The Ryan O’Reilly sweepstakes have been slowly picking up in recent weeks as it has become increasingly clear that he and the Colorado Avalanche are at an impasse with regard to contract extension talks. O’Reilly is a massive talent who has quickly become a beloved figure in the Avs’ locker room and community, so it would hurt for them to lose him, but the way this thing is dragging on, you have to wonder if at some point the Avs need to make a deal with another team just to avoid losing him and getting nothing in return.
Many teams are interested in his services and have undoubtedly contacted the Avs to see if a deal can be made, and the Edmonton Oilers should be one of those teams. Any deal for O’Reilly is going to require a couple things which the Oilers have plenty of–draft picks and prospects–so there could be a match here. The Avs are currently tied for last in the NHL with nine points and there is a real possibility that the Oilers could finish in the bottom five in the league yet again this year. With the dearth of talent that will be available in this year’s draft, if the Avs know they aren’t going to be able to re-sign O’Reilly you can bet they would be willing to stomach the idea of trading him to a division rival like the Oilers if it meant they could potentially have two top five picks in the draft. Talk about reloading.
But a No. 1 pick alone wouldn’t do the trick. Someone like Magnus Paajarvi–a talented left winger who has struggled to find his game the past season and a half after a solid rookie campaign, and who has gotten lost in the shuffle of the influx of young offensive talent in Edmonton–would have to go to the Avs too. It’s hard to know whether a potential top five pick and someone who could slot in on the third line left wing behind Gabriel Landeskog and Jamie McGinn would be enough to sway the Avs’ minds though.
God knows the Oilers would love this deal as they would acquire the strong, top-line, two-way center they’ve been coveting for years. It would increase their depth at center and help prepare them for a serious run at the playoffs next season. But a deal might be unlikely. It would create a logjam at center for the rest of this season unless they are able to find a taker for either Shawn Horcoff‘s or Eric Belanger‘s services, and considering Horcoff will be gone after this season, if they acquired O’Reilly only to give up Belanger and then Horcoff, they would still be in need of another center.
You never know how this might shake out. The idea of the Oilers getting in on the Ryan O’Reilly action sounds great in theory, and it would certainly bolster the center position for them long-term, but it might not be the right deal to make. Don’t get too excited about this possibility, Oilers Nation, because it probably won’t happen; but if it does…