New Jersey Devils 2015 First Round Pick: Who’s Worth Trading It For?

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Ryan O’Reilly

by Nick Varney

When pondering whether or not to deal a first round draft pick there are a couple of factors that play a big part. The age, ability and contract of the potential incoming player and where in the draft order the pick could fall. There’s no doubt a player of Ryan O’Reilly‘s standard would instantly find themselves on New Jersey’s top line.

Here lie the issues surrounding any move an NHL club would make for the 39 point forward. He is headed toward UFA status in 2016 and we’ve been burned all too recently to contemplate the risk of that happening again. His current cap hit is $6M and he wants more. O’Reilly has a tendency of holding out when his contract is up and the next time is the first time he holds all the cards, the ball is in his court. It would take tremendous cojones to pull the trigger on a deal. But when taking into account his want away attitude toward the Avalanche and them not wanting him to leave for nothing a trade could be cheaper than say a trade for a guy like James van Riemsdyk or Nino Niederreiter.

Ryan O’Reilly is a 24-year-old with a very bright future. He only notched a mere 26 points in each of his rookie and sophomore seasons in Colorado and then over the last three and a half seasons has a 1.4 PPG average. In 2013-14 he enjoyed his most dominant season scoring 64 points in 80 games followed up with 6 points in the Avalanche’s seven game playoff elimination against the Minnesota Wild. At the same time that he finished as the team’s 3rd top point scorer behind Matt Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog, he finished with just two penalty minutes – the sole blemish on his record being that he played the puck with a broken stick.

Despite the risk involved in the potential of what would be given up to acquire a player of this caliber, I believe O’Reilly is exactly what this Devils team needs. He scores points, wins 52.9% of his faceoffs, doesn’t have knack for taking stupid penalties, and more importantly he is putting up these kind of numbers for a team he doesn’t want to play for. I’ll mention his age again, he’s only just turned 24. He could find a sense of renewal in Jersey. Along with Adam Henrique there would be potential for a great pair of top two centers; just so long he signs with the Devils before July 1st 2016.

Next: How About Moving Up In The Draft?