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Off-season Maple Leafs departures: Ryan O’Reilly’s scorching start, Luke Schenn returns from injury

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
2 months ago
At the beginning of November, I brought back this series, which reviews former Maple Leafs who left in the off-season, and I see how they’ve been doing with their new teams after signing with them. From Michael Bunting leaving to go to the Carolina Hurricanes to Ryan O’Reilly signing a four-year deal with the Nashville Predators, I review six former Maple Leafs and their season thus far.

1. Michael Bunting – Carolina Hurricanes

November stats: 11 GP – 2 G – 5 A – 7 PTS – 12:54 TOI
2023-24 stats: 21 GP – 5 G – 10 A – 15 PTS – 15:18 TOI
Contract: 4 x $4.5M (M-NTC first two years)
Michael Bunting left Toronto after just two seasons to sign a big four-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, and so far, he has delivered his end of the bargain. After a solid month of October, scoring three goals and five assists for eight points in 10 games, he has followed November up with two goals and five assists for another seven points in 11 games to improve his season point totals to 15 points in 21 games.
The 28-year-old is among the top point scorers on the team, despite him averaging the eighth least amount of ice time among players that have played a game for Carolina this season and is on pace to finish the season with 58 points, which would be the second highest point total for him in his career.

2. Ryan O’Reilly – Nashville Predators

November stats: 13 GP- 6 G – 6 A – 12 PTS – 20:06 TOI
2023-24 stats: 22 GP – 10 G – 9 A – 19 PTS – 20:15 TOI
Contract: 4 x $4.5M
Ryan O’Reilly was very productive in a Maple Leafs uniform. He scored seven goals and added 13 assists for 20 points in 24 games between the regular season and playoffs, and he has continued that hot stretch into this season with his new team this season.
He left Toronto in the off-season to return to the Central division to sign with the Nashville Predators on a big four-year deal, and so far, in 22 games, Ryan O’Reilly has been worth every penny for them. He had a solid month in October, scoring four goals and three assists for seven points in nine games, and he followed that up with another great month of production. In 13 games last month, he scored six goals and added six assists for 12 points, as he improved his season totals to 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points while averaging the most ice time since the 2020-21 season.

3. Alex Kerfoot – Arizona Coyotes

November stats: 14 GP – 1 G – 5 A – 6 PTS – 16:23 TOI
2023-24 stats: 22 GP – 1 G – 8 A – 9 PTS – 15:58 TOI
Contract: 2 x $3.5M (M-NTC)
Toronto could use Alex Kerfoot’s defensive presence this season, but I think it was time to move on from the 29-year-old after four seasons with the club. He left Toronto in the off-season to sign a two-year deal with the Arizona Coyotes, and thus far, it hasn’t been the start both sides would’ve hoped for. However, Kerfoot had a much better month in November than in October, so maybe that will help him going forward with his new team.
He registered just three assists in eight games in the first month of the season and doubled that point total in November, scoring his first goal as a Coyote and adding five assists for six points. He has nine points in 22 games with Arizona and is also averaging the most ice time in his career (15:58).

4. Noel Acciari – Pittsburgh Penguins

November stats: 13 GP – 2 G – 1 A – 3 PTS – 12:41 TOI
2023-24 stats: 22 GP – 2 G – 1 A – 3 PTS – 12:18 TOI
Contract: 3 x $2M (M-NTC)
It hasn’t quite been the season Noel Acciari was probably hoping for after a pretty underrated season last year, scoring 14 goals and 23 points. He went pointless in nine October games but finally found the scorehseet in November, as he scored two goals and added an assist for three points in 13 games.
One of his two goals came against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, as he roofed one over Joseph Woll’s right shoulder. It still sucks that Toronto couldn’t retain Acciari in the off-season, given how good he was in a bottom-six role for the team last season and the playoffs, but I’m sure he’ll turn his slow season around sooner rather than later. He’s an underrated bottom-six forward.
 

5. Luke Schenn – Nashville Predators

November stats: 3 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 PTS – 12:36 TOI
2023-24 stats: 4 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 PTS – 13:15 TOI
Contract: 3 x $2.75M
Luke Schenn finally returned to action late in November after missing an extended period due to an injury he sustained in the first game of the season. After playing limited minutes in the season opener, Schenn has played in three straight games with his new team and is bringing to the ice what he is known for.
In his most recent game, he dropped the gloves with Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno for a spirited tilt. In three games since his return from injury, Schenn has gone pointless but is involving himself elsewhere in other departments. He has recorded 11 hits and two blocks in his last three games, including a six-hit performance against the Wild to finish November.

6. Justin Holl – Detroit Red Wings

November stats: 9 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 PTS – 15:27 TOI
2023-24 stats: 17 GP – 0 G – 3 A – 3 PTS – 16:08 TOI
Contract: 3 x $3.4M (M-NTC)
After his first month with his new team and leading the NHL in plus-minus for a bit, Justin Holl has been in and out of the Red Wings lineup because they have seven NHL-calibre defensemen on their active roster. He got into eight of Detroit’s 10 games in October, where he registered three assists, and played in nine of Detroit’s 12 games in November, including one against his former team during the NHL’s 2023 Global Series trip to Sweden.
Despite going pointless in nine games last month, that is not what Holl is known for. He has brought experience to that blue line and brings an element to their penalty kill that benefited Toronto’s penalty kill over the past couple of seasons, and that was the willingness to block shots, no matter who was shooting them.
However, you also get this version of Justin Holl. Someone soft on the puck, and Toronto’s Bertuzzi took advantage of that in their game against Detroit in Sweden, as he set up the game-winning goal.
(Stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
(Contract details from PuckPedia.com)

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