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Should the Winnipeg Jets attempt to acquire Ryan O'Reilly?

If you were Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, would you meet the suggested asking price of a roster player and a top prospect for disgruntled RFA holdout Ryan O'Reilly or send a lucrative offer-sheet that costs valuable draft picks?

Would the Winnipeg Jets consider moving substantial assets in order to acquire Ryan O'Reilly?
Would the Winnipeg Jets consider moving substantial assets in order to acquire Ryan O'Reilly?
Ezra Shaw

The Winnipeg Jets were a disappointment last night, and it wasn't just because they lost 3-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite dominating the Fenwick Stats on another evening, the team was unable to turn their chances into goals, but it also looked like the team was just dragging it yesterday. Well, some players more than others (I'm looking at you, Antropov)...

And it got me to thinking. This current Jets teams has its fair share of talent, but it also has its fair share of holes. The talent up front appears to be on the wings, as Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd are legit top-6 wingers, and I'd throw Bryan Little into that category when he lines up on a wing as well. But what seems to hurt the Jets is their lack of depth of the middle.

Olli Jokinen was signed to a two-year deal this past off-season and is a legit top-6 center, though it's debatable if he's a top-line center at this time. But after that? Coach Noel has tried Little, Nik Antropov, and Alexander Burmistrov to varying degrees of success, but the fact that Noel keeps moving bodies around makes me wonder if he's still looking for that second top-6 center.

The hope around these parts is that Mark Scheifele will eventually claim that spot, but it'll be tough for him to do from Barrie. Will he be ready to take that spot next year? I'm not sure, as I still think that he'd benefit from some sheltered minutes on a third line. And if Scheifele isn't ready for prime-time top-6 duty until 2014-15 season, it's likely that Jokinen will be gone by then.

In my humble opinion, we could certainly use a top-6 center that is young, hard to play against and can score. I wonder how many teams are looking to trade that type of player away...

Wait a second. What is that, Insider Trading on TSN last night?

Ryan O'Reilly? A 22-year-old center who led the Colorado Avalanche in scoring last season? Who had the second best Corsi numbers while facing the second-toughest QualComp on the team? Hmmm....

Ryan O`Reilly

#37 / Center / Colorado Avalanche



Feb 07, 1991

GP G A P +/- PIM CorsiRelQoC CorsiOn PDO
18 37 55 -1 12 0.891 11.98 986

These numbers are very impressive, as the quality of competition he played was very high, as were his possession numbers, but he was also able to produce offense while not taking many penalties. And his PDO suggests that he wasn't operating at an unsustainable level, as he was actually due for a bit more luck to go his way. And he did this as a 21-year-old.

Could you imagine a Scheifele-O'Reilly combo up the middle for the next 6-10 years?

But before we get ahead of ourselves, a few issues are obviously standing in the way of such a move:

  • The asking price for O'Reilly, as indicated in the tweet above from Darren Dreger, is a roster player and a top prospect. Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are obviously off-limits, so what kind of "top-prospect" would Colorado look for?
  • O'Reilly was a top-6 forward on the Avalanche, so they'd probably be looking for one in return, or at least somebody who could potentially get there. Who on the Jets roster would another franchise covet? Bryan Little? Alex Burmistrov?
  • O'Reilly is still an RFA at this time, so he does control his own destiny as no team would trade for him if they weren't able to come to terms with him prior to pulling the trigger. Would he be willing to come to Winnipeg?
  • Would it make more sense to sign him to an Offer Sheet? Our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets have a great piece about Why The Maple Leafs Should Offer Sheet Ryan O'Reilly, and they think that giving up a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd might be worth it to get a young pivot who drives possession and can add offense. Is that too high of a price to pay? It does appear that O'Reilly has played his last game as a member of the Avalanche, so I don't see them matching an offer.
  • The Avalanche would likely want to move him to the Eastern Conference, but with realignment likely to occur soon and the Jets likely to return to the West, would Colorado risk moving him to a team that they'd need to face numerous times a year going forward?
  • O'Reilly has only put one good year of good offensive numbers on the board. Is it too much of a gamble to assume that it wasn't a one-time thing?

So answer me this, Jets fans. Is Ryan O'Reilly a player that you would consider moving substantial assets to obtain, assuming that we would be able to lock him up long-term? Would you be okay if the Jets had to move Alex Burmistrov to do it? Or Bryan Little? What about Paul Postma? Or Scott Kosmachuk? Adam Lowry? Or would you send an offer-sheet that would cost the franchise a bunch of valuable draft picks?

Or do we stand pat, stick with what we have and see what future brings? To be honest, I'm not sure myself. But if Chevy is looking to make a mark on this franchise with a bold move, this is one that I would consider if I were him.

Let us know what you think in the comments section!