An interesting trade partner emerges in Colorado

January 13, 2014, by
A match made in Denver?

A match made in Denver?

For the past month or so, there have been many reports that the Rangers have been scouting the Colorado Avalanche. We don’t play them for another month, so I think it’s safe to assume the Rangers aren’t pre-scouting and may be exploring trade opportunities.

If the latter is true and the Rangers are taking a hard look at Colorado’s roster, then it certainly begs the question — is there a fit? Looking over Colorado’s roster and contract situations, they’re flush at center, short on wings, and somewhere in the middle on defense.

We’re pretty set at wing. Neither Step, Richie, nor Brass are true #1 centers. A right-handed defender remains our biggest need overall. So there are a few trade possibilities worth exploring. 

Paul Stastny ($6.6M – UFA)

If you look at the teams that have won or challenged for the Cup in the modern era there’s always one element that can consistently be found on all of those rosters, and that’s top-end centers. Systems have changed. Some have won with strong defenses and goaltending, others have relied on offense, but centers are the constant.

The Rangers haven’t had an elite pivot since Mark Messier was slaying dragons. Stastny, while certainly not Mess, is probably one of the more under-appreciated centers in the league.

Stastny takes the vast majority of his draws in the defensive zone (low 40’s zone start %), he gets all of Colorado’s toughest matchups, and yet he’s still their top puck possession player (51.9 corsi for %). Even more exciting, he wins 54% of his draws and is on pace for 65 points. In other words, he does more with less, which is the opposite of Stepan and Richards.

The concern with Stastny is he’s a UFA after this year and he’s still in his prime at 28 years old. You’d have to figure most GM’s in this league are aware of the stats I rattled off in my last paragraph and would be willing to shell out for his services. In other words, more than Del Zotto has to go in the other direction.

Ryan O’Reilly ($5M – RFA)

O’Reilly is another interesting target. He can play both left wing and center. He’s used in all situations. He’s a tenacious forechecker and works hard defensively, which is something our current crop of centers sorely lack. For his third season in a row, he’s pretty much a lock to put up 55 points. Advanced stats don’t really tell much of a story. He’s middle of the road in puck possession and deployment.

The real issue with ROR isn’t in his play, but with potential costs. Last season he held out during a contract dispute and missed over a month of a lockout-shortened season. The Avalanche ultimately had to match an offer sheet from Calgary in order to get him under contract. That whole ordeal was a real fiasco for all parties involved and it wasn’t a good look for the 22 year old.

Tyson Barrie ($715K – RFA)

If Barrie were a left-handed shot, he probably wouldn’t be on my radar. However, as I’ve mentioned countless times on this site, the Rangers need a right-handed shot on the blueline and Barrie could be an affordable option in that regard.

Barrie is currently a 2nd year pro after being drafted by the Avalanche in the third round in 2009. Scouts describe him as a puck mover, with mobility and a good shot from the point, but worry about his d-zone coverage due to his small stature. He’s listed at 5’10 190 lbs. which means he probably walks around an inch shorter and 10-15 pounds lighter.  Though to be fair, he’s only 22 so he could fill out a little more.

He’s missed a few games from a shoulder injury, but he’s on pace for 7 goals, 26 points, and is averaging about 17-18 minutes a game. He’s typically used on the bottom pair during 5-on-5 play, but he does get time on the 2nd PP unit.

When it comes to puck possession, Extraskater.com has him pretty even (49.1 corsi for %) against weaker competition. He is also mostly deployed for offensive zone face-offs  (low 60’s zone start %). However, he’s only 70 games into his NHL career, so you can’t really make a big deal out of those numbers either way.

Whether or not Sather makes a deal with Joe Sakic is anyone’s guess, but it seems like these two teams are a pretty good fit from a need/have standpoint. I guess the question is — what do you give up for any combination of these players?


  1. Kevin says:

    The O’Reilly/Stepan swap idea doesn’t look so crazy now, does it?

    • Dave says:

      I really wanted that one. Can see the other side of it as well, but in a vacuum I still make that deal.

      • Prustyballs94 says:

        I think it does. There’s not much difference between them points wise or possession wise but ROR is way more expensive with his qualifying offer being over 6 million when he becomes a RFA again. And before anyone jumps down my throat and to say that ROR is on pace for almost 60 points while Stepan is only on pace for nearly 50, I think it is important to note that Stepan’s sh% is a career low and his on-ice sh% is also crap. Also, ROR is shooting over 13%, which should definitely regress as well.

        • Prustyballs94 says:

          This was supposed to be a reply to Kevin…sorry for the reply fail!

          • Kevin says:

            I was referring back to the debate last year.  Taking the money into account, it’s definitely not so smart now.  And it doesn’t really benefit the Rangers the way the team is constructed now.  But everyone thought it was crazy by the end of last season when Step broke out.  This year, it’s reversed.

      • @Centerman21 says:

        What ticks me off is I was on Stepans side through the whole process and now he regresses to the mean. Watch next season in another contract year, he has another monster year. I think the AVs want D more than anything. What wingers are we trading? Hagelin?

      • @Centerman21 says:

        If you’re referring to a Stepan for ROR deal how does that help the Rangers? They will need to add a Centerman at some point with the likely buyout of Richards. If they make that trade, they’d add salary and still need a Centerman for next season. At least with Step under an affordable contract, they could keep Richards if for some reason they couldn’t find a replacement in free agency or trade.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      It still doesn’t make much sense, even less so now than it did a year ago.  The Rangers don’t need a center swap, they need an additional center.  Not to mention Stepan is the only center under contract after this season (assuming Richards gets bought out).  
      I like O’Reilly, but I’m always nervous about trading assets for impending free agents, even if they are RFAs. 
      That’s what makes a trade for Stastny even more worrisome – as an UFA.  You’d almost have to work out a contract extension prior to a trade (given the AV’s allow the Rangers this window to negotiate) to make it worth it.  I’m not excited about an expensive rental.
      Having said this, either O’Reilly or Stastny would look good in blue, I would just be much more comfortable with a contract extension in place.

      • Kevin says:

        Yes, see above comment. Was referring to the debate from last year.  Doesn’t make much sense now.

      • @Centerman21 says:

        I agree. The avs have an extra center or 2 and the Rangers should be on the look out for one now. Richards is gone and Brassard is a free agent. Brassard can play wing and so can ROR. Both have at times this season. Some of the power house teams in the west have a couple extra Centerman. I could see Sather trading DZ & Hagelin for ROR.

  2. Dave says:

    ROR is a kid I’ve liked for a while. Vic Carneiro has raved about him as well.
    This ties in nicely with your trade bait post last week. Barrie is the only one that MDZ can fetch straight up. The other two require additions.

  3. Kevin says:

    You’re forgetting the obvious choice here: Del Zotto for Duchene straight up

  4. Hatrick Swayze says:

    I’d guess from a trading standpoint, O’Reilly would demand more than Stasny in that he is younger, still an RFA and has more years remaining on his contract. Stasny, who is set to expire after this season, would be considered a rental and therefore command less. Depending on the cost of acquiring Stasny, it might be worth it to wait until free agency so that we would not have to give up any assets to buy his services. If he would be willing to sign, he sure would be more deserving of the 6.67 million that Richards is making for another 4-6 years. Would that get a deal done or will the open market drive the price even higher?
    Say we do try to nab him as a rental…what would it cost?

    • Steven Cifuentes says:

      Agree 100% that Statsny should not command more then O’Reilly.

      Maybe Avs are looking to trade Statsny and use that money and pay O’Reilly to replace him.

      More likely scenario then getting O’reilly IMO.

      Any UFA at 28 will command less then 22 year old RFA.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Agree that it would command less for the Rangers to acquire the asset in a trade. But as far as paying the players salary, Stasny (as a UFA) will far exceed what O’Reilly will get paid as an RFA with little leverage and bargaining power.
        UFAs almost always get paid big for their past acheivements (glory days).

        • Zen says:

          Hatrick… what you are not realizing is that O’Reilly’s qualifying offer must be larger than his last season’s SALARY, which is $6.5M. While Statsny is a tough player to predict in terms of the UFA, he won’t FAR exceed that amount. He might even make less.

          • Steven Cifuentes says:

            Statsny is at 6.6 million now…I am sure he will look for a slight increase to 7 or 7.5 million as an UFA.
            O’Rielly, like you said, is starting at 6.5 Million if the Av’s want to keep his RFA status. 
            That is some agent O’Reilly has and his hard ball stance during lockout paying off now.  Imagine Av’s dont want to commit 6.5 million to him and he is a UFA at 22….that agent deserves a nice raise. 

          • Dave says:

            That’s not true. The QO raise is only for contracts under $1 million. ROR’s QO is the same as his pay for this year.

            • Steven Cifuentes says:

              Correct which is 6.5 Million.  He received 3.5 million year 1 and 6.5 Million this year.
              I plugged him into CapGeek and it stated:
              Ryan O’Reilly‘s qualifying offer is for $6,500,000.
              Because his base salary of $6,500,000 is greater than or equal to $1,000,000, it does not receive an increase for the purposes of his qualifying offer.

            • Zen says:

              My apologies. I wasn’t aware of that, but I knew he would be making around his current salary.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      No rentals were not Pittsburgh.

  5. Steven Cifuentes says:

    MDZ and Brass and a pick for O’Rielly or MDZ and Miller and a high pick for O’Reilly?
    I do both and lock up O’Reilly for a long term deal…but will the avs do it…They would have to offer 6.5 million to O’Reilly to keep his RFA status.  After last year are they willing to do that. 

  6. Dave says:

    Good point on ROR: He can’t be dealt til 3/1.

    • Zen says:

      Yes… if the Rangers are waiting on ROR, then DZ isn’t going anywhere for awhile, presuming that is who the Avs covet.

      • Steven Cifuentes says:

        I think Statsny may be the likely target.
        Then the Av’s can sign O’Reilly with the money they lost on Statsny…issue being can NYR fit that cap number under the cap for the rest of the year…doubt it. 

        • Stevo says:

          Presumably they’d have to send Brassard back the other way just to clear some money off the cap.

          • Dave says:

            Depends on the timing of the deal. If they wait until the deadline, they’d be able to take on about $7 million in cap space.

  7. paulronty says:

    Stasny is too expensive, so is O’Reilly and Barrie is too small.  The one thing people overlook about Brad Richards is the leadership dimension, even Carcillo mentioned it.  It will be a huge mistake to buy him out. We have some good prospects on the farm so there is no need to make a trade. Let the chemistry develop. Messier will tell you that chemistry is a significant key to winning the cup.  I’m a skeptic but the team looks really good right now.

  8. HARLEMBLUES says:

    TSN reporting ANA interested in Girardi for Luca Sbisa or Souray and two 1st rd picks.Would do it in a NY minute.

    • Barry Gelb says:

      Not….Souray is awful defensively old and banged up, Sbisa is no bargain..why dump a potential UFA for someone else’s dumps?  If you’re going to move G, they should be able to get value other than draft picks.  If 2003 is an example, draft picks even 1st rounders are a waste with current management.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        2First round picks plus ours at draft time can we say moving on up.Agree wouldn’t want Souray don’t know  much about Sbisa but 2first we can some how make this work.

        • Walt says:

          Sbisa was drafted by the Flyers, isn’t very good, journeyman type of guy, nothing to write home about!!

  9. @Centerman21 says:

    How about Girardi for O’Reilly & Barrie? Something else may have to go to Colorodo to even salary since O’Reilly makes 5 mil but I think Stepan, O’Reilly, & Brassard are 3 nice young 2 way Centers. O’Reilly shouldn’t get more than his current deal on his next contract given his production.

  10. bernmeister says:

    Other options are do-able.
    This, however, is the time to snag Duncan Siemens!