the Leafs in Recreation 7 of the primary spherical in 2013, 2018 and 2019. Given the standard and depth of the Leafs’ roster after this commerce, one other seven-game collection versus Toronto could be a grueling and troublesome matchup for Boston.
The Bruins would have house ice benefit, although, barring a seismic collapse over the subsequent two months.
Bruins might make a name to the Blues, too
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The Blues look like in full promote mode proper now. They traded star proper wing Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers final week, and now O’Reilly and Acciari are gone.
One other middle on the Blues roster rumored to be accessible is Ivan Barbashev. Buying the 27-year-old ahead would give the B’s a flexible, middle-six presence who can produce offensively, kill penalties and add toughness to the lineup. He additionally was on the 2019 Blues title workforce.
The asking price for Barbashev reportedly is a second-round decide and a prospect. Andy Strickland of Bally Sports activities Midwest reported earlier this week that the B’s are “very interested” in Barbashev.
Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was on the Blues’ workers final season when Barbashev had the perfect yr of his profession with 26 targets and 34 assists (each profession highs).
Along with one other ahead, the Bruins additionally could be sensible to bolster the depth of their blue line. Whether or not it is a main acquisition like Arizona Coyotes star Jakob Chychrun or a smaller depth transfer for somebody like Luke Schenn of the Vancouver Canucks, one other veteran presence on the again finish would profit the B’s within the playoffs when accidents will inevitably be an element.
Yet another matchup in April
The season collection between the Bruins and Leafs, which Boston leads 2-1-0, concludes April 6 at TD Backyard.
It may very well be an essential sport for each groups. The Bruins are pursuing the No. 1 general seed and residential ice benefit all through the playoffs, and the Leafs try to carry off the Lightning for house ice in Spherical 1.