The last few days have given fans of the Buffalo Sabres a lot to talk about. First, it was the Rasmus Ristolainen trade with the Oilers, then the Sabres being a legit landing spot for John Tavares and now it’s a Ryan O’Reilly trade.
Bob McKenzie of TSN talked a lot about O’Reilly to open his Bobcast podcast today. He mentioned the 27-year-old center as the most likely core player to be moved off of the roster this offseason.
He said the Sabres feel they’re in need of a “culture change” and while O’Reilly is not to blame for the bad culture, moving him would be a sign of change.
McKenzie went on to say the Sabres would be looking for a “Mike Richards-esque” deal as a return for the top-six center. Richards was dealt from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick. A hefty asking price, but nothing ridiculous.
He said the two teams that seem to be the most interested at this point are the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes. Both in desperate need of a center and with big names players to offer like Alex Galchenyuk, Victor Mete, Noah Hanifin and Justin Faulk as part of the package.
The tricky part with the Hurricanes may be their unwillingness to complete a deal prior to July 1. That is when O’Reilly is due his $7.5 million signing bonus. McKenzie talked about how the Hurricanes are not likely to be interested in paying that bonus, but if the Sabres payout that bonus, then the price will increase.
McKenzie also mentioned that the Sabres will listen to calls on anyone not named Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin (first overall pick). He said it’s not a “fire sale” but for the right price, any player could be moved beside the two big stars.
You can hear the full Sabres portion and the rest of the podcast below or on iTunes.