Despite the fact that Ryan O’Reilly is out with an injury and might return to the NHL in just enough time to show that he could be a useful addition to an NHL playoff team, the St. Louis Blues are asking for quite a bit if they’re to trade him. In fact, in a recent article for The Athletic, Jeremy Rutherford is writing that he’s spoken to a source who said the Blues want multiple pieces, specifically one of the Maple Leafs’ best prospects if Toronto gets involved in trade conversations.
The Maple Leafs have been rumored as a team that will have interest if O’Reilly shakes loose. That said, the ask might have GM Kyle Dubas thinking twice. While the feeling seems to be that O’Reilly would make a nice replacement for a player like Nazem Kadri — who the Leafs have missed ever since they traded him — O’Reilly is still seen as more of a luxury than a need. As such, it doesn’t seem to make sense that Dubas would move a big piece of their future to make this deal work.
Rutherford writes: ” [Doug] Armstrong will want something that helps his club sooner than later, and certainly, Toronto won’t be trading something off its current roster.” He adds, “When I asked an NHL scout what the Blues might ask for, the response on the condition of anonymity because he’s not permitted to discuss other teams’ rosters was: “First-round pick plus (Matthew) Knies or (Fraser) Minten.”
Maple Leafs Won’t Trade Knies for O’Reilly
As Rutherford points out, it would be one thing if the Blues simply wanted a first-round pick. There’s a chance they could get that for the aging center, who is also a pending UFA. But, to ask for Knies as part of the deal is likely a place the Maple Leafs won’t go. Knies is part of one of the most dangerous offensive lines in NCAA hockey. Maybe he alone would get the deal done (even that is unlikely), but not both.
The catch here is that O’Reilly might not mesh with the Leafs’ star players or that he’s on the tail end of his career. If Toronto gives up too much and he becomes the next Nick Foligno, that’s a mistake Dubas can’t afford to make.
Next: Jim Rutherford Recap: Boudreau, Pearson, Horvat, Tough Season
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