Noel Acciari would love to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2023-24
Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
By Steven Ellis23 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have some big decisions ahead this year. And Noel Acciari hopes to part of those plans moving forward.
During the team’s end-of-season press availability, Acciari told reporters that he’d love to stay with the team that acquired him as part of the playoff run back in February.
“Everyone here was so great to me and my family, made everything so easy,” Acciari said. “Playing in Canada, you want to be a Maple Leaf. It’s very special. I was very fortunate to get traded here and experience this all. I’d love to (return).”
The 31-year-old had five points in 23 regular season games with the Leafs after the club acquired him from St. Louis as part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade. Acciari dealt with injuries down the stretch, including a finger injury in the playoffs. He had two goals in 11 playoff games, but it’s his physicality and defensive-zone play that made him most valuable.
And with the Leafs set for a cap crunch heading into next year, Acciari would be an excellent depth piece to keep around. Acciari made $1.25 million on his most recent deal, and joked that he’s just “looking to get a contract” this summer. He’s no stranger to being a UFA, going through the process last summer after ending a three-year run with the Florida Panthers.
Acciari said there was no discussions after the deal about a contract extension, instead saying the past few days have been reflecting on the tough loss. He says he finds the offseason can be kind of fun at times, especially when the offers start rolling in.
“It’s Kind of a bit of a whirlwind,” Acciari said. “But at the same time, it can be a confidence booster because you see what teams want you, and they tell you how good you are.”
But for now, Acciari will take some days to decompress before focusing on the future. And from the sounds of it, he’d love to keep his family in Toronto.
“You always want to be liked by the team you play for, and the fans,” Acciari said. “They were unbelievable here. They made me play as well as I could.”
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