The Blackhawks Should Pursue Ryan O’Reilly

Reports are indicating that the Colorado Avalanche are now shopping unhappy free agent center Ryan O’Reilly.

ryan o'reilly

The question isn’t whether or not the Blackhawks should be interested (they should), but what could/should they be willing to give up to acquire him?

According to one of the jedi masters at TSN, Darren Dreger, early indications are that the Avs are asking for two components to any deal: an NHL roster player and a top prospect.

Dreger.OReilly

Obviously this now becomes a delicate discussion for the Blackhawks, who are off to a fantastic start this season; disrupting the chemistry on the best team in the league isn’t an easy proposition to stomach.

But O’Reilly is the kind of player that puts the Hawks over the top. And it’s time for GM Stan Bowman to make a bold statement.

Consider what the Hawks would be pursuing in O’Reilly, a center who just turned 22 last week (Feb. 7). Last year, he posted 18 goals and 37 assists while winning 52.8 percent of his faceoffs.

Those are solid numbers. But there’s more to like about O’Reilly than points and faceoff percentage.

He led the NHL with 101 takeaways last year; for the record, Jonathan Toews had 82 in 59 games (or a pace to put up roughly 113 in the 81 games O’Reilly skated). O’Reilly also blocked 50 shots and had 62 hits; listed at 6-0 and 200 pounds, he’s physical and aggressive on both ends of the ice.

O’Reilly’s skill set afforded the Avs the ability to put one of their best players on the ice a lot last year; he averaged 19:31 per game, of which 2:21 per game was on the powerplay and 1:10 per game was short-handed.

The point: O’Reilly’s a really good young center.

But there are two costs to consider when thinking about making a deal for him.

First, how much money is he expecting to make (and for how long)?

And second, what assets would it cost the Hawks to acquire him?

O’Reilly just finished his entry-level contract and looking for a major pay day. But there are a couple comparables we can look to from recent deals for benchmarks.

Over the summer, the Vancouver Canucks gave Alex Burrows a four-year deal with a $4.5M cap number. Over the last three seasons, Burrows has posted 167 points and is a good faceoff man.

The New Jersey Devils, after watching Zach Parise skate off into free agency, decided to lock up one of their core players long-term. They handed Travis Zajac an eight-year deal with a $5.75M cap number. In the last three seasons he was healthy, Zajac posted 173 total points; he was limited to 15 games in 2011-12 because of injury.

With other young stars Evander Kane (six years), Joffrey Lupol (five years) and Jamie Benn (five years) all signing deals with a $5.25M cap number, there’s precedent for O’Reilly wanting a nice raise.

Giving O’Reilly (who, again, just turned 22) a four or five-year deal isn’t out of the question at all. And giving him a cap number somewhere around $5M (preferably closer to Burrows than Zajac) would fit into the Hawks’ future payroll space.

Looking at the current Hawks roster, though, there are two significant payroll considerations that cannot be ignored when thinking about any deal that would fall in the 3-5 year range: both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews need new deals before the summer of 2015. With two years left on the deals of the team’s two young superstars, the front office must plan ahead to afford those two getting paid in a couple years.

Thankfully, the Hawks have enough shorter-term deals coming off the books in the next two years that they should have plenty of cap space to afford both of them.

Of course, that assumes some of the established NHL players on the current roster won’t be here in 2015… which brings us to the second major part of this discussion: the asset cost to acquire O’Reilly.

Dreger says the Avs want an NHL roster player and a top prospect. So let’s start with NHL roster players the Hawks could consider giving up.

Obviously there are a few guys in the final year of their contracts that would be considered, including Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell. But neither of them is an asset that headlines a deal for a player like O’Reilly.

However, Dave Bolland might be the right player to make that happen.

Bolland has one year left on his current contract with a $3.375M cap number. With the emergence of both Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger as more viable bottom-six centers, the timetable for Bolland to be replaced on the roster has been pushed up.

Bolland’s well-documented struggles at the dot continue to disappoint; an upgrade of almost 10 percent to O’Reilly as the team’s second line center would be an instant impact, not to mention O’Reilly’s finishing ability.

From a prospect perspective, Bowman would have a few options to make this deal happen. In reality, Toews and O’Reilly would likely lock-down the top two center positions for the next 5-10 years, leaving two spots to be filled. There is a lot of quality talent in the organization now, but adding O’Reilly with Shaw and Kruger would effectively put a concrete ceiling over the crop of young centers the Blackhawks have been drafting in recent years.

The first name that comes to mind to be part of a deal would be Brandon Pirri, who has had a nice couple seasons in Rockford. He’s still young – turns 22 in early April – has has put up 90 points (36 goals, 54 assists) in his last 114 AHL games. But he’s a center, and would find himself needing a new home before likely seeing an opportunity at the NHL level.

Another name that might find itself into a deal would be defenseman Dylan Olsen. After getting a taste of the NHL last year, he’s been a disappointment in Rockford this year.

With Adam Clendening developing, the Hawks having a similar depth situation on their blue line as the addition of O’Reilly would create at center (read: there’s no room for him). Also keep in mind that the Hawks have another big, physical defenseman coming soon in Notre Dame’s Stephen Johns, making Olsen expendable.

Would Bowman consider shaking up his lineup by trading one of the key players that remains from the Cup team in spite of the hot start?

Would Bolland, Pirri and Olsen be enough for the Hawks to get O’Reilly out of Denver?

It’s worth the conversation.

o'reilly

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58 Responses to The Blackhawks Should Pursue Ryan O’Reilly

  1. Tony says:

    I think that if things turned south this might be considered, but right now the name of the game is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. Why disrupt the chemistry of a team that is still getting results?

  2. BoogKnight2002 says:

    Want an NHLer from teh Hawks that wont disrupt the roster?
    CARCILLO!
    Throw in Dylan Olsen and move Bollie between Shaw and Stalberg.

  3. bam says:

    Get him!! See you later Bolland.

  4. db says:

    Dammit… Bolland has been one of my favorite players to watch while on the 3rd line, but pushing him up to 2nd line center seems to decrease his value if he can’t win faceoffs. Dammit…

  5. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab – very good piece (incl. salaries, cap, etc.).

    In my opinion, at face value Bolland/Pirri/Olsen for O’Reilly (especially considering the $$ and depth info you provided) sounds like a GREAT move for Chicago. Full speed ahead, but…

    “chemistry”? *I* don’t know how important it is, but several players on different occasions have remarked about what a good group they are, etc. Would exchanging Bolland for O’Reilly fatally disrupt this team? Sitting here, that’s difficult to imagine.

    Also, “…time for GM Stan Bowman to make a bold statement.” – it would be a first, wouldn’t it? We know Bowman likes this team – he’s said that several times. Would he take a chance?

    “…puts the Hawks over the top” sounds good. Stan?

  6. ozzzie19 says:

    I’d love to see the Hawks get O’Reilly, he essentially is what everyone wishes Dave Bolland was (and without the back issues ta boot). Your package seems realistic, especially as the Av’s should be looking for guys responsible in the defensive zone. Another point though is that they are a perennial cap floor hugger…I wonder if they would prefer the cost/years under control that Shaw would bring over Bolland.

    Heres a stat-driven very pro-O’Reilly article.
    http://www.hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1423

  7. JoeyCollins says:

    Sounds like a plan to me. Bolland was my first thought when i saw the headline. He might manage as the season goes on, but i just don’t feel he provides enough on the second line.

  8. Peter says:

    I think one of your key points that is mentioned is that the front office needs to make any deal for a top 6 player with the thought of the next Toews and Kane contract in mind. Would the Avs really want Bolland? I do like Ozzie’s suggestion though of Bolland helping them get to the cap floor without too expensive of a price tag. I would think any prospects of Pirri, McNeill, Olsen, or Ben Smith would be available…

  9. the greek says:

    Awesome info, as usual…!!! Before I even finished reading, 2 players came to mind from current team. Carcillo, or, reluctantly, Bolland plus ANY player currently playing in Rockford, without hesitation. This is a move that will cement the Hawks at center for many years to come. Regarding Carbomb…never thought he was a good fit with this squad- yes he does bring toughness and I know his offensive skills are overlooked at times, but I feel chemistry wise, he is worlds away from what Bolland means to his teammates. Regarding Bolland, perhaps he is better suited as number 3 center, based on his performance at the dot…that is really the only issue I have with him, he does EVERYTHING else you ask of him quite well. Perhaps Carcillo and 2 prospects ( 1 top tier and another mid level) would be enough to make it happen?

  10. EbonyRaptor says:

    I’m not sure adding O’Reilly’s $5M+ salary really fits under the $64.3M salary cap next year with Leddy and Kruger needing to be resigned at higher cap numbers than what they have now.

    But for the sake of argument, let’s assume salary is not a barrier. I doubt Bolland, Pirri and Olsen get it done. From Colorado’s perspective, Bolland is only one year away from needing a new contract and he has a history of back and concussion problems. Pirri has some value, but apparently isn’t good enough to make the Hawk’s roster when the Hawks have need of a top-6 center which is what Pirri is supposed to be. Olsen, last seen on NHL ice, was slow and not instinctual enough to offset his below average skating.

    I have to believe Colorado is going to receive a bevy of better offers than Bolland, Pirri and Olsen. While they may be ok with Bolland as part of the package because he actually is a pretty good shutdown center, the prospect(s) would have to be top flight such as Saad, TT, or maybe Danault or McNeill.

  11. Tab Bamford says:

    @EbonyRaptor:

    re: fitting $5M under the cap in 2013-14…

    According to CapGeek, the Hawks are showing just over $4M in cap space available for next season. Add Bolland’s $3.375 to that, and you’re at roughly $7.5M in cap space (or O’Reilly + $2.5M). If you throw in a buyout of Olesz (instead of burying him), you eliminate another $3.125M from the cap, giving the Hawks over $5.6M for Leddy & Kruger (which should be more than adequate for them). If we also eliminate Montador (either via buyout or LTIR), there’s another $2.75M to give to someone else….

    The point is, the Hawks have plenty of cap space to make this deal unless Bowman pulls a Tallon and throws $3M at every would-be free agent on the team (including Stalberg & Bickell). IMO, you should be able to sign Leddy, Kruger, Stalberg & Bickell for $10M total, which makes signing O’Reilly at $5M possible.

    re: the package Colorado would take…

    I think you’re assuming the Avs want a long-term obligation, which might not be the case. They’re in FLOOR mode right now, meaning having an established veteran around for one season is probably a tempting proposition. Maybe Pirri and Olsen aren’t the prospects they want, but in my opinion, Saad & Clendening are the only untouchable prospects in the system that have a contract right now, with Teravainen & Johns (unsigned) keepers as well. If you can acquire a legit top-six center that has bona fide NHL production on his resume – who is barely 22 years old – you make it happen.

  12. ozzzie19 says:

    Ebony,

    Assuming Olesz/Montador are bought out/LTIRed and Frolik is traded away for a pick/nonroster player, we’d have enough money for $5M for O’Reilly, $1.75M for Kruger and $2.5M for Leddy. And frankly, I don’t see having to give O’Reilly $5M if he were traded to Chicago. Hes nowhere near the Benn comparison and should be quite happy to sit in the 4ish range while racking up the counting stats that will lead to his real pay day when he hits UFA.

  13. wall says:

    I still like the idea of the Hawks keeping Stals, Kruger, Leddy next year…

    If they could lock them up and still get Ryan O… say for Bolland, Mcneil, Olsen, Pirri or any 3 of those- great! But I don’t think it’s financially possible-

    Unless you throw in Frolik- knowing that Danault and/or TT will be here in two years or less!

    The other possibility is that Hawks Brass tries to sign 25,16,8,29 cheaply… sooner than later… before their values keep going up!!!!

  14. Brad Stevenson says:

    Very interesting news and an excellent article Tab…I agree with you 100%…and the key statement you made is that by acquiring O’Reilly “it puts the Hawks over the top”. And I also agree that is true…so if it is, then what should we be willing to give up? Anything in the farm system, including TT if it came down to it…

    With futures you NEVER know…it could be a physical injury thing, or a concussion thing, or a lack of maturity thing…there is no guarantee that any of them will turn out. For any team, especially Colorado building for the future, being strong at Centre is key…so you know they don’t want to lose O’Reilly, and if they “have to” they will want something that addresses that position immediately and long term…

    Bolland and McNeil, or even Bolland and Danault (I would hate to give him up), with say Dylan Olsen in the package, is MORE than enough to make this deal, and in terms of what other teams are offering, literally it would be difficult for any of them to top that…Colorado would be getting a bona fide NHL centre in Bolland that brings a championship background and two way hockey to the mix, plus 2 former 1st round picks that are looking like they will pan out. Plus the $$$ figure for Colorado in return is very attractive for them.

    Bolland is a good Hawk…I like him a lot…but he is Duplicity…Shaw, Kruger, and likely McNeil and Danault (soon) do everything that Bolland does and likely with much better skills at the dot, so from a “talent” standpoint, there is no drop off for the Hawks in either the short or the long term.

    O’Reilly would make an excellent Hawk, so any concerns about chemistry really go out the window…he is 22 and a solid 2 way player who wants to win…there isn’t a single Hawk (short of Bolland) that wouldn’t be ecstatic about acquiring him…plus he is a special teams stalwart, both on the PP and PK…now, what would O’Reilly bring to the Hawks as the 2nd team PK centre winning face-offs at over a 52% clip??? TONS, especially in the playoffs…the Hawks game is puck possession, OR gives us that in a big way…and ask yourself this…how would he look centring Kane and Sharp??? That’s not a 2nd line…that’s line 1B.

    I agree Tab that Bowman really needs to make this happen…with Toews, Shaw and Kruger there is a massive block on the C position for any Hawk prospect, so giving up a prospect Centre is not going to hurt us in any way. OR would immediately become one of our corp players and means that we would be competing for the SC year in and year out for at least the next 5 years WITHOUT even considering what players like TT, Clendening, the Hayes Brothers, Johns, and others would bring.

    Bottom line…you make the deal Sonny (whether or not the old man dies).

  15. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tab I love your angle, I just dont think Stanley has the stones to trade Bolland and a top prospect for O’Reilly, although it would be nice if he did. The only glimmer of hope I have is that Bolland was already being shopped for Luongo so maybe Stanley will man up and make the move. So the question you have to ask is does Ryan O’Reilly make this team better this season? I think the answer is yes, he clearly makes them better moving forward because I highly doubt Bolland will be a Hawks after his contract runs out.

  16. wall says:

    More thoughts on Bolly… I think he is an under-rated scorer with fantastic hands…
    will score a lot w/Kane cuz he is a great receiver of the puck.

    the drawbacks are his face-offs, injuries, and his contract is up soon.

    Ryan sounds like a very good player… but are his hands as good as 36? Once again, to me Kane’s best talent is play-making first… skating second… shooting third.

    If his hands are great… and Hawks can keep 3 of the 2,16,25, Bicks… sounds like a good deal…

  17. Belnick says:

    Do you really believe the Av’s would consider your proposed trade? Not in a million years, you’re crazy.

  18. JS says:

    They aren’t really dealing from a position of power, Belnick. It’s either get something for him or nothing for him. So unless another team offers up something better, I’m sure Colorado would take it.

  19. B_Maniac says:

    @Tab & @Brad – this is fantastic stuff. You guys should co-write a blog. Filthy Hawks knowledge. Top Cheddar. All Gouda.

  20. This would be a smart decision to obtain O’Reilly from Colorado . Bolland has given up faceoffs 70% of the time in our zone . Cost us goals ! I have never cared for Stalberg since fast but needs to be in the ice capades . He does not score .
    Bickell’s game has improved . Piri has not been impressive when brought up to our level since knocked off the puck easily

    Red Baron( Norm Baron)

  21. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab, in my opinion, “Saad & Clendening are the only untouchable prospects in the system that have a contract right now, with Teravainen & Johns (unsigned) keepers as well.” and “If you can acquire a legit top-six center that has bona fide NHL production on his resume – who is barely 22 years old – you make it happen.” — you are SO right!!

  22. the greek says:

    Stalberg is just fine. Yes it would be great if he scored more…you can say that about a lot of Hawks. His speed cannot be taught. Bickell, on the other hand, does not play to his size enough, yet…The one player I wouldn’t mind seeing go is Carcillo. Always felt he was a punk. I don’t trust him in the sense that I think he will screw up down the road with ill-timed penalties. Teams around the league know how to push his buttons and get under his skin. He does bring a level of toughness that the Hawks have been missing for 3 seasons, but not much else. He certainly shouldn’t get a sniff of the top 3 lines when he returns. Knowing the Hawks PP is clown shoes at the moment, teams won’t hesitate to mess with him. I really would like to see Bowman make a serious run at O’Reilly. This team has the potential for a special year if they can bolster the PP and improve face off production from second line center, allowing them to play their puck possession game. How the hell can we be so inept at PP with the names we are throwing out there? It does baffle me. Also, the Hawks need to figure out who the best guys are to put out there for a shoot out, and keep them there. Is Hossa really that bad? Toews, Kaner, Saad are locks, beyond that??

  23. Dickie Dunn says:

    Brad, “Anything in the farm system, including TT if it came down to it…”? I haven’t seen them play much, but going by what I have seen and read, I would rate Teravainen “UNtouchable”, and I would REALLY rather NOT move Danault (- which you also say). It seems like the Hawks have the depth to make an offer as good or better than any other interested team.

    Let’s hope Stan Bowman will make this happen.

  24. EbonyRaptor says:

    The following Capgeek lineup shows what would need to happen in order to sign O’Reilly for the assumed salary of $5M. Bolland would be traded. Olesz and Montador would be amnesty buyouts. Then the most optimistic resigning of free agents would have to happen – RFAs Leddy ($2M), Kruger ($1.5M), and UFAs Stalberg ($2M), Bickell ($1M) and Karlsson ($0.95M) to be backup goalie. That is a 22 man roster with $39,000 remaining under the cap. While Kruger, Bickell and Karlsson may sign for those amounts – maybe – most likely Leddy and Stalberg will command more than $2M – especially Stalberg as a UFA. The only way I see this working is if Frolik is traded without taking much salary back in the trade.

    CAPGEEK.COM USER GENERATED ROSTER
    My Custom Lineup
    FORWARDS
    Brandon Saad ($0.894m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)
    Patrick Sharp ($5.900m) / Ryan O’Reilly ($5.000m) / Patrick Kane ($6.300m)
    Bryan Bickell ($1.000m) / Andrew Shaw ($0.565m) / Viktor Stalberg ($2.000m)
    Daniel Carcillo ($0.825m) / Marcus Kruger ($1.500m) / Michael Frolik ($2.333m)
    Brandon Bollig ($0.575m) /
    DEFENSEMEN
    Duncan Keith ($5.538m) / Brent Seabrook ($5.800m)
    Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m) / Johnny Oduya ($3.383m)
    Nick Leddy ($2.000m) / Sheldon Brookbank ($1.250m)
    Dylan Olsen ($0.870m) /
    GOALTENDERS
    Corey Crawford ($2.667m)
    Henrik Karlsson ($0.950m)
    ——
    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled with the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $64,300,000; CAP PAYROLL: $64,343,462; BONUSES: $82,500
    CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $39,038

  25. Brad Stevenson says:

    Yeah, I really wouldn’t want to lose TT, Danualt, Clendening, Johns or the Hayes Brothers…but to get OR at 22, giving us two #1 lines for the next 5 years, you just have to make the deal…Bolland’s face off woes are going to haunt us in the playoffs…Kruger is getting better, but is likely another year away from being at 50%…OR’s face-off prowess to a puck possession team (and as the centre for Patrick Kane) is extremely valuable.

  26. McKay says:

    I’ve never really seen Riley play so I won’t slurp him just yet. But I’ve watched almost every single one of Bolland’s games and he has been a great Blackhawk.

    Bolland is certainly not a sexy player. But he gets it done when the Hawks need it. He was an absolute beast against Thorton in the 2010 playoffs.

    He’s scored big short handed goals for us over the years.

    Two years ago against Vancouver when we were down and out and couldn’t get a goal to save our life, it was Bolland of all people who came back from injury and gave us the offensive kick to get us back into that series.

    In the regular season he has 160 points in 308 games.

    In 49 playoff games… 37 points.

    Some guys have what it takes to play in those extremely high pressure moments and I think Bolland is one of those guys.

  27. jw says:

    Tab,
    I think what Bowman has, which most fans don’t, is patience. Everyone last year wanted to trade or dump Kane, Frolik, Crawford, Emery, etc. Chemistry is a very ethereal thing–there are always better players on paper, but you put them together in the right roles and circumstances, and you can win yourself a cup. I wouldn’t jettision Bolly because of a slow start–we might need him when the going gets tough.

  28. wall says:

    McKay… agreed- I don’t know enough about Ryan- sounds like a tough guy to play against… but I really go back to the soft hands/ receiving passes from Kane and I.Q.
    Bolly is great at both of these…

    If O’Reilly is too- then it sounds like an upgrade… but if it’s just face-offs and tough to play against???

  29. Brad Stevenson says:

    Wall, OR would be a significant upgrade over Bolly and I LIKE Bolland! When you factor in the age difference, their size difference, their speed difference, and their health difference, it separates them significantly…add when you add in the face-off % and the physicality of his game, there is a large divide…

    Bolly has been a good Hawk and is a good NHL centre…OR is better, and fits our NEEDS a lot better…and when one considers how deep and young we are at centre in the show, when and where are all these draft picks going to play???

  30. Borje Salming says:

    1. O’Reilly is not a 5M a year player. If thats what he looking for PASS
    2. Bolland is too much for a 22 yr old who’s scored 39 goals in 3 yrs.
    3. Kruger or Stalberg would have be the player off the roster. The Aves have depth at C, a little thin on the sideboards.
    4. Prospect – Morin, Pirri, Beach, one Hayes, Olsen, Lalonde, Johns. Take your pick not all of them are going to pan out and the top 6 is pretty set for the forseeable future.
    5. Untouchable prospects in this deal are = TT, Danault and McNeil. Olsen i’m on the fence.
    6. Carcillo would be a non starter for the Aves. His value is at an all time low due to injuries.

  31. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Borje

    1) Using Burrows & Zajac as comparables, $5M per isn’t unreasonable (and shouldn’t be a deal-breaker) for O’Reilly.
    2) Bolland, who has missed 70 regular season games over the last three full seasons, is not too much to ask for a significant upgrade at the dot and offensively.
    3) Kruger or Stalberg doesn’t get it done. Pipe dream. And other than Duchene & Stastny, where’s the depth at center for Colorado? Duchene & Stastny have taken over 67% of the Avs’ faceoffs this year…
    4) Johns & younger Hayes aren’t signed, so cross them off your list. Nobody wants Lalonde or Beach, cross them off your list. I named 2 of the other 4 on your list.
    5) So you would make Saad & Clendening available?
    6) You’re correct.

  32. Phil says:

    Given his age and skill level he would be a very good add. Damn, wish he were right handed though. We need more skill guys that shoot righty, but given our strong start this year O’Reilly could put us over the top. Would hate to see Bolland go as he has always been one of my favorite players from the Cup winner. Bolland has intangibles that make him valuable, especially in the playoffs. In the end I think O’Reilly would be an upgrade.

  33. Mark L says:

    Rumor has it the Avs are looking to the Eastern Conf for this trade, so we may not even have the option….

  34. McKay says:

    @Mark, that is the other thing I was thinking…. why would the Avs trade a great asset in conference? Especially to the Hawks who would kill them the next 5 years.

    If we trade for this guy, we’re going to have to cut out a pound of our own flesh. It will change our current roster. I would think anyone outside of Kane, Toews, Seabs, and Keith would have to be on the table if requested by the Avs.

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    Everyone’s thinking about this scenario under the current Eastern-Western Conference system… if/when the league changes to a four-conference set-up, w/ Colorado in a western conference and the Blackhawks in a central one, this wouldn’t be as much of a major concern. Keep that in mine (Mark, McKay, etc).

    The Rumors are swirling that the Avs are talking to Eastern Conference teams, but it’s the same teams as every other rumor (Flyers, Leafs, Habs).

  36. Mark L says:

    Good point Tab, but are the Avs that forward-thinking as well?

  37. Tab Bamford says:

    As I noted in another comment, the Avs have two pretty good centers in Duchene & Stastny. If they’re looking for a short-term answer at 3C, the final two years of an affordable Bolland makes sense for Colorado. If the proposed four-conference alignment takes place in the next 6-18 months, the Avs wouldn’t have to think too far forward.

    At the end of the conversation, IF the Avs move O’Reilly (which they probably will), it’s going to come down to which team offers the best package to Colorado both in quality of assets and financial future(s).

    The point of this article and the great conversation that’s followed is that IF the Avs are shopping a player the caliber of O’Reilly, Bowman has done a good enough job in building assets in the Chicago organization that he should be able/willing to make a significant play for a really good 2C.

  38. Chuck Miller says:

    Check this out….

    http://www.denverpost.com/lunchspecial/ci_22581703/avs-withholding-captaincy-from-ryan-oreilly-is-one

    The Hawks may have the Avs over a barrel since it appears O’Reilly may not sign under any conditions.

  39. Mon says:

    If you get the chance to improve your team at the cost of Bolland and two IceHogs then pull the trigger and make it so. O’Reilly will give the Hawks a boni-fide second line center, PLUS and more importantly give them toughness and a physical prescence that we have bee missing since they let Byguilien go three years ago. This is something that this team lacks and will need when they head into the playoffs. PULL THE TRIGGER AND MAKE IT SO!!

  40. Dickie Dunn says:

    I’ve admitted I haven’t seen O’Reilly play much.

    Is he really “toughness and a physical prescence that we have been missing since they let Byguilien go”? PIM is *somewhat* of an indicator “toughness” – O’Reilly has 46 minutes in three seasons.

    Also, it was pointed out that he has 39 goals (68 assists) in those three seasons. He has led the Avs in takeaways during that time and his icetime is impressive.

    I certainly hope Bowman makes a deal to get O’Reilly, and I also LIKE Bolland, but have no problem if he’s included. I wouldn’t OVERpay – Teravainen, Saad, etc. – I’m sure the Hawks have several other assets from which to choose.

  41. Gou says:

    Tab/Brad, Even on an off day you provide a great topic for discussion.

    Just do it. You lock up the future for years at centre with proven Bonafide talent.

  42. Joe says:

    Brad you are right on!

    I believe you have to look at it this way. O’Reilly is precisely what the Hawks have been missing over the past 2 years. Yes, things are working out nicely so far this season, but this kid is a stud and we would be locking up two top quality centers for the next 10 years. In my view, it not only would put them over the top this year – for an even better shot at a Cup run – but could really set us up nicely for the next decade.

    So what prospects do you offer? ANY Prospect the Avs desire! As for Bolland – I love the guy too but realistically you have to give up something to get something and the fact is the Hawks would have a net gain that they would benefit from for a long time.

    These opportunities don’t come up often – opportunities where the downside risk of making the trade is virtually non-existant. With O’Reilly you pretty much know exactly what you’re getting. And the Hawks are arguably in the best position among all teams to take advantage of it. The only question I have is whether or not the Avs would consider trading within their conference – I am hearing they are talking to almost every Eastern Conference team.

  43. McKay says:

    That’s a good point about the 4 division alignment (which I think would be awesome btw – and can the NHL go to a 3-point win system at that point too?). Although I though the Players Association had killed it?

  44. EbonyRaptor says:

    I hate to belabor the point – but I posted a Capgeek roster earlier in this thread that showed a 22 man roster with only $39K left in cap space – AND – that roster had very optimistic, is not unrealisticly low salary resignings of Leddy and Stalberg. As much as I’d like the Hawks to acquire O’Reilly – even at the expense of Bolland and a top prospect or two – I don’t see how the math works to make it feasible – UNLESS Montador is kept on LTIR (no cap impact) and Frolik the other amnesty buyout (along with Olesz). If Frolik’s $2.33M salary is on the books – I don’t think the Hawks can make it work under the 2013/14 $64.3M cap.

  45. JoeyCollins says:

    I would love to see the hawks pursue this trade, but I do have a few reservations. Not too sure I like his dad taking to twitter to bash the team, sure it takes a lot of leverage from the Avs, but I hate when family has to get invovled publically. Also I’m not sure how he will play after holding out so far this season. I’d like to have seen him play live games just so we can be certain he is in hockey shape. That being said I love the idea of this trade on paper and I’m confident the FO will evaluate this to the full before pulling the trigger. If the FO thinks this kid can be a 2nd line center for the future, an upgrade this year, and not kill their cap flexabiliy they need to get this done.

  46. Tab Bamford says:

    @ EbonyRaptor: Thanks for coming back to remind us about the roster you posted. While I agree the roster would be a tight fit with Frolik on the roster, I wouldn’t assume the Hawks would carry Olsen for an entire season based on his performance in Rockford this year. Your roster showed the Hawks could fit a 22-man roster under the cap. The reality that we all need to start coping with is that one of Stalberg, Bickell and Frolik won’t be in Chicago next year. If one of them was the cost of adding a 2C like O’Reilly, that’s fine by me.

  47. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab, please help me out…

    As I’ve said, I haven’t seen O’Reilly play much. I’ve read “stud”, “toughness and a physical prescence that we have been missing…”, and “precisely what the Hawks have been missing over the past 2 years” used to describe him – is any of that accurate, relatively speaking? His offensive numbers – 39 goals / 68 assists in three seasons aren’t really much better than Dave Bolland’s 40 goals / 50 assists. But, his takeaways, faceoffs, and icetime are impressive, and I understand age/upside and Bolland’s injury history. We’ve also seen Bolland play shut-down defense in pressure situations and irritate select opponents off of their game occasionally. It seems that one-for-one, obviously this would be a significant upgrade. OK, it will take more than one-for-one — what I don’t unerstand is the feeling (expressed by a few “regualrs” here) that this deal must be made at ANY cost. Is he really worth it? You and I agree on some prospects who may be considered “untouchable” (Teravainen, et al) – the Hawks have pretty good depth (NOT Beach or Lalonde) who might fit Colorado’s needs.

    I have no idea who won’t be in Chicago next season, but I agree with you that if one of Stalberg, Bickell and Frolik has to be moved to improve the team, it’s all right. (If it were up to me, Stalberg – speed & some skill, then Bickell – when he hits/the Hawks don’t have too many XL guys, and then Frolik – good, consistent effort, but first to go of these three.)

    By the way, thank you – good topic/discussion. GO HAWKS!!

  48. EbonyRaptor says:

    Tab, I should have stated this earlier – I really enjoy your analyses. Keep’em coming.

    It seems like the norm, at least for the Hawks over the last few years, is to carry a 23 man roster. Whether that policy is a luxory easily cast aside by management is not known to me. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s say Hawks management decides to forfeit the 23rd roster spot in lieu of adding O’Reilly to the team. It seems very likely they would go with 13 forwards and 7 d-men. Assuming Leddy is resigned, the Hawks will have 6 d-men on the roster – 2/7/4/27/8 and Brookbank. The 7th d-man will need to be low salary for the aforementioned salary cap constraints – whether that is Olsen or some other barely NHL quality d-man. That means the d-corps will likely be a notch below this season – the difference between Roszival and the 7th d-man. That in and of itself may not be a big deal – but it’s a factor.

    As for the forwards, if Bolland and Stalberg go and are replaced by O’Reilly … I’m not convinced that is a net gain because Stalberg is a key to the 3rd line depth the Hawks have. If, on the other hand, Bolland and Frolik go and are replaced by O’Reilly … it would be a net gain in salary cap space and replacing Frolik on the 4th line would be far less difficult than replacing Stalberg on the 3rd line, AND, O’Reilly provides PK coverage to more than offset the loss of Frolik on the PK.

    So Stan’s marching orders are simple – trade Bolland, trade Frolik, acquire O’Reilly.

    That can’t be too difficult, can it?

  49. McKay says:

    @dickie Main difference in stats (Bolland actually had less games played over 3-seasons) is a combination of when Bolly played in his career as well as where he played. 2009-10 is Bolland’s 4th year as a pro and is the Cup year / #2 in the West (Bolland actually misses most of that year with, if I remember correctly, broken hand & concussion?).

    2010-11 Hawks squeak into playoffs with 95 points while Colorado finishes a 2nd West worst 68 points.

    2010-12 Hawks finish with 101 points / 6 seed while Avs finish with 88 points / no seed.

    The $5M question is (to Wall’s point), can O’Reilly crush a Kane dish like Sharp, Hossa, Toews, and Bolland can?

  50. Brad Stevenson says:

    Frolik is the salary that would be moved to make room for OR next season…Frolik has become a serviceable player in Chicago, but he is also duplicated by a lot of our young players. Once his salary is gone, the Hawks have room to resign Bicks, Leddy and Stahlberg!

    As yes Dickie, OR has the hands to finish…don’t worry about that…the kid can score!

  51. Tab Bamford says:

    A few thoughts on the great comments that continue coming in here:

    re: a 23-man roster – the Hawks were barely able to afford 20-21 men on their roster in 2010-11 (remember the Leddy Shuttle to/from Rockford?). I don’t advocate getting that close to the cap, but it’s only been one full season of relative cap flexibility for the Hawks. Indeed, if you look at the Blackhawks’ roster right now, they’re carrying 24 (w/ Carcillo injured) but, if we’re honest, do they need to have Bollig w/ them? If you’re going to carry a 13th or 14th forward that could/should be in Rockford, let him actually be there and only call him if/when he’s needed.

    to continue that thought but moving to the 7th defenseman discussion, a guy like Ryan Stanton could fill the affordable role at the NHL level just as well (better?) than Olsen for $2-300k less against the cap. Every penny counts, but Olsen might have more value to Colorado (remember: I proposed including him in the deal)

    re: Frolik – he might actually be doing the Blackhawks an enormous favor right now by playing so well on the PK. His cap number isn’t ridiculous, and there could be teams looking for either a way to get to the floor or a defensive specialist that would have interest in him.

    re: next year’s new paper – the way Quenneville is using his roster might actually help the organization long-term as well. If Frolik’s increased exposure is helping his value, a diminished role for Leddy (read: he’s now a 3rd-pair defenseman) can only make him more affordable. If he was still a 22-minute-per-night guy at 22-years-old, he might be looking at a bigger payday than a 15-17 min/gm PP specialist coming off an ELC. Worth keeping in mind…

    I like McKay’s comments @dickie re: Bolland benefiting from circumstances (though Bolland was out after back surgery – same as Spezza had recently). As I said in an earlier post, Bolland has only played in roughly 71% of the Hawks games over the last 3 full regular seasons, so an honest discussion must include the health factor. He’s a good player, but getting someone who is younger improves the likelihood that he’s on the ice for 80 games each season.

  52. EbonyRaptor says:

    Well then, it appears we have consensus: Bolland out, Frolik out, O’Reilly in.

    Get the memo to Stan and make sure he get’s this done before another GM beats him to the punch. :)

  53. Tab Bamford says:

    TSN’s Scott Cullen threw a few teams (and names of potential players) around in an O’Reilly-centric post this afternoon.

    http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/story/?id=416077

  54. Peter says:

    Thanks for the update Tab:
    Anyway the Avs do Shaw, McNeill, and Olsen…I love Shaw, but keeping Bolland this year and next…this deal will never happen because I am too excited about it, but damn I can’t imagine keeping Bolland and getting a 2nd Line Center.

  55. Daniel says:

    They don’t want another Center. They actually believe Matt Duchene is all they need and Stasney fills the seats as a DU alum. They need Wings and D-men that are cheap. Stahlberg or Oduya is what Kronke will approve. Greg Sheman is an idiot so he will ask for Saad, Clendening, or Teravinen to be attached. He will probably also as for a first round draft pick. Basically, him and Howsen will do business if Ken Holland and Yzerman don’t rape him for a second year in a row.

  56. shamrock says:

    While I like the idea of acquiring O’Reilly, do the Hawks really have the players it would take to make this trade? Bollad seems to be the centerpiece to this trade and I dont see Bolland as that attractive of a player so he is going to have to be paired with another. And just how much are you willing to give up to land O’Reilly? My feeling is the Hawks would have to give up four players, 2 being rostered players and 2 high prospects. Bolland being one and Stahlburg, Bickel, Forlik, Carcillo or Saad being the others plus your throwing in either McNeill, Danault, one of the Hayes brothers, Clendening, or Pirri. Unfortuanetly I dont think any combination of Bolland with the previously mentioned players is particularly exciting to the Avs . But Saad and Bolland would be the 2 that I think the Avs would pursue. As for the prospects I admit I dont know the Hawks prospects other then what Tab writes so I am not sure just how they fit into the Hawks future. But none of them ( particularly Pirri) were able to step up and take a roster spot. Specifically a center position. So how attractive are they really to the Avs? So the Avs may want 3 rostered players and 1 prospect. So again I ask is O’ Reilly worth 4 or 5 players?

  57. the greek says:

    Let’s not be so quick to get rid of Bolland guys. He brings alot more to the roster than we give him credit for. Admittedly, unless he improves his FO percentage (which was ok last night) he would be better off as 3C instead of 2C , especially if we were to land a player of OR’s abilities. Shamrock, I would say to you that I would indeed, at this point, think of giving up 4 players maybe… Of course my 4 wouldn’t be the 4 they would want, lol… I would love to unload Carcillo, Bickell, Pirri (never will find a spot on this roster as a center), Olsen (disappointment), trusting what Tab and others are saying about OR, havent really watched him that much, to be honest. The more I read, however, looks like they want to move him out east. The Hawks would be unstoppable for years to come with this guy on the roster .

  58. Bannerman says:

    A lot can change between now and the end of the season but it would seem like the Hawks may have to choose between keeping Bolland or 2 of the other players that will need new contracts. What they do will depend a lot on how well Bolland plays on the 2nd line or if he gets moved back to the 3rd.

    In so far as the trades mentioned, I think perhaps Stahlberg may be undervalued. For all his faults, he was a 20 goal scorer that didn’t get a lot of PP time. If I’m the Avs, I need ready to go players as well as future stars for OR.

    Hawks send Stahlberg, Pirri and Teravinen. Bolland moves back to the 3rd line, Shaw replaces Stals on the wing and can take draws for Bolland if necessary. The Avs get a replacement for the guy they traded, a wing with speed who could also score more on a top line and a player that could be the 2nd coming of Patrick Kane. That would be a pretty good haul for the Avs.

    It’s also an easy sell for Hawks fans since it solves the 2nd line center problem at the expense of a guy that wasn’t on the Cup team and some prospects that may or may not pan out.

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