Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dahlin week? Nah. Let's play, Finish the Ryan O'Reilly Deal

Published by, 6-18-2018

Just how much Rasmus Dahlin can one take? Apparently a lot more than one might think.

The Buffalo Sabres have the No. 1 pick in the NHL Entry Draft this Friday in Dallas, and the excitement over selecting a potential franchise defenseman has reached a fever pitch. All Dahlin, all the time is the mantra, as if everyone wants to say they were on top of it if/when the Swede helps lead the Sabres to the promised land.

There's nothing wrong with loving the fact that Dahlin is a special player and the Sabres were lucky enough to win the lottery for the first-overall pick, even if Steve Kourianos of The Draft Analyst rated left wing Alexei Svechnikov as the No. 1 prospect in this year's draft. Like lunaion commented last night, "wow, I thought this would finally be the year where 'that guy' didn't exist."

Me too.

However, as much as we love the prospect of drafting Dahlin, and we very much do, what kind of say would it be if we didn't discuss Ryan O'Reilly. After all, one can never get enough O'Reilly chatter.

Buffalo's No. 2 center was very unhappy with the way things went this past season letting out some revealing things at locker cleanout and we're still wondering whether it was actually a veiled plea for the Sabres to trade him. Phrases O'Reilly used that day included having "lost his love for the game at times" and the team being "stuck in the midset of losing," both of which were like bright neon billboards advertising just how messed up the locker room was last season.

Locker room division and dissention, which reportedly had been present since the middle of the 2016-17 season leading to the prior coach and GM getting fired, may have been the biggest reason that the team finished with a woeful 25-45-12 while playing some of the worst hockey Buffalo has ever seen. There were other factors but as the saying goes, "a house divided against itself will not stand."

Sabres GM Jason Botterill was visibly ticked at the end of season presser and had this to say about his team moving forward, "When you finish where we were, you have to look at everything. That means looking at even changing up some of our core players."

That lead us to the names of three players that constitute the core outside of the untouchable Jack Eichel--O'Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen.

A case can and has been made for each of those three to be traded and to be kept but the name that's continually been in the rumor mill is that of O'Reilly's. The 28 yr. old is a veteran still in the middle of his prime and plays a position that's coveted in the NHL. Plus there's an added bonus of him being a top-six center which, as we know in Buffalo are very hard to come by, leading to a number of teams actively in the hunt for a top-six center because of their relative scarcity.

Why would the Sabres trade away a commodity like that when they're so difficult to come by? By the looks of it, O'Reilly seems as if he's ready to move on and the Sabres seem as if they might be ready to move on from him, for the right price. That makes for a pretty smoky situation in terms of the fire that's said to be burning beneath all these rumors. Buffalo doesn't need to trade O'Reilly but if some team comes along with a great offer, than he'll probably be on the move.

What is a proper offer? Depends upon the buyer's perception of O'Reilly. He's generally thought of as a top-six center with some of the belief that he's a legit No. 1. His production has been very consistent throughout the years, he plays in all situations, is one of the best faceoff men in the business and he's worn a letter in Colorado and Buffalo. On the downside, his production lately has relied too much on powerplay points while his leadership qualities might be overstated.

Which leads us to the teams who might be interested in him and what they might be willing to offer up for him in a trade. As of now there have been a few teams with interest

We'll begin with a trade proposal offered up by Sportsnet.

To St. Louis - Ryan O'Reilly
To Buffalo - 2018 1st (Winnipeg's), Robert Thomas, Vince Dunn

We liked it somewhat, but fixed it:

To St. Louis--O'Reilly, rights to RFA goalie Robin Lehner
To Buffalo--2018 1st (WPG,) Klim Klostin, Jake Allen

Got it.

Have fun.

To Montreal--O'Reilly, 2019 2nd
To Buffalo--Jonathan Drouin, Max Pacioretty and a 2018 second rounder

To NY Rangers--O'Reilly
To Buffalo--Chris Kreider, Libor Hajek and a 2018 first rounder (TBL)

To NY Islanders--O'Reilly, 2019 2nd
To Buffalo--2018 12th-overall, David Quennville, Linus Soderstrom

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