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How Ryan O'Reilly Can Help The Avs

Ryan O'Reilly is a key cog on this team, but he is absolutely going to UFA and his value won't be as high next season. The biggest thing he might bring in return? Cap relief.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan O'Reilly is one of the Avs best and unluckiest forwards.  Unfortunately, he has a PDO of 94.3, six plus points less than his PDO last season.  He also is earning $6 million in salary this season.  With the cap issues that have cropped up due to bad extensions and injuries, this figure lends itself very easily to a trade.

Because ROR has such a bad PDO, his lack of production likely won't be an issue.  Teams are all aboard the advanced stats bandwagon, and The Avs would be wise to play down his raw numbers.  Teams also know his track record, and how he looks on tape, so the market value hasn't fallen quite as much as some people have feared.

The biggest issue is his agent.  Newport Sports is gaining a reputation as a nickel and dime organization, and furthermore Ryan has shown he is willing to be stubborn.  As of right now teams likely do not see him as a rental player per se, but the general consensus has to be he is going to test the market rather than sign a long term deal early.  Based on his perceived allegiance, or lack there of, teams may feel skiddish about giving up prospects, and their cheap years, for Ryan O'Reilly.  This is doubly true after Stastny and Spezza both signed huge UFA deals, and Toews signed an even bigger extension in the last calendar year.

Also troubling is O'Reilly's shoulder.  He hurt it in a post goal hug last season, and needed surgery over the summer.  Teams may blame his decline in numbers (as well as his two, TWO early penalties) on a lingering injury.  While this probably won't hurt interest, it will almost certainly affect return.

Speaking of return, trade rumors have been swirling around O'Reilly since the lockout/holdout.  Ryan will be able to bring a pretty sizable return (especially paired with someone like Elliot or Sgarbossa), and the Avs have plenty of holes to fill.  O'Reilly's departure will undoubtedly leave another hole, but one more easily filled than say top six defenseman.  The Avs are in a position to take on an inexperienced player, as they aren't quite in win now mode, unlike a St. Louis or a Pittsburgh, so don't be surprised when ROR proves more beneficial at first than his trade counterpart.

It's pretty much pointless to guess who will be brought in by this front office in a trade.  Nobody had Briere, Stuart, or Berra on their potential radar, but we know that Edmonton seems like a potential partner if nothing else.  Other than that teams that could use Factor include... pretty much every NHL team.  So looking at ability to eat contract and free up cap room for call-ups is the key.  Smart cap teams are able to move pieces around when a player like this becomes available.  While The Islanders don't immediately come to mind, they do have the ability to take on O'Reilly and could really take the next step if they added a solid center to the second line.  They also have shown they are willing to part with first rounders, and they have some organizational depth that Garth Snow would probably not be too terribly attached to.

So will Factor be moved?  Signs point to yes.  It is better to move him now while his price tag is a little steeper, despite how badly his initial departure would hurt The Avs.  Especially now that Johnson has gone down and Stuart has gone to IR, it seems like defense is somehow going to continue to regress.  So holding on to ROR hoping he can be an important piece next year won't lead to anything more than Stastny round two.  Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see if Sakic and Roy can prove more shrewd than in deals past.