Photo Courtesy of The Buffalo News
Ryan O’Reilly is now a member of the St. Louis Blues, but how will this trade effect both the Blues and the Sabres.
By Chris Yackel
The St. Louis Blues had a massive first day of free agency on Sunday. They signed David Perron and Tyler Bozak to solid deals and dealt for center Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres. Although the Blues have improved tremendously with these moves, the price to get O’Reilly was certainly high. St. Louis gave the Sabres a 2019 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Bergland and top prospect and former first round pick Tage Thompson.
Blues Vantage Point
The St. Louis Blues have consistently been one of the better teams in the Western Conference over the past decade. However, this past season saw something quite different. The Blues missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season. They started this past season really well as they seemed to be a team destined to make the playoffs.
The Blues instantly cover a hole at center ice left by Stastny with this move. They now become a great team up the middle with the signing of Tyler Bozak and the trade for O’Reilly. O’Reilly is a character guy that will mesh will in a very cohesive and professional Blues locker room. He will also bring a lot of production, as last year he had 61 points, (24 goals, 37 assists) with the Sabres. This is the type of the move the Blues needed in order to get back into the playoffs and become a threat in the Western Conference again. The cost may be very high and may bite the
Blues down the road, for now though the Blues are a much better team now than they were before July 1st.
Sabres Vantage Point
This was an absolute haul for the Sabres who have been trying to deal O’Reilly for quite some time now. The 27-year-old center was due $7.5 million dollars of bonus money by the end of the day on Sunday. That put pressure on the Sabres to move O’Reilly before they had to pay him that bonus. They did a tremendous job of doing that and getting great value for O’Reilly.
The Sabres were very weak in their forward depth and they’ve done a lot the past several days to change that. This trade puts 3 good players in their lineup and if you include adding Conor Sheary in a previous trade that’s 4. The Sabres already look like a team that will be much improved going into this year, especially with the addition of 1st overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. This trade for 3 good to great roster players and great draft picks over the next several years looks like more than a win for the Sabres, even if they lose a great centerand leader like O’Reilly.
Its hard to label a winner and loser in this trades, as I believe both sides overall improve greatly in this trade, but in much different ways. O’Reilly really is a great fit for the Blues and will put them back into contention. The Sabres really needed forward depth and got three of them in this trade. They are all good forwards too and certainly are not scrubs. On top of this the Sabres get a 1st round pick next year and a 2nd round pick in 2 years.
Overall, I think this trade will work out for both sides, but if I had to pick one winner I would pick the Sabres. O’Reilly is a good player, maybe even a great player, but the Blues gave up way too much for him. We’ll see who really won this trade as time goes along.
Follow @NHLNosebleed for more!