Ryan O’Reilly Trade Rumors: Carolina Hurricanes A Good Fit?


The past few weeks have been all about Ryan O’Reilly trade rumors for the Colorado Avalanche. According to Avs GM Joe Sakic, the team would like to get a deal done with O’Reilly before the new season starts. A deal in this case refers to a contract extension, not a trade.

However, the O’Reilly trade rumors have not stopped and likely will not stop until an agreement has been reached between player and team. As of now, I would say that there is a fifty-fifty chance of O’Reilly being shipped to a different team. Perhaps — and hopefully if it happens at all — it will even happen by draft day.

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There have been many teams mentioned when talking about possible destinations for O’Reilly, while one team hasn’t really gotten a lot of attention yet — the Carolina Hurricanes. The No. 1 reason for that is that the only possible trade target in Carolina seemed to be captain and star player Eric Staal, who may be too expensive and unwilling to waive his no trade clause.

It has to be noted that Staal isn’t the only possible target and it isn’t his brother Jared either. The player I am talking about is 24-year-old wing Jeff Skinner. Skinner is on TSN writer Frank Seravalli’s trade bait board and could be dealt on draft day.

Skinner was selected by the Hurricanes seventh overall in the 2010 draft and has been with the NHL team ever since. In his 2010-11 NHL rookie season, Skinner scored 31 goals and added 32 assists in 82 games — outstanding numbers for an NHL rookie, especially considering that he made the jump from junior right in his draft year. Of course, Skinner won the Calder Memorial Trophy that year.

Jeff Skinner is a speedy winger that could help the Avalanche get their scoring up. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

His production never really slowed down, if you don’t take the lockout season into account, until the 2014-15 campaign, where Skinner only scored 18 goals and recorded 31 points in 77 games, while being a minus-24. Not the greatest stats, especially considering that I am trying to form a trade around this guy and our very own Ryan O’Reilly.

What needs to be noted, whenever we talk about O’Reilly trade rumors, is that it will be extremely hard to move O’Reilly with the uncertainty in his contract. Nobody would trade a valuable asset away for him, just to see him walk away in free agency — which is exactly why the Avalanche want to have everything sorted out as soon as possible. Skinner is locked up through the 2018-19 season at a cap hit of $5.725 million.

Skinner is obviously less gifted defensively than O’Reilly is. It shows in his minus-24 stat — the only time he was a plus was in his rookie season — and it shows when you watch him play. He is a pure goal scorer.

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However, being less gifted defensively than O’Reilly does not mean that he is horrible defensively. He does a decent job in his own zone and on the backcheck, but isn’t as much of a two-way guy.

So why would one trade O’Reilly for Skinner? Well, as I said, the contract plays a big part in it. Furthermore, if O’Reilly leaves, there will be a huge hole in the Avalanche’s top-six that Skinner would be able to fill. If MacKinnon moved into the No. 2 center spot, Skinner could join him on the wing, with Gabriel Landeskog completing a highly dangerous line.

Even considering that Skinner’s contract situation is not ideal, a straight-up trade would likely not be considered fair. If the right pieces are added to sweeten the deal, the Avalanche may be able to swap their tenth overall pick in this year’s draft for Carolina’s fifth pick and add Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin or one of Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner to the system. Other pieces could be considered as well.

Ryan O’Reilly trade rumors are the No. 1 topic in Colorado right now and they will not stop until a decision is made. Jeff Skinner could be a target and a trade would improve the Avalanche’s situation going forward.

What do you think — should the Avalanche target Jeff Skinner? Let us know in the comment section!

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