Author: Mike Halford

Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche

Trade: Buffalo keeps dealing, acquires O’Reilly from Colorado


SUNRISE — The big trades haven’t stopped at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, as the Colorado Avalanche have sent talented young center Ryan O’Reilly and forward Jamie McGinn to Buffalo.

In exchange, the Avalanche receive Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and the 31st overall selection. The move reunites Grigorenko with Avs head coach Patrick Roy, who was his coach in the Quebec junior league, and gives Colorado a much-needed blueline prospect (Zadorov) and an intriguing youngster in Compher, who has impressed at the University of Michigan.

The key to the deal, though, is O’Reilly, one of the best young two-way centers in the league. He arrives in Buffalo after some acrimonious contract negotiations with the Avs, which included a contract holdout and signing an offer sheet with Calgary during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.

As a result of Colorado matching that offer sheet, O’Reilly’s heading into the last of a two-year, $12 million deal with a $6M average annual cap hit. There have been rumblings around him for the last few days, which intensified on Thursday when the Avs acquired the draft rights to center Carl Soderberg from Boston, then signed him to a five-year extension — believed by many as a move to replace O’Reilly down the middle.

Where O’Reilly fits in Buffalo remains to be seen.

He’s flipped between the middle and wing throughout his career, and could be headed back outside again with the likes of centers Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart in the mix.

O’Reilly had 17 goals and 55 points in 82 games last year, down slightly from a banner ’13-14 campaign in which he posted career-highs in goals (28) and points (64).

This is the second significant deal of the day for Sabres GM Tim Murray. Earlier, he acquired goalie Robin Lehner and forward David Legwand from Ottawa in exchange for the 21st pick at the draft.

Though the O’Reilly trade is in the books, Murray’s work isn’t done. He’ll need to get to work on a contract extension, as O’Reilly needs a new deal at season’s end.

After Lucic trade, Kings forced to let Sekera walk

Andrej Sekera

Teams looking at free agent defensemen should be pleased to hear this news — following Friday’s pre-draft acquisition of Milan Lucic, Kings GM Dean Lombardi announced the team wouldn’t be signing d-man Andrej Sekera to a contract extension.

The news, reported by ESPN, comes after L.A. expressed major interest in bringing the 29-year-old back. Sekera was acquired at the deadline from Carolina and impressed in a limited body of work; he only appeared in 16 games for the Kings before suffering a season-ending knee injury in late March.

Any chance the Kings had of retaining Sekera went out the window after inheriting Lucic’s $6 million cap hit, even with Boston picking up $2.7M of it.

Sekera will undoubtedly garner interest on the open market. Colorado has already expressed an interest in adding a left-handed defensemen and Sekera, who scored a career-high 44 points in ’13-14, would certainly fit the bill.

Just don’t expect him to come cheap. The UFA defenseman market is thin and Sekera will be one of the best available, almost certain to get a big raise from the $2.75 million he made annually on his last deal.

Report: Rangers won’t re-sign St. Louis

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four

The Martin St. Louis era in New York is apparently over.

Per the Post, the Rangers won’t be bringing back the 40-year-old veteran for a third season with the club. The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise — the Rangers don’t have a ton of financial wiggle room with new deals still needed for Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast — but the development is still noteworthy, given what GM Glen Sather paid to acquire St. Louis and all that happened during his time as a Blueshirt.

New York advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis’ first year with the club, then came within one game of getting back this season. While the veteran winger’s production dropped in 2014-15 — 52 points was his lowest total in over 10 years — St. Louis still managed to score 20 goals during the regular season and, given the Post’s report that he’s not ready to retire, there could be suitors for him in free agency.

Acquired at the ’14 deadline in exchange for Ryan Callahan and a first-round pick, St. Louis will finish his time in New York with 60 points in 93 games, and 22 points in 44 playoff appearances.