It seems the talk of a Ryan O'Reilly trade by the Colorado Avalanche continues to pick up steam.
Monday, HNGN passed along a report that Avalanche GM Joe Sakic had made O'Reilly, recognized as one of the best two-way players in the NHL, available and was seeking a top-tier defenseman in return.
Tuesday, TSN NHL insider Bob McKenzie furthered the O'Reilly trade speculation.
"I think the Avs are starting to take some talk on him, but again, I think it's more to gauge the marketplace than a firm commitment that they're absolutely trading him. I think it's more likely O'Reilly will be traded at some point here than - yeah, more likely than not likely he'll be traded. But at the same time, it will depend on what the deal is and the financial negotiations that go on with any contract," McKenzie said while appearing on Vancouver's TSN 1040, via TodaysSlapShot.com.
"So like I said - if I were a betting man, I'd say Ryan O'Reilly is more likely to be traded, but it's not a 100 percent slam dunk that it will happen before the draft or at all."
O'Reilly holds great value for the Avalanche as a tough, gritty-but-talented first or second line center, but his contract status makes his NHL future cloudy.
O'Reilly just finished the first year of a two-year bridge deal that carries a $6 million annual value. Negotiations between Sakic, the rest of the Avalanche brass and O'Reilly's representatives were reportedly contentious prior to the signing of the two-year deal and talks are likely only to get worse now that the still-young center looks to cash in on a contract with term.
Still, the continued talk of his moving elsewhere and McKenzie's assertion that it's "more likely than not" that he gets traded, makes the proposition of O'Reilly sticking around in Colorado through the offseason unlikely.