It seems like a given at this point that the Colorado Avalanche will be forced to trade Ryan O’Reilly, as his asking price is more than the team is willing to pay. While the team should be able to survive without him offensively, they need to try and be sure that they get a quality defenseman in return if they do trade him. Young Tyson Barrie has been one of the best performers on defense for the Avalanche this season, despite only playing in 10 games. Health is a concern for the team as well because many of their veteran players have battled injuries while making little or no contribution.
O’Reilly had the best season of his career in 2011-12, scoring 18 goals and reaching 55 points. His offensive totals led the Avalanche and he showcased a lot of skill at both ends of the ice. As veteran defensemen Matt Hunwick, Greg Zanon, Jan Hejda, Shane O’Brien and Erik Johnson struggle, maybe the time has come to package O’Reilly with one of these underperforming defenders with the hopes of getting a top-four d-man in return.
What the Avalanche need to remember is that O’Reilly is just 22 years old, has only had one good season and is asking more than they are willing to pay him. He’s hurting himself just as much as the team right now and missing out on a chance to showcase his skills before he hits the open market. There are definitely some needs that could be filled by trading the young center, but there’s no reason to deal him if they don’t get a valuable piece in return.