It’s always enticing to see a young player on another team who doesn’t sound like he wants to be there. This is good news for every team in the NHL, especially if you have the assets to make a trade. But in this situation the New York Rangers could make a splash, but they could also set their team back years with a new trade target possibly opening.
That player is Colorado Avalanche winger Ryan O’Reilly. The 23-year-old forward won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy this past season (he only committed one penalty all season) and tallied 64 points, a career high. He led the Avs in goals (28) and had nine power play goals. O’Reilly and the Avs aren’t on the same page at all. Two years ago, he held out for more money and the Calgary Flames swooped in with a two-year, $10 million offer sheet which Colorado eventually matched. The more Colorado holds him, the less trade value he’ll have because of his uncertainty signing long-term to the team he’s traded to.
While O’Reilly would fit great with the Rangers, how would they even have the trade assets for him? Knowing Colorado, they’d probably ask for a load of farm talent, even including J.T. Miller, who New York wants starting on the third line this upcoming season. Over the past decade, fans have complained about how the team signs too many old players and doesn’t develop from within, and this season they finally seem to be listening. Trading all of that for one player who might not even sign a long-term deal with you would be a bad look for the organization and the fans who fill your seats every game.
There’s little hope O’Reilly stays with the Avalanche long term. Colorado seems to be ready to move on from him and cash in while his trade value is high. But is New York really in the position to risk most of their future for one player? Only Rangers GM Glen Sather knows the answer to that.