The Avs are a sixth of the way through the 2013 season, so now seems as logical of a time as ever, to play GM and switch up the Avs roster. The timing also seems right, with Ryan Wilson becoming the next victim of the injury bug for the Avs.
Let’s talk Ryan O’Reilly. Avs fans seem to think that O’Reilly can fix all the Avs problems; the powerplay, the penalty kill, becoming the team doctor to heal Landeskog, and while he’s at it, get around to that world hunger problem..I feel like I’m in a very small minority here, but I feel that O’Reilly has burned the bridge to me as a fan. He’s putting himself over the team. There have been other RFA’s who have accepted bridge contracts, post-lockout, and many Avs players have also taken that route…but not O’Reilly. Now, if I wake up tomorrow to hear that he has signed, I wouldn’t mind seeing him on the ice at all, and would eventually probably get over it, but if I was given the choice I would trade him now. Not to mention the Avs have always had a history of trading “selfish” players. So without further adieu, let’s make a trade!
Avs get: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Coyotes get: Ryan O’Reilly, Stefan Elliott, 2014 Second Round Pick
Why it works for the Avs: I’m huge on Ekman-Larsson, as is pretty much everyone else, but I think this package would be enough to get him away from the desert. OEK has 7 points in 9 games for the Coyotes this year, was the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and at 21 years of age, is only going to get better. He is what the Avs have been looking for since Kevin Shattenkirk was traded. He is also strong defensively, and I believe would be a great partner with Erik Johnson. He could become the point man on the powerplay, and help the Avs penalty kill as well. I would love to get this guy.
Why it works for the Coyotes: O’Reilly (assuming he signs with the Yotes) immediately improves a group of centers that includes Martin Hanzal, Kyle Chipchura, Boyd Gordon, Matthew Lombardi, and Antoine Vermette. O’Reilly had 18 more points last year than anyone in that group. O’Reilly is also just 21 (soon to be 22) and will continue to improve as well. O’Reilly also fits into the defensive scheme that Phoenix employs. The Coyotes also get Elliott who could turn into a quality puck moving, offensive defensemen like OEL. They also have a nice defensive prospect in David Rundblad that Elliott could work well with for years down the road. And the second rounder figures to be a middle of the round pick, where the Coyotes could still pick up a quality player.
Avs get: Michael Ryder, 2013 First Round Pick
Stars get: Ryan O’Reilly
Why it works for the Avs: Simply put, I don’t know if the Avs have enough goal scorers on the team. All of their high end skill players seem to be pass first players. Michael Ryder is not. Ryder netted 35 goals for the Stars last year, and added 27 helpers. No doubt part of that production was playing with quality linemates (Jamie Benn?) but the drop off to the Avs centers would not be too far either. Ryder is 32, and is off to a slow-ish start this year (4G, 0A, 9GP) but I wouldn’t mind seeing him on a line with Duchene and Parenteau. He also won a cup with Boston, and with the Avs youth, that experience would be valuable. To counter the age, the Avs would also receive a first round pick in this year’s draft, because if Kyle Turris was worth a first rounder in David Rundblad and a second round pick for never scoring more than 25 points in an season, O’Reilly would definitely be worth a 32 year old, and a first rounder. Not to mention, if the Stars don’t make the playoffs in a tough Western Conference, that would give the Avs another chance at landing a high draft pick in this summers draft.
Why it works for the Stars: The Stars are an interesting team for me to judge. They’re not cup contenders, but they don’t really need to rebuild either. Getting O’Reilly would give Dallas one of the best groups of centers in the NHL. The combination of Benn (age 23), O’Reilly (21), and Cody Eakin (21) would be scary to watch grow as a group. O’Reilly would also help the Stars and their middle of the road defensive game. From what I can tell they don’t have a lot of defensive minded forwards, and O’Reilly would be able to fill in at that role. Become the next Brenden Morrow of the team. And with the age of many Stars forwards; Jagr, Whitney, Morrow, and Ryder, it might not be a bad idea to trade for some youth that can help now.