Spector’s Hockey (written by the Hockey News’ Lyle Richardson and in no way affiliated with Sportsnet’s Mark Spector) cited an article by ESPN’s Craig Custance which claims that " the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes (as the) top trade destinations for Colorado Avalanche holdout center Ryan O’Reilly."
Should the Winnipeg Jets add their name to the list?
The answer really depends on what Jets’ general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and his team feel the potential of Mark Scheifele and Alexander Burmistrov could be. With two young and talented centres already in the organization, it only makes sense to add a third once a pecking order is established and the team is confident in the likelihood of their young centres evolving into those roles.
A number of scenarios are possible:
– the Jets are confident Scheifele will develop into a bonafide first line centre and Burmistrov can be the team’s second line pivot. If management is confident in this scenario unfolding, which based on Scheifele’s junior numbers this year and Burmistrov willingness to play a complete game is a definite possibility, then making a move for O’Reilly makes little sense.
Moving forward, the centre position on the top two lines has already been determined and the team would be acquiring a (reported to be) very expensive third line centre.
– the Jets aren’t sure on Scheifele becoming a first line guy and see him more as an offensive 2nd line option. If this is true, then a move for O’Reilly again doesn’t make sense. Neither O’Reilly’s NHL (55 points last season) or junior numbers (best season of 66 points in 68 games; never scored 20 goals) suggest a player who can be an NHL first liner.
– the highly unlikely scenario where Cheveldayoff doesn’t believe either Burmistrov or Scheifele will be better than third line players at the NHL level. If this is the case, which there is nothing to suggest it is, then attempting to acquire O’Reilly would be a must.
The asking price?
The next question is the asking price- would it be worth giving up the requested assets to acquire O’Reilly? Spector’s hockey cites a Denver Post article claiming that the ask for O’Reilly is, " a roster player and a top prospect."
Winnipeg’s two highest profile prospects are Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba. Is there any scenario where parting with a possible top line centre or potential top pairing defenceman for a lower scoring 2nd line pivot which makes sense? Probably not.
Two players that would check off both the box for ‘top prospect’ and ‘roster player’ would be the aforementioned Burmistrov and recently returned from injury Zac Bogosian. Even though both players are currently in the NHL they are young enough and have the talent to grow. If Colorado had any interest in either of these two, they would probably have to be packaged with a higher round draft pick to make the deal happen.
Would you trade Burmistrov or Bogosian and a 2nd rounder for O’Reilly?
If the 2011 AHL version of Zack Kassian nets Buffalo their current 3rd leading scorer in Cody Hodgson, the price for O’Reilly isn’t going to be cheap.
So does a move for O’Reilly make sense for the Jets at this point? Unless management doesn’t believe they have anything in Scheifele or Burmistrov, it probably doesn’t.