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Making Sense Of Canadiens Rumored Pursuit of Ryan O’Reilly

Montreal Canadiens players’ request to acquire Ryan O’Reilly highlights their drive for immediate improvement.

Multiple reports have surfaced suggesting that several Montreal Canadiens players expressed a desire for the team to acquire Ryan O’Reilly during the summer. O’Reilly ultimately decided to sign with the Nashville Predators, the Habs’ desire to pitch for him, if true, reflects the mindset of the players and their eagerness to keep the rebuild window as narrow as possible, even though O’Reilly may not be the ideal signing during a transitional period.

Blain Potvin of The Hockey Writers shed light on the situation, mentioning Elliotte Friedman’s list of frontrunners for O’Reilly’s services, which included Toronto, Detroit, Montreal, Nashville, and Vancouver. The revelation that Montreal was in talks with the centerman came as a surprise. Jeff Marek further explained that some Canadiens players had requested General Manager Kent Hughes to pursue O’Reilly. However, he was unable to find a way to come through for his players.

Ryan O’Reilly Maple Leafs 1

O’Reilly, being an older player with perhaps his best years behind him, makes sense for Nashville as a character guy with Barry Trotz at the helm and trying to reshape the reputation of the team as one that isn’t settled into the idea of living in Nashville and being on-the-cusp contenders every year. Toronto wanted to keep him too, but GM Brad Treliving mentioned that playing in your hometown can kind of be a thing for players. St. Louis would have been open to bringing him back, but that ship apparently sailed. Montreal? It’s an interesting choice, but perhaps not terribly surprising considering rumors of their interest in him date back to 2018.

Are the Canadiens Closer Than We Think?

If the Canadiens wanted O’Reilly to both produce on the ice and be a mentor and guide for younger talent bubbling up through the Habs’ system, the fact that Hughes was willing to consider the players’ input and attempts to meet their demands is significant. It demonstrates trust and the value placed on their opinions. The fact that he didn’t overpay also demonstrates restraint or a willingness to deviate from long-term plans.

Clearly, the players want to be better now and Hughes is open to making that happen. However, he’s not willing to sacrifice the long-term objectives of the organization just to make a splash. As the Canadiens continue their journey, their commitment to both short-term success and long-term sustainability remains at the forefront of their decision-making process.

Next: Truth About Rumors Bertuzzi Circled Back to Bruins In NHL Free Agency

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