Sabres should chase O’Reilly

Ryan O’Reilly is going to be dealt from the Colorado Avalanche.  He is an excellent two way player who has shown signs of being able to contribute offense at an above average level.

He has also been a quality possession guy over the course of his career.  Here are his 5v5 FF% rel numbers:

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Here is how he has done offensively over his career:

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So what are these numbers and what do they mean?

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 Over the past number of seasons he has shown that he has a ceiling of being a first line producer of offense at even strength and a floor of an above average third line player.  The fluctuation could have something to do with his usage and the quality of his teammates

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As you can see his offense this year has dipped, but so has the quality of teammate he has been with.  It is a career low in 2014-15.

As far as what Colorado would want for Ryan O’Reilly?  The rumor has it they are looking for a defenseman with term on his contract.  Enter the Buffalo Sabres.

The Buffalo Sabres are in a position where they can trade Tyler Myers.  They have two really promising young defensemen in Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, as well as a guy like Mark Pysyk who has some nice upside.

Tyler Myers started his NHL career off by winning the Calder Trophy.  Since then it has been a mixed bag.

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Possession has been up and down depending on the year, but his offense has been on the decline since his rookie season.

Some people may be willing to look past the declining numbers because Myers is unique in the sense that he is still young, but he also has that one variable some NHL executives can’t resist, size.

Also making a potential trade centering around O’Reilly and Myers interesting is that Colorado doesn’t strike me as a team that values analytics as much as others.  Perhaps they would look the other way on some of this stuff and just see a hulking defenseman who can eat minutes and play in all situations.

With all that said there is some risk involved for whatever team that is willing to trade for Ryan O’Reilly despite how good he is.

The tricky part about trading for O’Reilly is that his contract is up after the 2015-16 season and he has a track record of being a very difficult negotiator.  Whoever wants to sign him long term is going to have to pony up for his services.

The good news for Buffalo is that they have plenty of cap space and they are one team that can afford to overspend on him and not have it disrupt their salary structure.  Giving Ryan O’Reilly in the neighborhood of 8 years 60.0M for an AAV of 7.50M isn’t going to kill them.  That is the kind of deal it will take to sign O’Reilly.  Not all teams can offer him that.

One important variable to remember about any trade involving the Buffalo Sabres during the 2014-15 season is how it will impact their tank job for McEichel.  I do not believe that trading for Ryan O’Reilly jeopardizes their pursuit.  Especially if the Sabres trade away Jhonas Enroth.

I mean just look how bad the Sabres are:

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The only thing that can help prop up this awful possession is great goaltending.  Trading Enroth could put a stop to that.

Tim Murray is on record saying that he doesn’t believe the Sabres are as far away from competing as people think and I agree.  He has done a masterful job of balancing the tank of the 2014-15 season while providing himself the flexibility to ramp things up in 2015-16.

A trade for Ryan O’Reilly could be a perfect move to help assist in that.

Think about a Buffalo top six forward grouping in 2015-16 that could boast such players as McEichel, Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart, Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Zemgus Girgensons and Joel Armia/Mikhail Grigorenko.  That isn’t bad at all.  And even if they aren’t firing on all cylinders in 2015-16 they would definitely be good to go by 2016-17.  This doesn’t even take into consideration Buffalo’s other two first round picks in 2015 or the fact they can go out and sign players in free agency.

Buffalo is in quite the envious position in the NHL from where I sit.  They have loads of high end draft picks. Plenty of skilled guys on ELC contracts, and the ability to land a big fish like Ryan O’Reilly if they want to.

Ryan O’Reilly and Buffalo makes a lot of sense.  Can Tim Murray convince Colorado of Tyler Myer’s worth?  Time will tell, but he should make an aggressive attempt.


*Data taken from War on Ice, Puck On Net, and Hockey Analysis*

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