Can you hear that? If not then it’s time to clean yo’ ears, because that’s the swirling sound of Ryan O’Reilly trade rumors, and boy is the swirling loud! Also, if you’re hearing a smashing sound behind that swirling noise, it’s probably just the sound of angry fans of EA Sports NHL series. More on that later, though...
Trading ROR has been a trending topic ever since the locker room cleanout day of infamy where fans misconstrued a quote, and multiple local media outlets irresponsibly reported that he “lost the love of the game.” But he didn’t quite say it in that fashion. Regardless, as the 2019 NHL Rasmus Dahlin Sweepstake approaches, the ROR trade rumors simultaneously get louder.
Most of this noise seems to involve our bilingual friends in Montreal. Ces rumeurs moslty impliquent Max Pacioretty et la trois ème sélection globale. For those of you fluent in American, that says, “These rumors mostly involve Max Pacioretty and the 3rd overall selection” (thanks, Google).
The question is, SHOULD the J-Botts trade him?
Ryan O’Reilly was in deep water the very instant Tim Murray associated a 7.5 million AAV cap hit with his name. In a town starved for offensive production since 2007, Sabres fans would likely expect a top 15 point producer for that kind of cheddar. O’Reilly doesn’t give you that. He normally sits anywhere between 55-65 points. Ryan O’Reilly is a rare breed of NHL player. He is a supremely skilled, very solid two-way center. A rare combination in professional hockey.
During his time in Colorado, O'reilly averaged .52 points per game. Meanwhile in Buffalo he has averaged a much improved .79 points per game. He also set a record for the most faceoffs won in a single season this past year. That is a very important stat for a pitiful defensive team that deals with a plethora of D-zone faceoffs such as Phil Housley’s Buffalo Sabres.
But there goes another problem. “PHIL HOUSLEY’s Buffalo Sabres.” Housley came in to Buffalo preaching a relentless north and south speed game with defenders often joining the rush (insert Rasmus Dahlin here ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️). Ryan O'Reilly can be described with many words and FAST AIN’T ONE OF ‘EM! The team as a whole, whole heartedly lacks speed. Especially on the wings. We have no wings! Thanks, Red Bull…
Outside of Sam Reinhart (who also isn’t a great skater) the depth on the wing is very slim. The Sabres offensive attack on the flanks features aging players such as Kyle Okposo and the 35 year old heartthrob, Jason Pominville. We have players like Justin Bailey and Nick Baptiste waiting their turn but they’ve had so many trips back and forth from Rochester to Buffalo that they might as well pay Elon Musk to build them one of them there fancy underground tunnels. Boring (get it?).
There is almost no one on this team that can play the game at the pace (mentally and physically) as Jack Eichel. And that’s a problem. It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that I think the Sabres should look to trade ROR for a young, fast, skilled winger that will compliment Jack Eichel. Is there a place on this team for Ryan O’Reilly? MOST CERTAINLY. But not right now. He is best suited as a third line scoring center on a team built for the playoffs. He will shut down a team’s best players and give you production in the offensive zone as well. He is a number center on THIS team but a number two-three center on most good teams.
With the current state of the Sabres, I’m uninterested in paying a player like that 7.5 million dollars. If the third pick is seriously an option, pull the trigger on Friday evening without hesitation. My cup of coffee would hit the floor before a Starbucks barista could call the cops on me. Let’s get some young talent in here around Jack. This is his team now. I hate the back and forth of “is this Jack or Ryan’s team?” It’s Jack’s team! It always has been. ROR is just along for the ride. He doesn’t even like to high-five him any more!! Adios mi amigo! For those of you fluent in American, that was Spanish. Not French.
Also, NHL 19 is going to suck. You’re the best, EA. Thanks, Rammer.