One hot topic has been doing the rounds in the Buffalo hockey world lately: Sabres possibly trading forward Ryan O’Reilly.
Ever since O’Reilly admitted the tough season made him lose his love for the game of hockey, the discussion has been: “Should the Sabres trade him this summer?”
This past season, the 27-year-old appeared in 81 games for Buffalo. He notched 24 goals and added 37 assists for 61 points. The center finished the season second on the team in goals, assists and points.
Remember when O’Reilly was seemingly on fire, and the talk around Buffalo was “Wow, I can’t believe Colorado traded him?” Well, the tables have turned - or have they? Some Sabres fans want Jason Botterill and Co. to ship him out, while others think he should stay.
The Die By The Blade staff weighs in, in today’s roundtable discussion:
Chad DeDominicis, Managing Editor:
“Trading Ryan O’Reilly is a really interesting discussion. You can make conceivable arguments on both sides of the scenario. Where I come down on this is sort of in-the-middle. I believe Jason Botterill is smart to listen to offers on O’Reilly. The roster needs changeover and the 28-year-old center is one of the club’s most valuable assets.
“The deal has to be right, however. They can’t give O’Reilly away for nothing just for the sake of making a move. An impact player or a good package has to come back in return or Botterill is better off hanging onto O’Reilly for now.
“For those who have a concern over losing his production, it should be replaced, at least a good portion of it. If the Sabres get a 25-goals-a-year scorer in return and sign a 15-goals-a-year center in free agency, they replace the production and more. In terms of face offs I wouldn’t worry too much about that. They can find it elsewhere.”
“The trade proposals I have seen floating around for O’Reilly seem to fall into two categories -
1) Very favorable for the Sabres, and therefore quite unrealistic and unlikely
2) Do not add value to the Sabres, and therefore quite unnecessary and unlikely.
“The Sabres’ biggest team need as I see it is improving puck possession. ROR can meet that team need as long as he is playing third line (shutdown center) minutes. If trading him away helps build up the defence and the top six significantly, then I might be onboard, but otherwise we’re only robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“There is also an argument to be made about his level of salary taking up cap space, but unless we’re seriously pursuing Erik Karlsson and/or John Tavares, that is not a problem for this offseason.”
Ryan Wolfe, Editor:
“Despite the brewing off-ice drama with O’Reilly’s locker cleanout thoughts, he remains very much an integral part of the Buffalo Sabres lineup.
“Is it exhausting to always hear him talk about how he needs to be a better leader and get better despite being a player who sets NHL faceoff win records and is annually good for at least 20 goals and 55+ points? Yes.
“Removing O’Reilly would most certainly give the locker room a jolt to its core, which might just be necessary.
“Then again, you will lose a big chunk of production and depth.
“We know O’Reilly is not a bad player. His leadership qualities might have been a little overstated but that can be worked with. It just seems like O’Reilly’s welcome might have been worn out.
“Does Botterill have a plan in place? That will truly determine whether or not Ryan O’Reilly is a Buffalo Sabre come October.”
Melissa Burgess, Staff Writer:
“I don’t think it hurts to listen to offers on O’Reilly. No player is really untouchable, in my opinion, for the right price. It really comes down to: what is O’Reilly bringing to this team? What would the pieces (from a trade) bring? You’ve got to weigh the pros & cons.
“That being said, I’d be a little disappointed if Botterill did move ROR. Though he’s had his off-ice issues, on the ice, he’s been one of Buffalo’s best players, and he brings a leadership that may otherwise be lacking.
“Again, I think it comes down to what the return on a trade would be. I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Reilly isn’t in the blue and gold come October, but if he isn’t, I certainly hope whatever comes back Buffalo’s way is worth it in the long - and short - run.”
Erik Wollschlager, Staff Writer:
“Unless the lockerroom is divided into Camp Eichel and Camp O’Reilly, I believe a trade would have a negative effect on the team.
“Unquestionably the team’s best two-way player, O’Reilly has endured a constant state of flux - tanks, rebuilds, re-tanks, and whatever this season ends up being. In that time, he has played huge minutes, set a record for faceoffs, and scored as consistently as any Sabre in recent memory.
“Casting out O’Reilly leaves a huge hole in the line-up. The team may be flush with centers, but it is woefully short on dependable veterans.
“At this writing, Buffalo is a young, inexperienced squad. I’m not convinced that a player like O’Reilly is replaced as easily as some may think.”
Anthony Sciandra, Contributor:
“If the Sabres are going to trade O’Reilly, now is a good time to do it. I don’t see his trade value ever being higher than it is right now since he’s still relatively young.
“If a team like Vancouver is willing to move out of the 7th pick as part of a package deal, or if Carolina can be convinced to part with Noah Hanifin, then Botterill should pull the trigger.
If Montreal is truly interested, Alex Galchenyuk or Jonathan Drouin NEED to be part of the deal before I even consider dealing O’Reilly to a divisional opponent.”
Die By The Blade readers - what do you think?
Should the Buffalo Sabres trade Ryan O’Reilly this summer?
This poll is closed
If you’re reading this on a news aggregator you won’t see a poll above, please click through to the site to vote.