NHL Insider slams the Ryan O'Reilly trade, identifies the player the Leafs should have gone after for the price the paid

Dean Chaudhry
February 20, 2023  (5:12 PM)

With the general consensus being that the Toronto Maple Leafs came out as the winners in their blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Blues on Friday night, one insider in particular still doesn't believe that that's the case and that the Maple Leafs might've dropped the ball entirely.

Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff went into detail about the O'Reilly acquisition on his DFO Rundown podcast, saying that he firmly believes that this decision could either be the trade Kyle Dubas is remembered for or the one that gets him fired.
"This is either going to be Kyle Dubas' signature move or it's going to be the signature on his death warrant as GM of the Maple Leafs"

He also mentioned how the trade does very little to bolster Toronto ahead of the trade deadline and doesn't strike fear into their most likely round one opponent in Tampa Bay.
"Does this trade, in your opinion, shift the balance of power in the East?... So you're able to get through Tampa... I don't look at this trade and say 'this helps them vastly change this power structure that's in place."

"Do you think the Tampa Bay Lightning are sitting there saying today 'oh man, I'm shaking in my boots that they got Ryan O'Reilly now'?

"Were there better bets to make than Ryan O'Reilly? I would say Timo Meier."

O'Reilly hasn't had the season that many were expecting or that the player himself was hoping for but the St. Louis Blues as a whole struggled mightily this season. O'Reilly is the type of player that puts his body on the line and plays in the tough areas. He also plays a strong two-way game, well-suited for the playoffs. Seravalli doesn't believe, though, that he's the player he once was back in 2019 - the same player that many are hoping can return to form for the Maple Leafs.
"I'm a Ryan O'Reilly fan... my question is, when you watch this season, how far removed his he from that 2019 player and Selke win. I think watching this year, I would say pretty far away from that player."

He finishes off by saying that the asking price for Timo Meier - another Maple Leafs target - won't be as astronomical as many believe. The Maple Leafs shelled out 4 draft picks including their first round pick to acquire O'Reilly at 75% retention and depth forward Noel Acciari.
"I will be shocked if Timo Meier goes for much more than what the Toronto Maple Leafs paid for Ryan O'Reilly - that's how big of a price I think they paid."

Only time will tell if this trade helps the Maple Leafs in the long run but at this very moment, they possess arguably the deepest center depth in the NHL if they so choose to play O'Reilly at that position. O'Reilly was made for the playoffs and has been in the deepest water. That's what the Leafs were focusing on with this acquisition.
There are plenty of people who believe that Seravalli might be slightly sour about not having his finger on the pulse of what's happening in Toronto, thanks to Kyle Dubas' penchant for handling his business a little more quietly than perhaps most other GMs. He was groomed by Lou Lamoriello after all, so it shouldn't really be a shocker that he's been so tight-lipped about what he's been up to in the last couple of years.
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NHL Insider slams the Ryan O'Reilly trade, identifies the player the Leafs should have gone after for the price the paid

Did the Leafs make a mistake going after O'Reilly instead of Timo Meier?

Yes18627.2 %
No37755.2 %
Either move would have been fine, tbh12017.6 %
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