Buffalo Sabres: Ryan O’Reilly knows he could be moved

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Nick Holden
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Nick Holden /

Ryan O’Reilly acknowledges there’s a very good chance the Buffalo Sabres will attempt to move him during the offseason.

In the leadup to the trade deadline, the belief was any player not named Jack Eichel was a possibility to be moved – even Ryan O’Reilly. However, we never truly believed the Buffalo Sabres would trade him.

Apart from the fact the Sabres had no genuine in-house replacement for O’Reilly, why would you want to move him? Along with Eichel, he gives the team one of the very best top-six center pairings in the NHL.

In addition, as pointed out by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, when top-rated prospect Casey Mittelstadt is ready, he will surely benefit more by learning from Eichel and O’Reilly. In theory, the latter should be around for the remainder of his contract, which has another five years to run after this season.

And yet, there are never really any guarantees in NHL, (or professional sports in general). Further, no matter how good the one-two center punch is for the Sabres, there is no getting away from the fact they are yet again one of the worst teams in the league.

As such, there is as genuine possibility O’Reilly could still be moved. He acknowledged as much recently, as reported by WGR 550‘s Paul Hamilton:

"“It’s very likely, but it’s out of my control,” said O’Reilly. “I want to be here, but it is a business and when things don’t work, adjustments are made, but personally, I want to be part of it, I want to be part of the solution.”More from Buffalo SabresBuffalo Sabres and Victor Olofsson making progress on contract extensionBuffalo Sabres still need goaltender help despite re-signing AndersonBuffalo Sabres: Time to close book on the Jack Eichel chapterBuffalo Sabres receiving interest in members of defensive coreBuffalo Sabres focused on youth during another disastrous season"

It’s understandable why many cannot comprehend the thought of the Sabres moving a quality two-way player, who provides excellent leadership. And yet, as Hamilton notes, general manager Jason Botterill has no loyalty to someone who didn’t bring in himself.

You could even make the argument O’Reilly’s long-term deal is a commitment Botterill could do without. With this said, the 2016 All-Star knows he has to convince the GM he is worth keeping:

"“We have to prove to this organization and this city that we can change things here. I want to be a part of it.”"

O’Reilly led the team in scoring his first campaign, finished just two points behind Eichel last year and is second on the team yet again this season. Combined with his superior work-ethic, you know he will make a very good case for remaining in Buffalo for the foreseeable future.

Whether this becomes a reality is another thing altogether, especially with a player of O’Reilly’s calibre. The winds of change are coming in Western New York and fans wait to see if the 27-year-old will be swept away, as the team once again tries to rebuild towards a more positive future.

Next: Lehner denies asking for a trade

Do you believe O’Reilly will be gone before next season starts? In that respect, do you actually want the Buffalo Sabres to move him? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.