Here we go again. Ryan O’Reilly trade rumours are nothing new for Avalanche fans, and as we approach the 2015 Trade Deadline they seem to have reached another level. Colorado has been taking calls from other NHL teams to see what kind of value their premium two-way forward has on the market. While many fans would like to see Colorado resign one of the core players, it might not be the case. In this article I will take a look at possible trade destinations for Ryan O’Reilly. Bob McKenzie was on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 on Tuesday morning and he believes O’Reilly will be traded “So like I said – if I were a betting man, I’d say Ryan O’Reilly is more likely to be traded, but it’s not a 100 percent slam dunk that it will happen before the draft or at all.”
Also, reputed journalist Elliotte Friedman confirmed a few days ago that the Colorado Avalanche were shopping forward Ryan O’Reilly to see what kind of value he has on the trade market.
This is the reality about the O’Reilly situation. O’Reilly is slated to become a UFA after the 2015-16 season. He wants a contract somewhere in the ballpark of $6.5M to $8M per year. His contract issues with the Avs management are well documented even though they have some new faces in the front office.With that being said, can Colorado even afford to resign O’Reilly to a contract averaging $7M per year? They must absolutely resign stud defenseman Erik Johnson who will probably command a $6M salary. They need new deals for young stars like Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie not long after that. As of now Colorado has about $11M in salary cap space according to generalfanager.com and they desperately need to allocate some funds towards a weak defensive brigade.
Adrian Dater added some interesting quotes yesterday on Twitter.
However, Sakic and Roy both mentioned today that they would rather resign O’Reilly. In a perfect world they would need to get it done before the beginning of the regular season. If they plan on trading him his value will probably be at its peak during the upcoming NHL Draft.
Here are five possible trade destinations even though he might be sticking in Colorado.
Colorado fans would love a trade that included star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona made it clear that they were willing to trade anyone on their roster if the price was right. O’Reilly would be an ideal fit for the desert dogs as they desperately look to add skill upfront. Colorado would need to add some pieces like draft picks or a young prospect to complete this type of deal. OEL had an impressive 23 goal season for the Yotes despite playing on one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL. Or worst teams period. With everything going on between the Coyotes and the city of Glendale maybe they will opt to get as many young assets for some of their top players. Ekman-Larsson would help Colorado’s struggling power play and he would be that top pairing left-handed defenseman Colorado is looking for. I highly doubt that the Coyotes will make this type of deal unless the Avs blow them away with an offer.
Let’s face it, Buffalo is an ideal destination for O’Reilly and the rebuilding Sabres. Buffalo has plenty of young prospects that could interest Colorado like Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Jake McCabe, Sam Reinhart, etc. The Sabres GM Tim Murray even said he would do everything he could to try and acquire the Avs forward. They also have three first round draft picks so if Colorado was going to trade with one team at the draft it should be with Buffalo.
New York Islanders
The Islanders have never been mentioned in any rumours involving Colorado or O’Reilly but he could be a good fit for them. Plus, Isles GM Garth Snow has showed in the past that he won’t shy away from making a big deal to make his team better. Last year he acquired the services of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy which ultimately gave his team that extra edge to make the playoffs. Imagine a 1-2 punch of Tavares and O’Reilly. The Isles have two interesting defensive prospects in Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock. If one of them or both were involved in a possible trade maybe the Avs would think about it.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Let’s clear this right away Leafs fans. You are not getting Ryan O’Reilly straight up for Dion Phaneuf. However, what if the Leafs threw in this year’s #4 draft pick and a decent prospect? That could make things very interesting. Colorado would acquire a player that could help the team now and another that would help them build towards the future. The Avs and Leafs have been rumoured for the longest time but most of those rumours were just that. Jake Gardiner and Tyler Bozak make no sense. So stop. The Leafs would need to sweep the Avs management off their feet if they wished to acquire O’Reilly. Babcock would love that type of player so let’s see if Shanahan is willing to make a switch. What if the Avs got back Kessel back in a trade? Who knows with Toronto…
Washington Capitals For some reason I could see the Capitals making a push to land the Avs forward. He would be everything that head coach Barry Trotz is looking for in a player and O’Reilly’s style of play would be a match made in heaven. They were aggressive at the deadline trying to add some secondary scoring to make a deep playoff run. O’Reilly could be that piece that turns them into a Cup contender. That’s right, contenders. They could potentially trade away Karl Alzner and add in a defensive prospect like Madison Bowey. They have some interesting prospects upfront like Andre Burakovsky who could make it worth while for Colorado.
I know 29 others teams would die to have a two-way player that can be as versatile as Ryan O’Reilly. Aside from Landeskog, O’Reilly is probably the team’s most complete player because he can play in every situation. Avs fans do not want to see him leave but the sad reality is they might not have a choice. It has gotten to the point where Avs fans are emotionally separated between keeping O’Reilly or trading him. I would love to see them resign O’Reilly but anywhere around $7M to $7.5M is getting pretty expensive. Let’s see how things unfold at the draft. We can talk later.
Sean Murphy – @SeanMurphy_92