I at all times thought the St. Louis Blues could be at a crossroads with Ryan O’Reilly sooner or later this season. I imagine that the Blues ought to commerce him to obtain belongings in return. Losing him for nothing could be a nasty transfer for the franchise, particularly for the longer term. If the Blues keep out of rivalry, then buying and selling him is the perfect transfer. Rentals like O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Ivan Barbashev ought to all be dealt in that situation.
Related: Maple Leafs Targeting Blues Captain: Big Price, however Worth It
Although I imagine O’Reilly’s sport will age comparatively properly, I don’t suppose the Blues will re-sign him given their current observe document. That observe document is letting their final two captains, Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes, stroll for nothing. I’m not saying that the Blues had been incorrect in letting them go, however they should get one thing again in return this time. For this piece, I’ll be protecting three commerce locations that take advantage of sense for each the Blues and O’Reilly. I perceive that the Blues might nonetheless contend within the weak Western Conference, however they should commerce O’Reilly in the event that they don’t.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The top destination for O’Reilly is north of the border with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have a high-powered offense with two of the perfect gamers within the league proper now: Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. While they’ve Matthews and John Tavares down the center, O’Reilly brings a unique aspect. Elite groups want a top quality group of facilities, and the Maple Leafs may gain advantage tremendously from including the 2019 Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
The Blues might additionally fetch a pleasant return for him from the Maple Leafs. The greatest bundle attainable would doubtless focus on a 2023 first-round choose and winger Nick Robertson. Robertson was a second-round choose within the 2019 Draft and has proven flashes in 31 profession video games. He remains to be solely 21 years outdated and would have extra alternatives in St. Louis to develop his sport proper now. Robertson is undersized, however he might slot in properly if the Blues resolve to retool their roster for the longer term. He was ranked because the Maple Leafs’ quantity two prospect heading into the 2022-23 season, per The Hockey Writers Alex Hobson.
Latest News & Highlights
Another bundle might focus on Alex Kerfoot, Robertson, and a first-round choose. Kerfoot will probably be a free agent after this season, however he could be cheaper and simpler to re-sign if the Blues go that route. He can play middle or wing and had 51 factors final season. The telephone name between Blues basic supervisor Doug Armstrong and Maple Leafs’ basic supervisor Kyle Dubas ought to begin with Robertson and a first-round choose. If they begin there, it could possibly be a better deal to work via than anticipated.
The Blues doubtless don’t wish to commerce O’Reilly to one among their greatest division rivals. However, if the Colorado Avalanche produce an elite bundle for him, they’ve to think about it. The first-round choose in any O’Reilly commerce would doubtless be towards the top of the primary spherical, however the Blues have succeeded in that space of the draft earlier than. One prospect from the Avalanche that could possibly be concerned in a deal is 2021 first-round choose Oskar Olausson. He was the twenty eighth general choose within the 2021 Draft and made his NHL debut this season. He was within the high 5 prospects checklist for the Avalanche earlier than this season from Len Vlahos of The Hockey Writers.
A good deal for the Blues could possibly be Olausson, a first-round choose, and a third-round choose. I might see the Blues fetching a second-round choose, however that could possibly be in 2024 or 2025. Olausson could be a unbelievable prospect to have for the inevitable Blues retool. He would be a part of Jimmy Snuggerud, Jake Neighbours, and others as high quality ahead prospects within the Blues pipeline. Keep in thoughts that they would wish to retain wage on any O’Reilly deal, particularly with cap-strapped contenders. Although I don’t need them to commerce him to a direct division rival, a bundle like this could possibly be arduous to show down. It would even be fascinating to see him return to Colorado beneath one other regime after how his first tenure ended there.
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils received off to a terrific start to the 2022-23 season. They have since fallen off a bit with a 22-11-2 document and now sit in second place within the Metropolitan Division. Obviously, they’re set down the center with their high two facilities – Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. The Devils are an inexperienced crew, particularly of their ahead group. Bringing within the expertise of O’Reilly might work properly for them within the playoffs.
The Devils have a wealth of draft capital and prospects to commerce. The Devils even have their first and second-round picks over the following three drafts. If the Blues needed to go along with a return of prospects and picks, winger Arseni Gritsyuk could possibly be the reply. Gritsyuk was a fifth-round choose within the 2019 Draft however was ranked because the preseason fourth-overall prospect within the New Jersey system, per Alex Chauvancy of The Hockey Writers. Gritsyuk has put collectively spectacular numbers at a younger age within the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He had 28 factors in 39 video games final season and has 24 factors in 44 video games this season.
If the Blues might fetch Gritsyuk and premium draft picks in an O’Reilly deal, that might make sense for each side. The Devils have a whole lot of high quality prospects, so they might make this deal and never fear about dropping depth.
There are different groups that would make a play for O’Reilly, such because the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, or Florida Panthers, however the three I listed right here take advantage of sense for my part. I’ve little doubt that the Blues have to commerce O’Reilly in the event that they don’t plan on re-signing him subsequent summer time. I nonetheless suppose the Blues are fascinated with bringing O’Reilly again with an extension, however the value will not be of their favor.
Ethan Carter has been writing at The Hockey Writers for over three years now. He additionally co-hosts The Blue Note Podcast for the Bleav Network, which covers the Blues and the NHL a number of instances per week.