Ahead of Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari’s Maple Leafs debut tonight against Montreal, Sheldon Keefe discussed the team’s new additions and the level of excitement it has injected into the coaching staff and players.

When did the coach find out about the trade? Did you find out last night or this morning?

Keefe: I found out late last night. It is obviously very exciting. I was on my way driving back from my son’s hockey game. I couldn’t do too much about it.

It was exciting. It was tough to sleep, to be honest, trying to think about all of the different options that it presents. You get excited about it.

I am just like the players. You are thrilled to be able to make your team better.

How much harder does it make your team to play against adding players like this? O’Reilly is a playoff player.

Keefe: There are certain players who seem like playoff players, and then there are guys that you can say are playoff guys. I think he has done more than enough in his time in the playoffs — and not just the year he won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe. He is one of the rare guys who actually has a higher points-per-game in the playoffs than in the regular season.

There is a lot that he brings on both sides of the puck. He is a Selke Trophy winner and a highly-respected player defensively. If you talk about hard to play against, that is a big part of it. He doesn’t give you much on defense and can hurt you on offense. He is good on faceoffs. He is a smart player and just a veteran guy that can do a lot of things.

That is to say nothing of Acciari, who is another guy… In talking to our players today, they are excited about O’Reilly for obvious reasons, but Acciari is a guy, when you hear the excitement for them, it speaks to the respect for his game and how hard he is to play against and the experience that he has in the playoffs as well — going deep, being a part of battles, and playing on good teams.

Both guys fit the mold in terms of being hard to play against and valuable teammates. The messages I have been getting from people around the league from people who have experience with them both have been nothing but super positive. For all of those reasons, you are extremely excited.

Where do you plan on slotting in O’Reilly in the lineup? When do you expect him to play?

Keefe: The plan is for both guys to play tonight. I have spoken to them both. They are making their way here. Both were adamant about playing tonight. We play again tomorrow and all of that, but they were both adamant and excited to get right in. For that reason, you get them right involved. That is great.

What is most exciting for me on the coaching side of it, which is why it was difficult to sleep: You have so many options now with such an abundance of depth at center. We can do lots of different things. There are people we can move and can play center or wing, including the guys we have acquired.

It gives me lots of options. I expect, between now and the end of the regular season, we will try a number of different things. We will try to get, A) a feel for what our best mix is, and B) potential adjustments and looks we can throw out depending on what the game or opponent calls for.

How do you think Ryan O’Reilly would fit next to Tavares?

Keefe: I mean, he is a great player. He would fit very well with anyone in our team and in any spot in our lineup.

When you had conversations with Kyle Dubas and Brendan Shanahan, when did you get the sense that something like this might be possible?

Keefe: I have let those guys do their thing. I have been made aware of different conversations that are being had or players that were of interest — probably no different than the long list of guys that are available from various teams. I am well aware of different things.

I think Kyle and Brendan have been involved in lots of things. I really don’t ask too many questions. I have enough things happening here. They know where to find me if they want to run something by me.

I was not expecting a deal in any way last night, but I discovered they were hard at work all day. Nobody from our management team left the building last night from practice all the way through the end of the night. It was clear a lot was happening.

I know Kyle well enough now. We communicate so much. I know that when he gets quiet, I have a pretty good sense some things are happening.

Kyle has made big additions in the past with Nick Foligno and Mark Giordano. Where does this one rate in terms of your level of excitement?

Keefe: Every time the organization invests in your team in terms of adding players and additional depth, you get excited. This is different because you have a guy with such great versatility and such great pedigree, in particular, at the most important time of year in the playoffs.

When you put all of that together, this is very exciting. It just gives us another guy that has been through it. We don’t have a lot of those. There is not a lot in the league. It is hard to win.

To have a guy who has not only won a Stanley Cup, not only been a captain, not only won the Selke Trophy but who has won what is — for me — the most prestigious and difficult trophy to win in the Conn Smythe is pretty special.

To add all of those things up, this is certainly right up there with as excited as I have been.

The versatility to play on the wing or at center and in different spots in the lineup — how much does that excite you?

Keefe: It is big. Center depth is important. If you look at our division and the depth at center ice in our division, for any team, the foundation of your team is down the middle of the ice. To have the abundance of options with guys that can play center and can move around…

We already have other versatile guys in our lineup, so we can try different things. We have enough time now. Getting a little extra time before the deadline is valuable time for us to look at different things. We will get to know the players more in terms of how they fit in here, what the mix is like, and how it impacts the rest of the group.

We will make adjustments along the way. That brings a lot of excitement and an abundance of options and opportunities. It makes us more difficult for teams to match up against. It allows us opportunities to duplicate certain matchups and be comfortable regardless of how things shake out.

We have David Kampf also as a center we are comfortable playing in tough-matchup situations. To have even more of that is extremely valuable. That is when you are healthy.

To have the extra insurance in the vent that something happens… We have been through this before in the playoffs where we lost a key center and a key player for us. It is difficult to overcome that. Having additional options and insurance is really important.