Reaction: Ryan O’Reilly & Jamie McGinn Traded to Buffalo Sabres


The Colorado Avalanche traded center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres for forward Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov, prospect JT Comphor and the 31st overall pick.

This is not a surprise. For half of his young career O’Reilly has been the center of trade rumors. Ryan O’Reilly was a sleeper pick for the Colorado Avalanche in 2009, having gone #33. However, his history of contractual disputes with the team put him right in the center of trade talk not once, not twice, but three times.

Mikhail Grigorenko is a good-sized forward at 6-foot-1, 201 pounds. Last season he played just 25 games with the Buffalo Sabres and earned three goals and three assists. While those are not outstanding numbers, Grigorenko is an offensive center with good puck handling skills. His smooth skating allows him to make his way past defenders. Just 21 years old, Mikhail Grigorenko has a lot of upside.

Mikhail Grigorenko bends it like Peter Forsberg:

Nikita Zadorov is even younger — 20 years old — and even bigger — 6-foot-5, 228 pounds. A left-shooting defenseman, Zadarov may be just what the Colorado Avalanche needed. He’s a bit of a brute with a wicked physical game. More of a stay-at-home defenseman, at the very least Nikita Zadorov will be an improvement over Nate Guenin as a partner for defenseman Tyson Barrie.

We’re looking forward to Nikita Zadorov’s doing this

in defense of

Matt Duchene

from now on:

The Colorado Avalanche also acquired center JT Compher, Buffalo’s second-round pick from 2013. Compher is small — 5-foot-10, 184 pounds. He’s also described as an “energy player” and a “fierce competitor” by

Hockey’s Future

. JT Compher is also gritty and can produce some goals with some regularity. Compher represented Team USA in the 2015 World Junior Championship.

JT Compher in action:

Colorado also acquired the #31 selection.

Reaction to the Trade

I’m sorry to see Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn go. They were both excellent for the Colorado Avalanche as players.

In 427 games O’Reilly scored 90 goals and earned 156 assists for the Colorado Avalanche. He played 13 playoff games, scoring three goals and four assists. He won the Lady Byng Trophy last season. This is the first time Ryan O’Reilly has been traded.

Jamie McGinn has played 162 games for the Colorado Avalanche, having scored 79 points. Jamie McGinn spent some time on a top line with Matt Duchene, though he was more a third-line forward. McGinn previously played four seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

The Avalanche were never going to be able to sign Ryan O’Reilly to the type of contract he wanted — reported $7.5 million yearly for eight years. I’m glad they didn’t push it to overpay him. Will the Buffalo Sabres offer him that kind of money? We’ll see.

Jamie McGinn was finding it hard to stay healthy. He was recovering from a shoulder injury last summer that kept him out of the preseason. Not long into the regular season McGinn got injured again. He underwent shoulder surgery, meaning he missed the majority of the year. He has a wicked one-timer, but you have to be healthy to use it.

As far as the newbies, they’re from the East Coast, so I’m not used to watching them. They’re both young and big — I like that. I like that they both have talent and seem suited to their roles. Along with the acquisition of Carl Soderberg from the Boston Bruins, the Avalanche roster is starting to take shape.

Next: Analyzing the Carl Soderberg Acquisition

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