Way, way back in February 2012, then-Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster broke with National Hockey League norms and conventions by signing a player to an offer sheet. The player was Ryan O’Reilly, who ended up staying with the Colorado Avalanche anyway after they matched the offer sheet. (And because he had been playing in Russia during his holdout, he would’ve had to go through waivers to join the Flames, but that’s another painful story…)
At the 2018 NHL Draft, Brad Treliving can succeed where Feaster failed by acquiring Ryan O’Reilly. Well, not that one. A different one that’s currently playing in the USHL.
A product of the great state of Texas, O’Reilly’s a big kid who is listed at 6’2″ and 200 pounds. He’s a right shot that’s listed at both center and right wing.
While statistical records of his performances prior to 2015 are a bit sparse – get your crap together, teenage Texas hockey leagues! – he spent two seasons with the U16 Dallas Stars and performed well. He had 22 points in 30 games in 2015-16, which was enough to entice the USHL’s Madison Capitols to select him 4th overall in their Futures Draft. He followed that up with 31 points in 26 games with the U16 Stars, leading his league in goal-scoring.
After spending seven games with them in 2016-17, O’Reilly moved to Wisconsin full-time to play with the Capitols in 2017-18. He found a niche as a big-bodied power forward on a team that was fairly lean on offensive production. The big thing about the USHL is that teams that aren’t the U.S. National Development Program tend to have a couple big names and then thin out quickly, but O’Reilly did a good job utilizing his teammates and giving the Capitols a chance most nights.
Our friends at Dobber Prospects offer this assessment of O’Reilly:
Power winger with size, speed and a slew of dekes and dangles to get him as close to the goal as possible. O’Reilly, who is committed to Denver, may look a big and imposing brute, but he has incredibly soft hands and is capable of making and finishing plays with a high degree of difficulty. To top it all off, he has a deadly-accurate shot that can knock a goalie off his skates. Problems with consistency and decision making usually go hand in hand with teenager power forwards, so it’s not the end of the world if O’Reilly pulls the occasional disappearing act.
O’Reilly’s year earned him a spot on the USHL’s Second All-Rookie Team. He’s committed to attend the University of Denver beginning in 2019-20.
|GP||G||A||P||Primary points||5v5 Points||5v5 Primary points||NHLe|
O’Reilly had 34 points in 45 games, which was 14th among U18 PLAYERS. He was seventh in that group in goals. As you can see, he’s still pretty reliant on the power play for scoring right now but given that he was in his first year in a pretty good league that might not be the end of the world
Fit and availability
This kid ticks a lot of boxes for the Flames. He’s big. He’s a right shot. He’s a power forward. He’s got a booming shot. He’s named Ryan O’Reilly. Given the lack of Tim Hortons in his home state and in Wisconsin, it’s extremely unlikely he’s ever been involved in any vehicular incidents at said coffee chain. All kidding aside, O’Reilly is pretty raw but he’s headed to college. And he’s shown the ability to score, which is something the Flames covet.
Will he be available? Well, that’s tricky. The Hockey News has speculated that his Texan status will get him some extra press leading up to draft weekend (which is probably true), which may boost his stock. He’s the 56th-ranked North American skater per Central Scoring, but Future Considerations has him 137th overall and ISS Hockey has him 115th. There’s a decent chance he’s available even if all that press nudges him up team depth charts a bit.
2018 fourth round targets
Founded in 1950, Sports Excellence Corporation represents over 150 family-owned independent hockey retailers across Canada and the United States. Our highly knowledgeable hockey specialists are available to assist all your equipment needs. Find your closest Sports Excellence retailer here: Find a location near you!