Buzz: Could Ryan O’Reilly Be In New Jersey’s Future?

Pat Pickens

Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly could be available for the right price.

Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly could be available for the right price.

Last week we discussed the possibility of Jarome Iginla coming east to the Garden State.

This week, especially in light of Pete DeBoer’s line mixups, perhaps we could foresee a new center in red, black and white?

If you follow Hockey Night in Canada’s “Hotstove” as closely as I do, you’re aware of the Ryan O’Reilly saga in Colorado.

O’Reilly’s situation is a lot like P.K. Subban’s was with Montreal. The player is unsigned but remains under the team’s control for the foreseeable future. Subban ended up signing a two-year deal with Montreal, ending his holdout on Jan. 28.

Yet, the O’Reilly saga drags on, and it is getting ugly. The father of the recently turned 22-year-old forward just typed a letter to the Denver Post spelling out his son’s demands and what he’s going through.

So where do the Devils fall in all this? New Jersey’s had trouble scoring — it ranks 20th averaging 2.53 goals per game. Much like talked about with Iginla, O’Reilly could potentially give New Jersey a shot in the arm offensively.

Plus, if DeBoer is serious about Adam Henrique and Andrei Loktionov playing with Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils are missing a center somewhere. O’Reilly, is a two-way center who can score — think of a younger Jordan Staal. O’Reilly posted a career-high 55 points last season.

I’d bet that would even make Lou Lamoriello’s eyes light up.

Plus, Rich Chere reported Monday that it’s a possibility.

What’s the problem? Well, 22-year old top-2 centers with upside don’t come cheap. If you believe the rumors, Colorado’s asking for somewhere between a team’s first-born son or one arm and a leg for O’Reilly.

New Jersey is down to its No. 1 draft pick this year having already traded both its fifth- and seventh-round picks to get Loktionov and Alex Ponikarovsky, respectively. The Devils still must forfeit a No. 1 thanks to Kovalchuk’s “CBA-circumventing” deal either this year or next, so trading a No. 1 to get O’Reilly’s rights would leave the Devils without a No. 1 for two straight years.

Plus, a player? If Colorado would take Henrik Tallinder, good riddance. But I doubt the Avs would do that. In all likelihood, it’d have to be a Mattias Tedenby-type, a top-6 defenseman and a draft pick.

But I’ll leave it to you. Should New Jersey try to get in on Ryan O’Reilly?

Pat Pickens is a New Jersey native and lifelong Devils fan. Follow him on Twitter here.