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Ryan Reaves skating in the reverse retro jersey
Photo credit: Ryan Reaves

Ryan Reaves admits he thought his Maple Leafs career was over

Published April 5, 2024 at 6:03 PM

In July of 2023 the Toronto Maple Leafs made it a priority to change the culture in their locker room. With a brand new General Manager, in Brad Treliving, the team was ready to take a new approach towards the future. Gone were the days when the Leafs would be known as "soft" or easy to play against, and to do that the team was putting a priority on being able to play heavy.

That's why the Maple Leafs felt it was so important to add a player like Ryan Reaves. Given permission to speak to teams early, Reaves quickly came to an agreement that he'd be a Maple Leafs. So on July 1st Reaves and the Leafs agreed to a 3 year deal for $1,350,000 per season according to Cap Friendly.

Despite this seeming like a match made in heaven, things got off to a rocky start. To begin the season Reaves struggled mightily. He found himself in and out of the lineup and the target of much negativity. Most of this deservedly so as his play on the ice didn't meet the standards set by the franchise or himself.

Then on December 14 it seemed like things had gone from bad to worse when Reaves suffered and ankle injury against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The injury occurred when Reaves caught a rut and slammed it the boards awkwardly.

It seemed like an awful exclamation point on an awful season. Reaves would be forced to watch and wait to find out if someone was going to steal his spot in the lineup. Reaves sat on the sidelines recovering until he made his return on January 27th against the Winnipeg Jets.

That's when the season turned around. Reaves scored in his first game back and he returned a changed player. Since his return the lineup has been revitalized and the fourth line especially has been a nuisance for others. Now for the first time Reaves opened up to Jonas Siegel of The Athletic about what he went through.

«I mean, there was a time where I didn't know if I was gonna touch a sheet with this team again, to be honest. When you don't play for so long, you can start running through every scenario. You can start running through, They're gonna trade me. They're gonna put me on waivers. They're gonna buy me out.

Whatever it is, I think you run everything when you haven't played for a month and a half.»

Now Reaves is riding high for the Leafs. Coming off of a TKO of Tanner Jeannot, Reaves has his swagger back and is ready to help the Maple Leafs go on a potential Stanley Cup run. At 37-years-old, Reaves career is certainly on the back end of his career, so it's important for him to make the best of his remaining opportunities.
April 5   |   286 answers
Ryan Reaves admits he thought his Maple Leafs career was over

Who is the toughest player in the NHL?

Ryan Reaves14450.3 %
Nic Deslauriers4114.3 %
Kurtis MacDermid248.4 %
Someone else7726.9 %
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