40Ryan O'Reilly
Photo Credit: Hickling Images

Flames fourth round targets: Ryan O’Reilly

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.

2017-18 story

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.

The numbers

GP G A P Primary points 5v5 Points 5v5 Primary points NHLe
USHL 45 21 13 34 28 22 19 16.7

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

Axel Andersson | Merrick Rippon | Riley Stotts


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  • freethe flames

    Happy Fathers day to all you fathers out there.
    So we might get our RoR after all. Look when you are drafting as late as we are you make sure you get get the best you can.

  • Mickey O

    Calgary could get the older Ryan O’Reilly out of Buffalo. If Treliving shipped Backlund to Vancouver, and the Canucks gave up their 7th overall in a 3 way deal. Those are the 3 key pieces that could be the building blocks for a blockbuster.

    Wrote it all up before…but O’Reilly wants out, and by my reckoning wants to come to Canada. Vancouver wants Backlund. There’s a deal there if Treliving would value RoR over Backlund which should be a no-brainer. Byng and O’Reilly would be pretty to watch.

    • The GREAT WW

      Or Backlund for RoR straight across. ($ retained?)
      BT has some time before Backlund’s no-trade kicks in….

      (Byng by himself is pretty to watch……)


      • Mickey O

        O’Reilly is number 2 on TSN’s trade board, and Vancouver’s pick is up there as well. (We’ll forget about Hamilton also showing up.) Depends on how much O’Reilly wants out, and is prepared to sit..but he doesn’t have any trade protection.

        Straight up, sure I’d do it. It is the same thing from the Flames end anyway. But for sure Vancouver wants Backlund. Not sure how high the Sabres would be on him.

        I think the cheap Backlund deal is probably a saw off for the 2 year younger player in O’Reilly. It would be great to get that contract down to the magical internal Treliving cap of $6.75M…and what’s three quarters of a mill between friends. Byng is always pretty to watch, the kid is gold.

        • The Beej

          To get ROR you would need Backlund plus one of Kylington/Anderson and maybe something elsr as well.

          Stilk might be worth it. ROR scores, makes plays, wins faceoffs, plays D well. He isnt a superstar but he does everything well.

          • Mickey O

            Agree. Adam Fox would be very attractive for Buffalo as well. A New York kid with a RHS once they get Dahlin. Vancouver also wants help on the back-end. Backlund really doesn’t fit in Buffalo’s plans, but they might just want O’Reilly out of their hair. Mind you, we’re not dealing with Bergevin and Chiarelli here.

            With Vancouver’s high pick they could take they have their choice. The Flames have defencemen to give, time to roll the dice. Of course all of this is contingent on Treliving who seems to love Backlund. But is Backlund really going to help win you 4 playoff series’ in a row? I say not.

        • The Fall

          TJ for RoR would happen straight across. GMs are doing nutting things to address “organizational need” or “a new culture in the room”… Throw in a sweetener to get the cap hit down.

          Problem is, BT has already paid a 1st and 2x2nd TWICE now… so books out on him as some who pays for players.

          • Mickey O

            Here’s another thought. BT basically had to sign Backlund. The consensus was the money was great, but too long a term. You don’t have to worry about term if the player is no longer on your team…

            By keeping the dollar amount relatively low, 5.35M, it makes trading Backlund easier. Rebar and Treliving have more than enough info. on what O’Reilly brings to the table.

    • Kevin R

      Personally, I think if Vancouver has such a hard on for Backlund, I would ask for more than that #7. Maybe they throw in Virtanen. Then we flip #7 to Buffalo for RoR. Tre is up to something & it’s not to get a 1st round pick.
      Looking like we wont be seeing a Brouwer buyout, kinda figured that was a long shot anyway this year. How long is that Bryout window open until?

      • Mickey O

        Brouwer has to be bought out by June 30th. I would buy him out. But me and Walter think the Brouwer for Kassian trade makes a lot of sense all around. Calgary eats a million in salary and they get their designated hitter. GG gets his man, and someone who can (supposedly, don’t tell them that) play up the line-up.

        • Kevin R

          How desperate do you think Bergevin is for a Centre? If Backlund is being dangled, how possible is the #3 available. Possible add of a Kylington in that. Then how much would Buffalo covet having the #3 with their #1? Would they give up both Reinhart & RoR for Brodie & the #3? Now that would be culture changing. Not sure how realistic I’m being, especially getting that #3 but then we are talking MB here.

        • The GREAT WW

          We’ll have to wait until July for the Brouwer/Kassian trade.
          Brouwer has a full no trade until then…..
          And the Oilers first choice will be Maroon, but once they realize they can’t afford him the additional $1.5 for Brouwer X2 years will seem like a bargain!


          • Mickey O

            If Troy Brouwer is still on this team at the start of the season, it will be a mistake. But he still has value in the right spot. Gulutzan is in the right spot. With Chiarelli at the helm absolutely anything can happen.

    • Franko J

      Just asking Mickey O, can you provide me with some evidence that Vancouver wants Backlund. I haven’t heard or seen anything indicating that there is interest from Vancouver.

        • Mickey O

          Seriously, the ‘Nucks have been after Backlund for years. They would have a perfect mentor in Backlund for the wonder-kid Pettersson.

          Vancouver is sniffing around O’Reilly. But it is going to be a big ask. That 3-way deal makes a lot of sense – if Treliving values RoR over Backlund which he bloody well should.

        • Franko J

          Yeah I seen the rumour on Backlund. Elliotte Friedman brought it up.
          The only thing that seems uncertain to me is how much does BT value Backlund? Does Backlund have any trade clauses. Does ROR have any trade clauses?

  • Mickey O

    AC has started to put out his great video recaps of last season. Guaudreau has a two-parter out already, and the first one for Tkachuk.


    2:10 was the Kings game where Byng disappeared into a sea of bodies.
    5:50 the great head-fake in OT of Crosby and Rust. The celebration where Ferland unscrews Johnny’s head was great as well.
    11:33 that pass was fantastic. But the stick point and the smile in Goligoski’s face afterwards (11:59) cracks me up every single time.

    Long live Byng!

      • Mickey O

        …and Peters is already gushing about him. Ward will have him glued on the 1st PP, with Dougie as the lone d-man. Derek Ryan could easily take the position of a RHS on the powerplay as well, taking Versteeg’s spot.

        Tkachuk really should start practicing face-offs because Rebar might want to play him on the top line. Whatever happens he needs more ice time, the kid’s hockey IQ is off the charts.

        • Off the wall

          If Byng gets 1st line duties, you can be sure he’ll be practicing face -offs.
          I mean if you take an extra 50 pucks just to practice deflections every time, he’ll probably take 100 face-offs just to prove a point.

          I was reading a while ago about Byng. His face- off numbers are great in the defensive zone, (above 50%) however he seems to have less than stellar results in the O- zone and neutral zone.

          Can you imagine having ROR on our squad?
          What a perfect practice partner!
          ( alliteration too much?)

    • Kevin R

      What a great link to watch. Watching that I have come to the conclusion that we need to get Bennett his breakout year & become the player we expected. Playing with Tkachuk I think will do that. Imagine RoR, Tkachuk & Bennett on a line. I am more than happy to let Ferland play with Monahan & Gaudreau coming out of the gate this year.

      • Mickey O

        That would be an amazing 2nd line. Also Bennett – Jankowski – Tkachuk were absolutely dominant whenever somehow GG had them together. The trouble is that gives Tkachuk less ice-time when he should be getting more.

        If Peters can make it a true 2a/2b situation then there is a lot of possibilities for the Backlund line. Frolik can play both wings for the prospect that steps up into the apprentice position. Assuming Backlund is still around – which you might gather isn’t my first choice if O’Reilly is in play.

  • Franko J

    The Flames have prospered with fourth round picks. I have O’Reilly on my draft list as well. I like the fact that checks off a few boxes as well for the Flames.