Thoughts on the Ryan O’Reilly rumors

June 10, 2018, by

ryan oreilly

Ryan O’Reilly is apparently on the move in Buffalo. There were several reports last week that the Sabres are looking to trade the center just two full seasons after acquiring him from Colorado and signing him to a massive deal that has five years remaining at a $7.5 million cap hit.

ROR is a top line center who puts up about 60 points per season. For those wondering, he’s basically Derek Stepan, just with five additional points and $1 million more per season. The two are almost identical in terms of production, role, and possession stats. The only difference is the contract.

The thought of having ROR and Mika Zibanejad as your top two centers with Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson developing in sheltered minutes is certainly intriguing. ROR can take the tougher minutes Stepan took as well, potentially leaving the KZB line to face lesser competition. Depth is certainly not a bad thing to have. There are a lot of pro’s to acquiring him.

Even though the Rangers have the cap space to acquire ROR without moving salary, that is a rough deal with a lot of time remaining on it. The Rangers would need to include salary in any deal, likely in the form of Brendan Smith, since Marc Staal isn’t waiving his NMC to go to Buffalo. But even then, Buffalo would need to be on Smith’s list of 10 teams he can be traded to.

Any trade of ROR likely means one of Kevin Hayes, Vlad Namestnikov, or Ryan Spooner needs to be in the deal as well. All three are similar players in terms of production and stats, and all three likely command anywhere from $4 million to $5 million annually over a multi-year deal.

There is certainly a match here with the Rangers and Buffalo. The Rangers have the depth pieces to make it enticing for Buffalo, and ROR is a top line center that the Rangers need to complement Zibanejad. It makes them scary down the middle, adding an element that the team lacked last season.

That said, ROR’s price tag is difficult to swallow. The price likely costs one of those centers, a top pick, and a good prospect. Of course I say that without allowing for the variable of GM stupidity. For all we know, he gets traded for pennies on the dollar. Jeff Gorton would be silly if he didn’t at least kick the tires.


  1. Richter1994 says:

    Excellent player? Yes.

    Good enough to justify a (probably) Hayes trade package to get him and $7.5M per cap hit? No.

    • Peter says:

      Agreed. Too costly for not quite enough.

      • Richter1994 says:

        70+ pt player, consistently, then it’s a different discussion.

        Agreed my friend.

    • Mintgecko says:

      A Hayes trade wto get him wouldn’t happen and that’s not to say they wouldn’t still want him. I think you could add him to the top 6 if Kovy doesn’t sign and if they missed out on the JT sweepstakes. I think Buffalo is smart enough to know that Hayes would have tons of options and wouldn’t resign with them anyways.

      • Richter1994 says:

        ROR might be an upgrade over Hayes but it would not tilt the scale enough for me to make a trade and take on that cap hit.

  2. Agentsmith says:

    Don’t like Hayes going here. I would deal lias + tho.

    • Mintgecko says:

      Dude Lias was a bad pick at #7. I think they rather have a different roster player and a 1st round pick. Andersson is a top 9/ 2c in the Rangers fans hearts but as a valuable piece center in a trade he wouldn’t bring back ROR, Hayes or Stepan.

  3. JoeS. says:

    No Way, No how! No more handcuffing contracts! Would rather watch the kids lose, than mortgage the future again! Or, I would much rather see what Quinn can do with the likes of Hayes, Namestnikov, and Spooner. If Gorton wanted a Stepan clone, wouldn’t he have kept him for cheaper?

  4. Bloomer says:

    O’Reilly has grit which the Rangers need. Offer up Whathisnameoff and one of Tampabays draft picks and see if the Sabres bite.

    • MjrMisconduct says:

      Grit?,he’s a Lady Byng award winner,makes too much money & is Stepan like soft.

  5. Blue Seat says:

    O’ Reilly’s +\- is +50. Daisy is way better, and both probably face opponents top offensive lines. So, no thank you on O’silly.

    • Mintgecko says:


      The return package will bring a much better return than Stepan. The league will actually have bidding war on him unlike Stepan and I would assume a real contender would be after him as well. Add to the fact that Stepan was admitted in AZ this past season that he knew about being on the trade market since 2015-16 season and that the Totes were asking for him. Meaning he still couldn’t gather enough attention around the league to start a bidding war. Sorry but ROR doesn’t get to play on team Canada by default.

  6. tanto says:

    So the idea here is we now trade for Derek Stepan’s replacement and pay that guy $1m more per year than Stepan. Brilliant. I’m just fine with Mika Z and Hayes as our top 2 centers instead. We haven’t necessarily seen the best of both players and I certainly want to give Quinn the opportunity to bring it out in both.

    If I had one complaint it would be that Mika is seemingly a bit injury prone, then again he played 2 full seasons with the Sens prior to his trade so who really knows at this point whether he’s destined to play 60-70 games or 80+ games next season.

    The only way I see a deal like this possibly working is if we move Namestnikov and a late 1st rounder or 2nd rounder, then move Chytil to the wing and have Andersson center the 4th line. That would be a truly formidable lineup up the middle with Mika, O’Reilly, Hayes and Andersson.

    • Mintgecko says:

      I doubt Hayes returns as the 3c,. I could see Zib turning into a top line scoring winger like Rackell did for the Ducks. Chytil will have to play wing at some point when he has to move up. Andersson is destined to play 4c or wing for a few seasons. You’re not considering Howden who is a threat to play a bottom 6 center role.

      Zib getting injured and having his annual slow returns will be the death of him. Hayes, Chytil and a call up of Howden or Andersson could show that he’s expendable to the lineup. Than add to the fact that next summer will have the likes of better top 6 centers who will be free agents to sign.

      • Reenavipul says:

        Your construct as Hayes as a 3C is mistaken/flawed/wrong/whatever.

        Under AV, Hayes was paired against the other 1C for a season and a half, so he’s a 2C at a minimum.

  7. Mikeyyy says:

    See we need to start thinking don’t do what George would do. Opposite Constanza means good things happen. Just do the opposite of what you would normally do.

  8. Reenavipul says:

    Like Stats miner has written about elsewhere, you eat the pre July contract and get a pick, deal him July 2 for another pick and eat the signing bonus for the year.

    This is the kind of deal the Rangers can do in their sleep and take advantage of their financial strength.

  9. MjrMisconduct says:

    Dave,correct me if I’m wrong,but I believe Staal’s contract goes from a NMC to a modified NTC this year.