It appears as though Ryan O’Reilly has played his last game as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Negotiations have been slow going and anything but productive between the O’Reilly camp and the Avalanche throughout the entire process and it appears as though they might have finally hit an impasse.
The Avalanche are said to be actively testing the market for the young center. The price for O’Reilly is apparently a roster player, prospect and a pick. Seems a bit steep for a player who’s only put together one really good season. Almost suiting that the price to acquire him is about as absurd as the contract O’Reilly is trying to sign. O’Reilly is supposedly seeking a long term deal for around five million a season. Yikes.
There is considerable interest in the disgruntled center coming from the Eastern Conference. The Ottawa Senators who are desperate for help at center after Spezza’s season was derailed by back surgery were said to be kicking the tires on O’Reilly. Speculation was rampant that a deal had been worked out between the two clubs when Milan Michalek was a last minute scratch for the Senators game against the Penguins on Wednesday. They lost Erik Karlsson in that game, and I can’t imagine Bryan Murray thinks O’Reilly can save the Senators season at this point.
As is the case any time a player is even remotely available Paul Holmgren and the Flyers are rumoured to be interested in O’Reilly. The only problem is Philadelphia lacks the cap space to make this kind of deal work. It would certainly take some creativity and possibly involve a third team.
Although they aren’t in the Eastern Conference and have little in the way of concerns with their depth at center - especially with Ryan Kesler set to return Friday - the Vancouver Canucks are rumoured to be interested in O’Reilly. Could they tempt the Avalanche with a deal that includes either Luongo or Schneider? It’s unlikely since inter-division trades rarely occur, but adding O’Reilly just might put the Canucks over the top.
Another team to watch are the Chicago Blackhawks. There is surely no urgency for change in Chicago, but they still lack a true second line center. They have for quite some time now that I think about it. O’Reilly would finally provide them with the kind of depth at center necessary to get them back to the Cup.
Whatever the case, I think it’s safe to say when he does return to hockey it won’t be with the Avalanche. As we approach the trade deadline expect O’Reilly rumours to pop up on an hourly basis. It is also entirely possible that his ludicrous contract demands scare teams away and he holds out into the summer.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at http://www.WeveGotTwins.blogspot.ca