Flames Must Make a Play For O’Reilly

They probably have for at least a couple weeks now.

There is absolutely no negotiating going on anymore between Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche. While the Avs were optimistic right after the lockout ended that they could sign O’Reilly and my sources said he would not be traded, things have changed and it appears a virtual certainty O’Reilly will be traded now.

Via Adrian Dater

Back when we discussed a potential ROR offer sheet, it was a suggestion made partially in jest since it seemed unlikely the Avalanche would allow this feud with arguably their best (or at least second best) young forward to go too far.

According to Dater and supported by Darren Dreger of TSN, it seems things have come to a head with O’Reilly and Colorado however. The rumor now is the team is looking for a roster player and high-end prospect in a trade for the 21-year old pivot.

Unfortunately for the Avs, they don’t have a lot of leverage when it comes to making demands for a quality package. If their wish list outstrips what they would get in return for an offer sheet (a first and third round pick for anything around $5M/year) then the suitor can simply walk away and sign the kid instead.

This is an opportunity the Flames must seriously investigate. Not only do high-end, two-way centers rarely become available, they can almost never be had at an age where you can expect to lock them up long-term and enjoy their peak seasons. Not only that, the kid fills both the present and future needs of an org that is trying to compete with a center depth chart that currently reads Tanguay (winger), Stajan, Byron, Jones, (Horak, Street, Reinhart).

It’s a no-brainer for Calgary to make a strong play for O’Reilly at this point. We’ll soon see if Jay Featser agrees.

  • Greg

    I’d hate to see the flames offer sheet him. Our first round picks would be on my untouchables list until we are sure we aren’t going to end up with a top 5 pick. kessel for seguin. Enough said.

    I also can’t see Colorado being willing to trade inter-division without the package including one of those untouchables Kent listed. Maybe they would settle for an Arnold + Granlund type combo, but would likely want more in terms of roster players then. The Cammy at 50% idea intrigues me, but really, we have to clear more cap space to make room for O’Reilly and Colorado isn’t going to want just a collection of players we don’t want.

    Personally, I would think we would have to put bartschi or gadreau on the table. Sven is looking like glass, and Johnny still has risk due to size, and you are getting back a 21 year old 2 way center. Problem is neither of those guys are available to play for the avs right away. But perhaps with 1 of those guys you can then talk about warm bodies that clear the cap space we need.

  • NateBaldwin

    Although not positive, I believe part of the reason ROR isn’t signed is because Colorado is trying to keep their salary structure in line. I don’t think Colorado is a flush team and probably have a team salary cap that is lower than the leagues max. With that being said, it seems unlikely that they would want any kind of “old” money (Cammalleri, Tanguay, Iginla, Glencross etc) Feaster could send in their direction. Also, I would think the only prospects of ours they would have any interest in is Sven and Gaudreau. I don’t see them being interested on Brodie as they have similar players in Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliot. They rest of our prospects right now are at best “B” and we don’t really have any good mid twenties roster players without no trade clauses. Given that situation, and the fact that I am loathe to move anyone from our core, it looks like an offer sheet might be the only way to accomplish this. I would have to double check what draft picks we would be giving at say Kents idea of 5mil/year, but I would think it’s a first at least. So be it. with this group of players, there is no way it would end up like the Kessel fiasco. I have every confidence we would not be coughing up Seth Jones or Mackinnon. And I dont see any other centers in the top ten with size and skill and two way ability unless you want to count Monohan and Barkov. Nuts to waiting for a center to develop, bolster our core! This team is ready to win now!

  • MattyFranchise

    I’m sure I’ll get blitzed for this, but I would gladly give up Gaudreau for O’Reilly.

    1) Gaudreau is probbaly 5 years away from making a true impact at the NHL level (note: I said “impact, “not getting to”).

    2)Wingers are a dime-a-dozen, first line centers are incredibly rare. That’s assuming, of course, that the pro scouts truly believe that what O’Reilly did last season he’ll continue to do again.

    I’d trade a 1st too, but not this year.

  • And just as some food for thought guy, giving ROR 5 pr very close to means you ate setting the bar for Backlund (and the rest of the league for that matter)

    It sure would be ideal to get him signed to 4 million over 4 years instead, hoping the offense flourishes at some point .

    Kent i know you had said he had some of the beat corsi And toughest minutes but i was just looking for some hard data :).

  • It is not looking at all like we will be drafting anywhere near the teens this year so an offer sheet is foolish. You may be trading Mckinnon or Jones. I do like the thought of trading though and a Glencross/Butler package or perhaps Cammy may get things going.

  • As a side note, I understand those worried about giving up a 1st for O’Reilly, with Calgary’s past record of trading away picks we are a little more sensitive than most fan bases about giving them up. However, trading our first is a risk worth taking. Its more likely than not that the Flames will be drafting in the mid teens again this year. Even though its a short season, that could lead to wacky results, the talent level means I don’t see this team fully bottoming out.

    With a pick in the teens, getting a guy of O’Reilly’s caliber would be a big success. If Jankowski turns into a player of O’Reilly’s quality we would all be pleased. The only drawback is that you miss out on three years of the cheap ELC, but that’s assuming the guy break into the NHL right away and doesn’t need some AHL seasoning. Giving up three years of ELC control for a guy who is know commodity and represents pretty near the ceiling of what you can expect from the guy you would draft anyways is really a no brainer to me.

  • paging jay feaster, paging jay feaster.pick up the phone call armstrong in st louis regarding iggy or cammi in return for some of their incredible wealth of young prospects. ty rattie and jaden schwartz to name 2, call sherman in colorado offer the world for oreily,well maybe not the world,call chiarelli in beantown regarding spooner, call stevie y. you have tp shake things up. whatever the flames do do not pull a burke and trade a first, ever.

    • RedMan

      heck, why no throw in Anton Babchuk as well? Avs could use some scoring from the blue line, and we all know what an important role Babs can fill in this regard 😉

  • Like Kent I’ve been the start to this season has left my feeling fairly optimistic. The underlying numbers have looked good in a way they haven’t looked the past three years. Feaster’s last two drafts have looked solid (though its probably two early to judge) and many of his other moves have been good, especially considering the mess he came into.

    However, if the Flames don’t make a serious push for O’Reilly then all my optimism will be out the window. The combination of the infrequency of the opportunity to acquire a young c in his prime sign him to a reasonable deal while giving up fair value in return makes and filling a HUGE roster hole makes it an absolute no brainer. A decision not to offer sheet/trade for O’Reilly will make a serious dent in my faith in this current Flames management team.

  • Franko J

    Great topic of debate and speculation Kent.

    An intriguing dilemma for any team wanting to acquire O’Rielly’s services at center. Especially when it comes to the Flames. A team desperate for quality young centers. While O’ Rielly would solve some issues down the middle for the Flames I don’t want to see Feaster give up another 1st round pick {assets}. Especially this season. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel there are centers in this upcoming draft who are just as good if not better than O’ Rielly.

    Too many times the Flames in the past have given up assets to acquire that elusive #1 center with little or insignifigant return. See Stajan and Jokinen trades.
    I would sooner see this organization acquire further picks and prospects and develop them. Instead of trying to find the quick fix.

  • This absolutely has to be something Feaster is looking hard at. To me, he instantly becomes your first-line center, something we haven’t had, well, in forever. I’m with Clay in offering Glencross (although I know he has a NMC) and what about Bill Arnold as well? I might be wrong but he seems to be, at best, another bottom six forward that we have many of. I might be wrong but…his value may never be higher than it is now, as he’s toiling for a powerhouse NCAA program at Boston College.

    • Thats the roster player i was initially think of, bit forgot about his dreaded NMC. Aka the way Calgary gets FA to stay here.

      Would love to dump cammy for this guy, but they also may be looking for some sort of center in this trade maybe Horak, or Reinhart or granlund or Arnold

      Damn that would help us in getting rid of old players and shoring up our center position.

      Do you have corsi numbers for ROR Kent?

  • Given the toxicity of this contract squabble I would be very wary of this player/agent.

    Presumably they want top dollar over max term. Who doesn’t. However the team who knows him best and has drafted, developed and employed him has issues inking said deal.

    I realize they arent the most flush club in the league but they like to sell tickets and if this kid is “stud” as he apparently thinks he is. waddup with that?

    The disconnect disturbs me. As it should the buffoons who run the flames.


    If they (flames) are looking for a diversion from some other thing they have up their sleeve then this “gem” might be a window of opportunity for deflection of public outcry. I guess ROR is marketable as far as shut down guys who can notch a few go. Heck… horcoff got HUGE money as a serviceable two way center… why not ROR.

    ~what could possibly go wrong~?

    Somehow… the formatting ability has broken. I am not madjam…. fwiw.. :-))

    • MattyFranchise

      A lot of people were saying the same things about Justin Schultz but that situation seems to be working well for everyone. I think the risk of offer sheeting ROR is an acceptable one and it would go a long way to helping the Flames rebuild without having to blow everything up first if they could actually get him signed.

      While I’m not crazy about them potentially giving up a 1st and a 3rd in this draft what they would get in return is the proven young capable two way center that most of the recent cup winning teams have had on their roster.

  • I doubt they would be able to make a trade, limited prospects Colorado would want/Calgary would give up. As for a Roster player, again limited in a trade for ROR mostly because of no trade contracts.

    like Kent said, make an offer, if refused go to the offer sheet route, I wouldn’t waste much time with this now that it is apparent he is changing teams.

  • loudogYYC

    You can’t trade Backlund while he’s on IR, and he’s not a player you can really trade either. Ideally you have O’Reilly and him as 2 of your top 3 centers, there’s still room for one more.

    I don’t know if this is possible, but I would trade Granlund, Nemisz, a 3rd and Cammalleri at a 50% cap hit for ROR and a 2nd. I’m not sure if the new CBA allows this or if Colorado would be interested in Cammy, but it would keep their spending at a minimum and that obviously is what they prefer.

    If this is even possible, I think the Flames and Avalanche split the cap hit in Cammy’s final year $3M each. Edwards can afford it, may as well flex some muscle.

    • I quite like your suggestion there. Cammalleri could fill in at LW/C for the Avs and the price/term are both right. If he does well, Avs can re-sign him. Tricking them into thinking Granlund is a ‘top prospect’ might be an issue. If this actually happened, I’d be a happy person.

      I don’t understand why teams are bothering to even talk trade with the Avs. With an offer sheet, if you get O’Reilly and do well, then your picks end up being fairly low (14-30) anyways. Feaster is going to trade these picks anyways in order to horde more low-round ones, might as well use them on an offer sheet.

      If you trade for O’Reilly, you lose a roster player, a ‘top prospect’, and possibly a pick (3-7th round). You gain a legit #2 centre, but it might not be worth what you give up (Backlund, Baertschi, 5th rounder, if Feaster makes the trade after being hit in the head with a stray puck). Somehow though, I doubt he gets traded within the Western Conference, let alone the NW Division. They don’t want him burning them 6 times a year.

      Just go ahead and send him an offer sheet. It’s not like you’re trading for Phil Kessel.

      • If the Flames trade any of those mentioned by Kent, this move is pretty pointless…

        Every other team has just as good if not better prospects as the above mentioned that they can afford to loose, so its doubtful that Calgary can compete with that..

        The problem with the trade scenario is that Colorado won’t want to take on any more cap than 3.5 mill, which is why they are loosing O’Reilly in the first place. Only Stajan fits the bill and… yeah. Maybe Stempniak… again, Flames are limited…

        The only thing of Value the Flames could possibly afford to part with is their First. You might be able to package it with a prospect but why bother?

        Like @Kent Wilson said, make an offer… if it doesn’t work, throw out the offer sheet and expect to pay about 5 for 5.

        If the Flames can sign him now, there chances of making the playoffs improve dramatically, and they would be more of a threat. They can always move players at the deadline or the draft to make up some picks.

        It is a no brainer. Feaster mentioned last week in regaurds to Irving “When door opens, you need to kick it in”, well its time Feaster put his money where his mouth is!!