Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/22/14
Better Late Than Never… Just last week ESPN‘s Pierre LeBrun released a “Rumblings” blog, focused on trade rumours, transacations and pending free agents. Perking up the ears of Vancouver, was the apparent interest that Canucks management has in Colorado Avalanche forward, Ryan O’Reilly. If the Avs do put O’Reilly on the trade market (and again, we don’t know if they ever will), there would be at least a dozen teams interested. One of them would likely be theVancouver Canucks, who are said to covet O’Reilly and have depth at defense, which is what the Avs would be looking for. Food for thought … – Pierre LeBrun If Mike Gillis really covets O’Reilly to the extent that LeBrun feels he does, it’s a rumour well worth exploring. Firstly, O’Reilly would help the Canucks in several key areas; most notably, putting the puck in the net. O’Reilly is also versatile enough to be placed nearly anywhere in the Canucks top-six, as either a forward or a winger. Theoretically, the Canucks could load up at center, with Ryan Kesler, Henrik Sedin and O’Reilly anchoring the first three lines – or, they could move Kesler back to the first-line as a winger with the Sedins again, while giving O’Reilly second line duties. The possibilities are endless! Looking as far ahead as next season, O’Reilly’s abilities as a winger would come in handy; so as to clear the third-line center role for one of either Brendan Gaunce or Bo Horvat. But let’s not get carried away here with that “next year” talk. First of all, the Canucks have to win out on the O’Reilly sweepstakes; then there’s the matter of re-signing O’Reilly, who is set to become an RFA this summer. Just qualifying the young center would cost the Canucks $6.5M. Can The Canucks Make It Happen? Can young defenceman, Christopher Tanev, land the Canucks O’Reilly? Prying O’Reilly from the hands of Avs management would prove to be both a costly and risky venture. For starters, they will have to win out on what is sure to be one of the more lucrative bidding-wars in recent NHL history. LeBrun feels that about 12 teams would be interested in O’Reilly’s services, should the Avalanche make them available. That’s another 11 teams that the Canucks will have to outbid, and presumably some of them aren’t in the Western Conference – which would give them the most marginal of edges, one would assume. And getting back to that bidding war, there isn’t any possible way the Canucks can get this done without moving Christopher Tanev, who is also going to become an RFA at season’s end. As a matter of fact, moving Tanev and his $1.5M salary alone would actually provide the Canucks with just enough cap space to fit in O’Reilly’s $5M cap hit for this season. That said, I can’t imagine any way that Colorado gives up O’Reilly for just Tanev. The package would likely include one of the Canucks young prospects, like Gaunce or Nicklas Jensen, and maybe even a mid-round draft pick. 22 year old centers as integral to their franchise’s success as O’Reilly is to the Avs don’t grow on trees, and as a result the Avs will likely hold out for a kings ransom. This is especially true because the Avalanche are right in the thick of the playoff mix. Now, that said, the trade-freeze on O’Reilly’s contract doesn’t lift until February 28th, meaning they could slip a little in the standings and open up to the idea of trading O’Reilly. It seems much more likely at this point thought that they will trade Paul Statsny, who is set to become a UFA this off-season. But, boy oh boy, it sure would be something if they sent O’Reilly Vancouver’s way…
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