Predators' Ryan O'Reilly Opens Up About Leaving the Maple Leafs

Ryan O'Reilly had a really tough decision to make this past summer and it came down to what was best for his career and his young family moving forward. After receiving interest from a number of teams once free agency opened, the former Toronto Maple Leaf decided he wanted out of the big market and wanted to play in Nashville with the Predators.

A change of pace indeed, O'Reilly admitted the Toronto media was a bit tough to handle at times and couldn't get over the kind of coverage the Maple Leafs receive in the area. The former Conn Smythe trophy winner caught up with the media during camp and opened up about leaving his home town team for a chance to play significant minutes on the Preds' top line:

It was and is an amazing place to play. Just putting on that jersey, you can just feel the love that comes with it, how much pride people take in that jersey. It's hockey's team. … It was definitely not an easy decision not (to re-sign) there. You could tell everything's amplified. I don’t do it often, (but) it was a good thing when I played there that I didn’t turn on the TV much or turn on the radio, because there are (so many outlets) talking about it. … Everything's covering it, talking about it. Here, it gets a little time on the TV, but it's not everything. It is more than just a game there. There were just so many things that were attractive to here. We have something here that, if we do things the right way, we're going to be very competitive.

O'Reilly posted a combined 30 points in 53 games last season split between the St Louis Blues and Maple Leafs. We shall see how the numbers look this year as the first-line centre for the Preds and likely playing between Filip Forsberg and Gus Nyquist. 

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