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Maple Leafs: Ryan Reaves will be sidelined tonight
This summer, the Maple Leafs wanted to equip themselves to compete with the likes of Milan Lucic and Arber Xhekaj in the Atlantic Division.

They decided to break out the checkbook and sign hard-nosed Ryan Reaves for three years and a total salary of $4.05 million.

An average of $1.35 million a year isn’t that much, but the fact that he was signed for that amount and isn’t contributing anything is more problematic.

In 14 games, Reaves has been blanked from the scoresheet, collected 12 penalty minutes and has a differential of -11.

When he’s on the ice, the Leafs have allowed 11 goals and haven’t scored a single five-on-five goal.

His lacklustre performances have drawn criticism from Toronto fans, who are not afraid to speak their minds, much like those of the Montreal Canadiens.

After all, hockey is a religion in both cities.

Now the colossus will be left out of tonight’s game, when the Leafs host the Vancouver Canucks.

Sheldon Keefe has confirmed that Bobby McMann will take the veteran’s place this Saturday.

This decision seems to please many Leafs fans.

If this tweet is anything to go by, the comments speak for themselves.

This signing hurts the Maple Leafs, who are literally sitting on the payroll.

There isn’t a single dollar to spare, and Reaves’ 1.35 million a year isn’t necessarily welcome if he performs like this and has to be let go.

It should also be pointed out that Reaves has been hired to play physical, but above all to defend his teammates, something he’s not really doing this season.

Recently, Timothy Liljegren was thrown into the boards following what appeared to be intentional contact by Brad Marchand, and the defender was forced to leave the game.

Reaves wasn’t on the ice and not only did the tough guy not do anything for the rest of the game, the entire team didn’t get up to throw down the gloves with Marchand to defend his teammates.

A player like Reaves was expected in the Leafs’ dressing room, because nobody wants to throw down the gloves when they have to.

And we saw it against the Montreal Canadiens when Xhekaj went after Reaves, who had tackled Kaiden Guhle from behind.

It’s the kind of reaction fans expect from Reaves, but he doesn’t do it.

Reaves will have to correct his game if he wants to keep his place in the lineup.

He’ll have to start by defending his teammates and not being such a nuisance, even if we don’t expect him to score thirty-odd goals.

In brief

– Lane Hutson is simply incredible. I can’t wait to see him play professionally.

– The 6-foot-5 forward collected 25 points, including 14 goals, in 19 WHL games.

– Spencer Martin had absolutely nothing to do with it, biting into Lucas Raymond’s feint.

– The Wolf will be the starting goaltender for the Flames tonight against the Ottawa Senators.

– Artturi Lehkonen will miss several weeks following his fall against the boards in last Thursday’s game.

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