Leafs centre Ryan O'Reilly headed to long-term injured reserve with broken finger

NEWARK, N.J. — Maple Leafs centre Ryan O'Reilly will be out of action for a while.

Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters following Monday's practice the centre — acquired from the St. Louis Blues in a blockbuster trade last month — suffered a broken finger in Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks and will be placed on long-term injured reserve.

A player headed to LTIR must miss at least 10 games and 24 days, meaning O'Reilly won't be available until at least the beginning of April.

"When you get him, you get excited and you know what he can bring," Keefe said. "To lose him certainly is tough and disappointing. But we've acquired him to be healthy, ready to go for the playoffs.

"That will be the case."

Keefe added Leafs captain John Tavares (undisclosed) will be held out of the lineup when the team visits the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday to wrap up a five-game road trip, but expects the centre will be ready when the team returns home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

In corresponding moves announced earlier Monday, the Leafs recalled forwards Pontus Holmberg and Alex Steeves from the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies, while goaltender Joseph Woll was loaned back to the club's top affiliate.

O'Reilly was acquired along with fellow centre Noel Acciari in a three-team deal to kickstart a roster reconstruction by general manager Kyle Dubas that would later include the additions of defencemen Jake McCabe and Luke Schenn and forward Sam Lafferty.

A 32-year-old from Clinton, Ont., O'Reilly has three goals and two assists — including a four-point night in his third appearance — in eight games with Toronto.

He was also an eye-popping 84.4 per cent in the faceoff circle through his first seven contests until going 3 for 11 in Vancouver before suffering the injury late in Saturday's second period.

A Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy winner with St. Louis in 2019, O'Reilly also won that season's Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.

Toronto (38-17-8) currently sits second in the Atlantic Division, five points up on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2023.

The Canadian Press