NHL Trade Rumors: Breaking Down What Makes Ryan O'Reilly a Coveted Center

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NHL Trade Rumors: Breaking Down What Makes Ryan O'Reilly a Coveted Center
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The Colorado Avalanche are off to a slow start this season and look set to trade away one of their best players in center Ryan O'Reilly

According to TSN.ca, the restricted free agent has failed to reach an agreement with the club on a new contract, paving the way for a potential midseason trade:

Speaking on Insider Trading on Tuesday night, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said that according to sources, the Avalanche have already started trade discussions with Eastern Conference teams. "One team told me earlier that the expected return is a roster player and a top prospect.," Dreger said.

With trade discussion rumored to be in progress, below we'll break down what makes Ryan O'Reilly such a coveted center.

 

Youth Factor

O'Reilly is only 22 years old and seemingly has a long career ahead of him. Obviously, that's something that interests a lot of teams around the league.

But youth alone isn't enough to sell a team on a player. It's what O'Reilly has accomplished already during his brief amount of time in the league that's impressed some general managers around the NHL. With three full seasons already under his belt, the Clinton, Ontario native is ready to step in and deliver right away for a club.

O'Reilly's young age also makes him a target of teams looking to rebuild and become competitive for years to come. In a sense, his youth makes him an ideal fit almost anywhere.

 

Development

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As I mentioned before, O'Reilly has already accomplished a great deal in the NHL in terms of production over his first three seasons with Colorado. But more important than the numbers themselves is the progress he has made since 2009.

After recording 26 points in 81 games for the Avalanche in his first season in 2009-10, O'Reilly came right back with 26 points the following year despite playing in seven fewer games. 

Last season saw the star center blossom, as he developed into one of the league's better facilitators, recording 37 assists and 55 points in 81 games, which led the Avalanche last year. O'Reilly especially took advantage in power-play situations, where he scored 15 of his 55 points in 2011-12.

With his numbers improving year after year, plenty of teams should be willing to give up some talent in exchange for his services.

 

Work Ethic

O'Reilly's dramatic improvement over the past three seasons hasn't happened by chance. The emerging star has worked hard to earn the respect of his teammates and opponents around the league.

This from ESPN NHL insider Craig Custance:

When you talk to former teammates about O'Reilly's worth as his holdout now drags into the second quarter of the season, they explain that it goes beyond the 55 points he put up in 2011-12, his best season. It's the tireless work ethic to improve, along with being beloved in the dressing room, mixed in with a growing offensive stature and strong two-way game.

Although not everyone can watch O'Reilly behind closed doors after practice, he has seemed to develop a reputation for being a hard-working player and a quality teammate. Clearly, general managers around the league have taken notice of that reputation.

After scoring 55 points last season and having recently turned 22, it's no surprise that the unrelenting Ryan O'Reilly has become such a coveted piece this season.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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