BLUES BRING IN O'REILLY IN BLOCKBUSTER DEAL
The St. Louis Blues acquired center Ryan O'Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres for winger Tage Thompson, forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund, a first-round draft pick in 2019 and a second-round draft pick in 2021.
What does it give the St. Louis Blues
This is a massive deal for both teams. For St. Louis, the club now has terrific center depth with the multi-faceted O'Reilly joining Brayden Schenn and free-agent arrival Tyler Bozak. O'Reilly will play in all game situations and provide hard minutes for his new team. The Blues gave up a ton to land O'Reilly, but they are clearly playing for the here and now. The team needs more depth on the wings, now.
What does it give the Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo did not have to trade O'Reilly, but this package was too good to pass up. The key to the deal is probably power forward Thompson, who could be an ideal winger for wunderkind center Jack Eichel. The Sabres also receive the Blues' first rounder next year and a second rounder in '21, two quality assets for the future. To replace O'Reilly's minutes at center, Sobotka and Berglund should help in the short term.
O'Reilly's fantasy value stays the same because he will play the same role in St. Louis (he does it all). Thompson's fantasy stock could be rising quickly if he is paired with Eichel right away. Or, he may play with rookie Casey Mittelstadt. Either way, Thompson is a breakthrough candidate for 2018-19. Sobotka's fantasy value is limited, while Berglund's stock has all but disappeared in recent years.