Montreal Canadiens: The problem with trading for Ryan O’Reilly
Ryan O’Reilly is an attractive name for the Montreal Canadiens to pursue given then their eagerness to make a change, but there are issues to come up.
With another offseason in progress, the Montreal Canadiens find themselves in a quest to improve their centre depth again. However, they’re far from the only team in the NHL in desperate need of a roster shakeup. At the front of that line is by far the Buffalo Sabres after finishing last in the league for the third time in five years.
Based on the final interviews of the season, no one in the organization including general manager Jason Botterill and Ryan O’Reilly. The latter’s comments that day have been swirling around social media, and many believe that a trade involving him is a strong possibility. When a player says that they lost the love for the game multiple times within a year, you know it’s gotten worse. Especially when you consider the success that O’Reilly had in his career including gold for Team Canada at World Hockey Championships and the World Cup of Hockey last year.
It’s hard not to think that the 27-year-old’s time in Buffalo is over, and not because of his talents, but because the core, or whatever you want to call it with the Sabres, isn’t working. As far as trades go, O’Reilly is number one player of interest.
He may not be a number one, but he’s a clear cut number two centre that is an elite penalty killer, effective on the power play and a faceoff specialist. Not only did O’Reilly lead the NHL in faceoff win percentage at even strength (60%), but he also surpassed the record for most faceoff wins in a single season previously set by Rod Brind’Amour (1269). His $7.5 million cap hit may be concerning to some NHL teams, but with a guaranteed 50 points, O’Reilly would be a special addition.
The Montreal Canadiens have always been a team many hoped would try to acquire him, even as far back as earlier this season. It makes perfect sense considering the position the Habs are in plus their willingness to go to extreme measures to improve.
Although the Habs have had their fair share of disappointing seasons, they have a number of decent names in place to turn things around. Why can’t it be Montreal where O’Reilly has his resurgence? Well, I have a couple of reasons why.