There is definitely something brewing between the Rangers and the Avalanche. Since October, there have been reports of Blueshirt scouts attending Colorado games, however, those visits have apparently become more frequent as Adrian Dater at the Denver Post reports that Rangers scouts have been sighted on numerous occasions over the last few weeks (here, here & here).
There have also been rumors of the Avalanche's interest in Michael Del Zotto (here & here) during their on-going search for a puck moving defenseman, as well as Glen Sather possibly reaching out to Colorado GM Joe Sakic on the availability of Tyson Barrie.
Now, during a live chat, Katie Strang of ESPN.com says that the Avalanche could dangle Ryan O'Reilly at the trade deadline if/when they re-sign fellow Colorado forward Paul Stastny, who is a UFA at the end of the season. She adds that the Rangers have shown interest in O'Reilly previously and with the Avalanche in need of a defenseman, there might be a fit there as the Blueshirts could be willing to move Michael Del Zotto or Dan Girardi to obtain the 22-year old.
O'Reilly is in the final season of his contract that pays him $5 million this year. He'll become a RFA at the end of the year. In 43 games this season, O'Reilly has 16g, 14a, including two goals last night.
…O'Reilly is a talented two-way forward, who can play both center and wing. While he's been on the wing this season for Colorado, he could automatically become the Rangers #1 center almost by default. He has a very similar two-way game as Stepan and, besides being a damn good hockey player, does the little things to help teams win. He'd be very much welcomed on this Rangers roster.
…with the way Derek Stepan has been struggling, I'd absolutely make this trade in a second if it only costs Del Zottto. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the Avalanche are going to want a little more than just the embattled defenseman for a young up-and-coming center in O'Reilly. I'd think JT Miller could be an additional piece in a trade for those two.
…as far as an O'Reilly/Girardi trade, obviously I'd do it if the Rangers felt they couldn't re-sign the veteran defenseman, but trading him would leave a huge gaping hole on defense meaning players such as Del Zotto, Moore and even Falk will be given more responsibilities which may not be a good thing. I'd lean towards still making the deal, but more on the fence with this one.
Continue reading for more rumors.
Meanwhile, in other Rangers/Avalanche rumors, Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun expects the Rangers to go after Stastny hard if he makes it to free agency this summer.
…the Rangers will have a ton of money freed up this offseason (Richards buyout?), so, if Stastny is a free agent, definitely expect him to become the latest NHLer to be grossly overpaid and then under achieve as a Blueshirt.