O’Reilly Watch is officially on

In the past few days, what seems like a two-year buildup of a potential Ryan O’Reilly trade has really started to reach a new level. You know things are getting serious when Bob McKenzie writes up 2000-plus words on the subject.

Something new regarding O’Reilly’s situation will likely pop up every other day until the trade deadline, but to date, we know a few things. First off, the Avs certainly are shopping this guy, as it’s clear neither he or his contract is in their long-term plans. It’s also come to light that the Sabres and Leafs have been two teams expressing interest in making a move for him. And finally, Colorado is seeking help for their blueline in exchange. 

It’s easy to see why the Leafs would be linked to these rumors, as they desperately need help down the middle and have a couple players on the back-end who, for a variety of reasons, might be due for a change in address. 

Just this morning, Elliott Friedman threw some more brush to the fire with some information regarding the Avalanche’s wants/needs going forward with a trade:

For Leafs fans, the first names that likely come to mind here are Phaneuf and Gardiner. Two players with term on their contracts, but at totally different points in their careers. They’re quite distant from each other in style-of-play as well.

Gardiner comes with a cap hit of 4.05M through 2019, while the Leafs are on the hook with Phaneuf for 7.0M until the sun burns out. Considering neither is particularly good, you probably want to move out the older and declining Phaneuf. 

The risk of not being able to lock O’Reilly in long term and having him walk for nothing in 2016 is obviously a big concern for anyone involved. That’s why it’s tough to envision the Leafs unloading a true asset like Rielly in this sort of situation. The Avalanche can’t expect a team to totally mortgage their future, and since they likely consider themselves a “win now” team, Phaneuf or Gardiner make sense as targets.

There’s obviously a lot to consider here. We don’t know how the Leafs value Phaneuf and Gardiner, and from a fan’s perspective, opinions on those two are all over the place. Personally I’m fine with dumping Phaneuf’s contract for nothing, if that was possible. It isn’t because I think he’s a terrible player, but it’s difficult to gauge what he is, and he’s only getting older with a Leafs team that isn’t winning soon. His price tag is just too high. Others might feel differently. 

I think it’s fair to assume the Leafs will be in on this until the trigger is pulled. They’re in need of just this type of center and the management group is surely aware of it. Get used to seeing these names floating around until the deadline or perhaps into the summer. 

  • jasken

    nice ready Ryan

    Although I think its a trade and signing and the player is Franson he wants money Leafs wont give him. That said ROR comes to Leafs for Franson and a center or forward of some sort. Now people are going say over cap here is how you get around that.

    Next you take Phaneuf trade him to L.A. For Voynov and a pick since Voynov has legal issues and is suspended cap with relief you keep 2 mil of Phaneuf’s salary if and when Voynov’s legal issues are done, you sell his rights to KHL 2 players off the books basically 2 mil buyout on Phaneuf but with compensation of a draft pick.

    This is how a GM might do things so they can do a trade and sign of ROR and Colorado is going to want a trade and sign on Franson.

  • Avro

    Dion for o’reilly straight up. Stuart piercy is rising up the ranks. Getting rid of Dion would allow us space. 1m salary cap is alot. That team has centres for days, but no dee. We have dee stacking up, we just need a great two way forward. People have been showing defensive stats difference between o’reilly and kadri/bozak – it is crazy. It is like we were playing without centres the whole time.

    o’reilly will be on our first line, no doubt about that. Is he worth it? For dion, yes. For gards? Hell no. Gards is in a slump, but he is improving. Takes time, and that is just it. We can rush this kid out half a season into his new contract. The leafs need to see the bright side of things. Losing term on a contract, is a good thing for us. You signed the guy to way to many years. He is worth 7m per a year when you signed him. He is worth 6 now. Someone thinks he is 7m still? Sell high now. The leafs shouldn’t be worried about him. If buffalo wants a centre so badly, take bozak.

    I would love to have the centres next year (because lets face it, nylander is going to be on the roster next year – cuz leafs).

    o’reilly – Kadri – Nylander – Holland

    That looks great to me. Either way, we need to start losing some term on these contracts – only one that seems fitting for term is kessel. He is 30 per a year for sure.

  • I really feel ROR would be a good fit. But moves need to be made before this can be done.

    Maybe trade Bozak, for half decent defensemen, and then think about a Jake G for ROR deal. If the Leafs need to include a pick, so be it. They havent done well drafting 2nd rounders in the past 10+ years.

    Phameuf to LA for Richards, player for player must be done as well. Mike still has game if he’s given a bigger role, and I’m sure once Dion is in LA no one will ever hear a bad word about him (I think his wife the actress would be more than happy with this move as well).

    Lupul, Santo, Winnik,sadly must be moved as well for picks & salary dump.

    I wonder if Nonis actually does something… That will benefit this city and the team. Oh well, one can only hope. Go Leafs Go.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Nope. I also find it perplexing. Dion’s flawed, but he is, for better or worse, any top team’s top 4 D. Richards is not in the same league. Any gains in contractual terms are marginal. If Dion is going to be traded, make a franchise-altering move.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Franson-ROR won’t happen. Not in the Avs interest. I don’t see Leafs management taking high risk moves during the season. In the middle of a mess like this, that’s a mistake. Reacting to all this by bolting ROR down reminds me too much of reacting to Game 7 by signing Clarkson. We need to learn from mistakes. Let ROR go. If he were 1C material, the Avs would keep him.

    Trade Franson, Winnik, Santo for pieces and picks. Trade Lupul, maybe Bozak, for the right price, but at this stage I don’t think the Leafs get much, esp for Lupul. Let the season go, develop a strategic plan, and make the crazy moves at the draft.

    If the Leafs really want ROR in the end, get him when he’s UFA and the team’s unloaded contracts. But bargaining when you don’t have the resources yet is dumb.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Not sure why you got a “trash” for simply asking a question. I think it could be done but would involve taking back a contract the Ave’s might want to move as well. Dion wouldn’t have to accept the trade if the Ave’s aren’t on his list. I don’t know who the Leafs have to bury in D-zone starts once Phaneuf is gone unless tanking is being considered.

  • STAN

    Why would anyone with a soft spot for the Leafs and also able to review the last five years have any faith whatsoever in Dave Nonis’s ability top complete a good trade?

    This is the dude who mortgaged the team’s future by putting his name to those insane Lupul, Clarkson, Kessel and Phaneuf deals.

    Sure O’Reilly might fit in with the Leafs, but he also might not. Not very many players can handle the intense spotlight of a Toronto and Montreal. O’Reilly is likely thinking one of two things – just give me a chance to help lift iconic this team to Stanley Cup contention, or… keep me as far away as possible from that dysfunctional sinkhole.

    It all comes down to character and leading by example, something sorely missing from the current Leafs’ core.

    • TGT23

      It’s interesting but you answered your own question.

      None of the names you mentioned were trades, they were contracts. So, you can’t use those against him when asking why people would trust him to make trades.

      In trade he has gotten Holland and Bernier for nothing in return… That’s why people trust him to make trades…

      Just don’t let him do Franson or Kadri’s extension.

      • Jeremy Ian

        I think that we also need to consider all the facts when talking about Nonis and his salary negotiation, both of the guys in charge of all things cap were let go in July 2014, He was hired back in June 2010 by Burke and his duties,

        “Loiselle’s responsibilities will include; collective bargaining related duties, various contract negotiations, salary arbitration and cap management”.

        Obviously after he was the number cruncher on the contracts you mentioned.

  • STAN

    I think the Leafs should take a shot at O’Reilly. Good teams have a Toews, Getzlaf, Bergeron, Crosby, Kopitar, etc. ROR is about as close as a team can come to getting that type of player. He is worth the risk.

  • TGT23

    Gosh I hate to bring everyone into the real world here. But do you people forget already that way back in late summer the leafs had a deal worked out for Franson and all they would get back is that bum Josh Gorges. Wake up people smell the coffee the most you will get for Franson is a second round pick if you are lucky or somebody back who well is a pylon when it comes to skating and will be getting $4 or $5 million or will soon be signing that type of contract.

    Nobody is going to take Phaneuf’s contract.

    Phaneuf has been voted by his peers in the past as the most over rated player in the league. He is slowing down and he isn’t 30 yet. But Staal the other night showed what a lot of players really think about him as he blasted that shot at the empty net with Phaneuf in front of it.

    Notice no leaf player came to Phaneuf’s defence.

    I suppose I’m being a bit hard on some of the lost souls in here and I should remember I too used crayons and I too was once 11 years old. Because that is how your postings come across to any intelligent hockey fan.

    • Jeremy Ian

      The sarcasm is a bit thick, no? What’s wrong with a second round pick? Of course, since you are older than we 11-year olds, you know that:

      late picks Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk being replaced by 2nd and 3rd rounders like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar.

      David Krejci, 63rd overall in 2004, led the 2011 and 2013 playoffs in scoring.

      Patrice Bergeron, was a second-rounder the year before that….

      The fact was, that deal for Gorges was nixed — probably by Shanahan. The retooling began then.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I think that people thinking other teams would value Phaneuf in a deal… are being unrealistic without us eating salary. If we could offload phaneuf for ROR that’d be a great deal. If we could unload Phaneuf for any expiring contract that’d be a good deal, let alone 1 with a high talent level