Maple Leafs tough guy Ryan Reaves: Rangers rookie Matt Rempe is 'going to be a menace'

Saturday's New York Rangers-Toronto Maple Leafs game was more than an Original Six matchup between two playoff-positioned teams.

Much of the pregame hype was whether Rangers hard-fighting rookie Matt Rempe and Maple Leafs tough guy Ryan Reaves would drop the gloves. They did in the 4-3 Toronto win, and Reaves talked about his opponent on Monday morning.

"He's going to be a menace in the league," the 6-2, 226-pound Reaves, who has more than 75 NHL fights, said about the 6-7, 241 Rempe.

The fight wasn't on their first shift as it had been when Rempe fought the New York Islanders' Matt Martin, Philadelphia Flyers' Nicolas Deslauriers and Columbus Blue Jackets' Mathieu Olivier during his first five games in the league. Reaves said he offered, but Rempe said no.

Rather it came after Rempe checked newly acquired Leafs defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin. Rempe, 21, used his reach to get the edge early before Reaves, 37, got some shots in.

"He’s definitely the longest (person) I’ve ever fought," Reaves said. "He’s like 6-9 or something. He’s just really lanky, for sure the biggest guy I ever fought."

Reaves talked to Rempe while the two were in their penalty boxes and said Monday that the rookie was "a really nice humble kid."

Rempe now has four fights, 37 penalty minutes and two points, including a game-winning goal, in his first seven games.

The Maple Leafs forward appreciated the pregame hype and the reaction to the fight.

"It was almost cool to see because it shows that fighting is not dead in this sport," Reaves said. "People still kind of get amped up for it and enjoy that part."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ryan Reaves praises Matt Rempe after fight: 'Going to be a menace'