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Ryan Reaves’ staying patient for ‘whatever else is going to come’
By Shane Seney1 month ago
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves was recently interviewed by Luke Fox of Sportsnet and needless to say there’s some interesting details to discuss. While Reaves has been on the injured reserve since he hurt himself back on December 14, according to the Leafs enforcer, he’s been healthy for a couple of weeks and is remaining patient on next steps.
While healthy, the fact the Leafs haven’t done anything regarding roster positioning, should be a telltale sign. Toronto doesn’t play again until Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets, so perhaps they address the healthy Reaves at this time.
The Reaves signing hasn’t made much sense
Personally, seeing a 36, now 37 year old Reaves signed for three seasons at $1.35 million hasn’t ever made sense to me. Brad Treliving was new on the job and trying to instill some piss and vinegar into the 2023-24 Maple Leafs, but I’m still unsure why he felt Reaves needed to be locked in for three seasons to do so.
The veteran enforcer has appeared in 21 games so far as a Leaf, recording one goal and 16 penalty minutes. While he’s never been fleet of foot, his skating abilities and defensive zone coverage have been absolutely exposed since day one as a Leaf and now Treliving has a little bit of a mess to clean up.
Sam Lafferty was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a draft pick before the start of the season as the Maple Leafs needed to create more cap space to not only keep Reaves on the roster but also to have Fraser Minten start the year in the NHL. Needless to say, Lafferty, his 10 goals, and electric speed, would look very good among the Maple Leafs bottom-six.
Fox asked Reaves how he’s feeling at the moment and while he’s still on the IR, this quote certainly provides something to chomp on:
Yeah, I’ve been ready for a couple weeks now. That’s a question for them. I am not in those rooms, in those conversations. I’m not going to speculate anything. Just stay ready. And if I get called upon, I do. If I don’t, I get my work in. So, I can’t really sit here and speculate and bitch and moan over anything. Either stay patient to get in the lineup — or stay patient for whatever else is going to come.
Reaves goes on to mention the coaching staff have just asked that he stay ready for when he’s called upon and head coach Sheldon Keefe recently mentioned he’s aware of what type of player Reaves is and he knows what to expect once he’s ready to insert him back into the lineup.
(Editor’s note: Russian Machine Never Breaks has an excellent summary of how the Leafs have kept Reaves on the IR even though Ryan is saying he is ready to play.)
Trade to come at some point?
Treliving needs to consider moving Reaves, if there’s anyone willing that is. Could Reaves’ old team in Minnesota be interested? Waivers could be a way for the Maple Leafs to test interest as well, but at this point it’s a long shot to be able to move a banged up 37 year old enforcer, who is signed for two more seasons at $1.35 million. Again, the contract just doesn’t make sense.
Reaves knew what he was doing with his answers to Fox. He wants to play and feels he can still contribute in the league, so if it’s not Toronto, it appears he’s hoping it’s elsewhere and he gets another shot at a regular fourth-line role.
The Maple Leafs have been rotating Noah Gregor, Bobby McMann, Pontus Holmberg and David Kampf on the fourth line and so far, Kampf, Gregor and Holmberg appear to be locks moving forward as we creep closer to the March 8 trade deadline. There’s no doubt Treliving is looking around the league to see what’s available for bottom-six depth, but at this point, the main focus continues to be upgrading the blue line.
So what’s to come for Reaves? It’s likely a roster move is made before Wednesday’s game against his hometown Jets as it’s never a good look for an organization to have a healthy player, who is cutting interviews in the media about wanting to play, waiting patiently listed as injured.
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