Another day gone, another day that center Ryan O'Reilly is still a restricted free agent without a contract as he continues his holdout. The 22-year-old and the Colorado Avalanche have yet to reach a new deal, but that has not prevented other teams from approaching GM Greg Sherman about a potential trade.
O'Reilly posted a career-best 18 goals and 37 assists for a total of 55 points in Colorado last season, but he has yet to agree to terms on a new deal with the team. He is seeking at least $4 million per year, but that number rises to $5 million in the event of a long-term deal.
With no progress made, suitors have lined up in recent days. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Sherman is seeking both a roster player and a top prospect in any potential deal.
As we discussed in Insider Trading initial trade talk has Colorado requesting a roster player and top prospect for O'Reilly. #TSN— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 13, 2013
Appearing on TSN Radio, Dreger also named the Toronto Maple Leafs as a team that would be very interested in acquiring O'Reilly. The team has the expiring contract of Phil Kessel to offer, so there is every chance that a deal could be made.
However, Toronto also has an excellent prospect in defenseman Jake Gardiner, and Dreger notes that it would "take a blockbuster" for the Maple Leafs to include him in any deal. The team is not necessarily hungry for offense, but someone with O'Reilly's playmaking capabilities would definitely make Toronto stronger. Whether Gardiner is in the deal or not, Leafs GM Dave Nonis must keep O'Reilly on his radar since other teams are interested as well.
The Fourth Period has reported the Buffalo Sabres as being interested in O'Reilly, but how serious talks are between both teams is unclear. Moreover, landing O'Reilly would cost Buffalo a pretty penny. The team has dynamic players like Tyler Ennis and Cory Hodgson, both of whom have similar skill sets to O'Reilly, and chances are that Sherman would ask Sabres GM Darcy Regier for one if not both of them in return.
One team that will definitely not be getting O'Reilly, however, is the New York Rangers. While GM Glen Sather would love to acquire another solid forward and add to an arsenal that already includes Brad Richards and Rick Nash, Larry Brooks of the New York Post notes how a potential deal does not make sense for the team from a financial standpoint.
The Rangers made it a policy, beginning in 2008-09 with Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky and continuing this year with Michael Del Zotto, to sign restricted free agents lacking salary arbitration rights to two-year “bridge” deals.
The Blueshirts have three prominent players coming up on such restricted free agency this summer in first-pair defenseman Ryan McDonagh and current first-line forwards Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin.
Where will Ryan O'Reilly end up playing?
Given O'Reilly's high demands regarding his next contract, the Rangers will not be able to afford to continue this policy. More importantly, trading for O'Reilly would likely cost Sather one of those three players, plus a top prospect like Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller.
That all being said, the status of Ryan O'Reilly's future is really no different than it was a few days ago. Teams are definitely interested in trading for him, but it's hard to say just where he'll go as no front-runner has emerged.
Hopefully some progress will be made in the near future so that the man can get back on the ice soon and get back to wowing the fans.