The NHL trade deadline was Wednesday, and with it came a ton of wheeling and dealing. The Toronto Maple Leafs made a shrewd move when they traded for Ryan O’Byrne. O’Byrne may not be a goal scorer, but there is one thing that he can do very well and that’s using his body to keep the opposition away from the net.
O’Byrne is a tall defenseman at 6’5” who likes to fight which will bring a very necessary physical force to this Toronto team. The Maple Leafs needed to do something with their defense if they wanted to be a team that could make a run at a Stanley Cup. O’Byrne is the right answer at the right time for this team. Toronto has won three straight games and now brings in a player that can take some pressure off their other defensemen. The physical nature of O’Byrne as well may lead to players like Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel having more room to work because other teams don’t want to deal with O’Byrne.
Toronto is in a tie for fifth place going into Thursday’s action in the Eastern Conference. I’m not sure that the Maple Leafs can move any higher than that fifth position and probably would be better off with the No. 6 seed. The O’Byrne move should ensure that Toronto makes the playoffs, however, and that’s the most important thing because you never know what can happen once the playoffs begin. The Maple Leafs are a better team today than they were yesterday morning because of this trade.