NHL Trade Rumors: Teams Who Should Pursue Avalanche RFA Ryan O'Reilly

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2013

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 14: Ryan O'Reilly #37 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on March 14, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. The Avalanche defeated the Sabres 5-4 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Even though we are one week into the new season, Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly has not been able to join his teammates because he does not have a new contract. There are a few NHL teams that would be wise to pursue a trade for the young forward.

Per Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

There has been no resolution with the contract dispute between Colorado F Ryan O'Reilly and Avalanche GM Greg Sherman. Since the two sides haven't been able to get anywhere, there are whispers the Avs have been offering O'Reilly, 21, who had 18 goals and 37 assists last season, around to see what they can get in return. The asking price is a young forward and a second-round pick ...

Several NHL clubs could be looking to acquire a forward of O'Reilly's caliber, as injuries continue to hurt their offensive depth.

Let's look at four NHL teams that should contact the Avalanche about a deal involving O'Reilly.


Nashville Predators

More than anyone on this list, the Nashville Predators need to add a playmaking center to bolster the depth and talent of their top-six forward group. They have a 1-2-3 record this season and cannot afford to fall behind in the standings, because the Central Division is full of top-tier teams.

Nashville ranks 28th in goals scored, 14th in power-play percentage and just lost its best forward, Patric Hornqvist, to an injury.

General manager David Poile has to make a move for a top-six forward who can make a strong impact on his team's struggling offense, and O'Reilly is this kind of player.

Since O'Reilly is also a quality defensive forward, he would fit in the Predators' defense-first style of hockey very well.

The Predators don't have a lot of top-tier forward prospects to offer the Avalanche in a potential trade for O'Reilly, but this is the kind of move that Nashville must make to compete in the Western Conference this season.


Florida Panthers

The Panthers are one of three NHL teams with just one win this season and they really need to add some scoring depth to help ignite their struggling offense.

The return of Kris Versteeg from an injury will be a big boost to the Panthers offense, which also ranks 28th in goals scored and 17th in power-play percentage, but head coach Kevin Dineen doesn't have the depth needed to make the playoffs for a second straight season.

His team also has the worst goal differential (minus-14) in the Eastern Conference.

Nobody on the Panthers has scored more than four points through six games, so it's not surprising that the team has started 1-5.

Florida would be wise to add a defensive forward like O'Reilly who can score goals and also boost the power play with his passing skills and vision.

Luckily for general manager Dale Tallon, he has a deep prospect pool with several quality players at every position to offer the Avalanche in a potential trade for O'Reilly.

The Panthers have to do something to turn their season around, because if they continue to struggle, their chances of making the playoffs could be slim by Valentine's Day.


New York Rangers

The Rangers have won two straight games after losing three of their first four to start the season, but concerns remain about the team's scoring depth.

Second-line winger Ryan Callahan, who is the team's best defensive forward, will miss over a week with a shoulder injury (via ESPN's Katie Strang). Even though this injury will not keep the captain out for a long time, head coach John Tortorella could certainly use another tough, two-way forward.

New York's top line of Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik has been firing on all cylinders this season, with 20 combined points between the stars. However, the rest of the Rangers' lineup has underperformed this season.

Brian Boyle, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, Arron Asham, Mike Rupp and Callahan have just seven combined points. Callahan is the only player who has scored at least one goal among this group of six Rangers forwards.

O'Reilly would add some much-needed scoring depth and faceoff ability to the Rangers' lineup. The only problem for general manager Glen Sather is that he doesn't have a lot to offer Colorado after the Rick Nash trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the summer.


Ottawa Senators

With the news that star forward Jason Spezza could be out for two months after having back surgery (via Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun), the Senators could be one team looking to add some more offensive depth before the April 3 trade deadline.

Ottawa has started the season 5-1-1 and starting goaltender Craig Anderson is the top Vezina Trophy candidate at the moment, but losing Spezza for a lengthy amount of time is a real problem.

O'Reilly would be able to not only provide the Senators with more scoring depth, but his defense would be a major boost to the team's top-six forward group.

Spezza's absence in the lineup creates a big need for another quality center and O'Reilly's impressive two-way game would be a great fit in Ottawa because of his playmaking ability and gritty play.

Head coach Paul MacLean may want to give 19-year-old forward Mika Zibanejad an opportunity to succeed in the second-line center role, but if he is unable to be productive offensively, O'Reilly may become an option for general manager Bryan Murray to consider.