Should the Jets make a move on O’Reilly?

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.

Scenarios

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.

  • Bogosian hell no. Bogo has all-star 1RD upside which you don’t trade for a defensive acumen with some offensive abilities who looks to be a star 2C.

    Burmistrov is an interesting thought because the two have been pretty similar. If you look at junior and first 2 year stats (both regular and advance) they are almost a picture match, both are defensive first C with great puck control and PK abilities, but ROR made the offensive step last season that we hope Burmi will this season… Very interesting.

  • dmmccart

    Hey swindle,

    Could you explain your rationale in your assessment of O’Reilly? I have seen a few people – both stats folks and msmers – argue that he is a clear number 1 centre. Just wondering if you can explain what method or evidence you used to make your decision.

    Thanks.

    • His scoring stats in junior. A guy who has never scored 20 goals in junior is suddenly going to jump to the NHL and be a #1? He also wasn’t a PPG guy in junior.

      Check hockeydb.com yourself.

      Where do you get your evidence? I have not read, heard, or watched anyone anywhere refer to him as potential #1.

      How do you defend your position he is?

  • dmmccart

    The best argument I have seen for his number one centre status is here: http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/story/?id=416077.

    I’ve seen it said by some msmers too, though five minutes of looking could not pull up the article I was thinking of. Doesn’t matter – Cullen’s is better. One thing I would point out is that he was 24th in scoring for centres last year (as per NHL.com) making him a de facto number one centre (one of the top 30 in the NHL). He scored one point more than David Backes, a great hockey player, and while O’Reilly was doing this, he was only 20.

    The reason his junior stats suck is because he played the seasons he would have been dominant in junior – his 18 and 19 year old seasons – in the NHL. Surely you don’t think that means he is a worse player than a guy who went back and dominated junior for those years of his career?

    Sounds like the Jets are not involved any way – I just wanted to know how you made your decision.

    • Fair points, but one 55 point season doesn’t legitimize a guy as a first liner. Lots of guys have put up points and then faded, so all one has to look at is history.

      Also, as guys are drafted based on their 17/18 year old numbers, most bonafide #1’s in the NHL had decent to great scoring numbers leading up to their drafts.

      IMO, a guy who didn’t put up 20 goals prior o his draft is a risk because it is more likely that his performance will decline at a higher level, not increase.

  • dmmccart

    $23M/5yrs seems good value. I would trade either cheap salaried player straight up for O’Reilly. If they wanted the pick I’d demand $3M. The Jets are in danger of misplaying the salary cap.