Heading to free agency, Ryan O’Reilly was one of the most notable unrestricted free agents (UFAs). Now, the veteran center has found his home as he signed a four-year, $18 million contract with the Nashville Predators.
O’Reilly struggled with the St. Louis Blues the previous season and posted 12 goals and 19 points in 40 games played. However, he became hot again after being dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs, as he had four goals to go along with 11 points in 13 regular season games. He also made an impact during the postseason, recording nine points in 11 contests. Needless to say, the 32-year-old can still be a remarkable difference-maker, and he’ll be looking to make a bigger impact now with the Predators.
O’Reilly’s fit with the Predators
Although O’Reilly’s production was down significantly with the Blues, he showed with the Maple Leafs that he could still produce very well. As a result, he will definitely be in the running to get top six minutes with the Predators. He also offers extreme versatility, so he can play either in the center or on the left wing. Therefore, he should have no trouble fitting into Nashville’s lineup.
O’Reilly will also be a key asset to the Predator’s penalty kill unit. Over the course of his 14-year career, he has emerged as an outstanding two-way forward, and because of that he has emerged defensively. Furthermore, his aggressive instincts and play-making ability will surely result in him getting power-play time as well.
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Essentially, at this point in his career, O’Reilly could fit anywhere in the club’s middle six. His scoring ability, strong all-around game and immense work ethic make him a major contributor to the roster of…
O’Reilly brings experience and leadership to the Predators
As mentioned above, O’Reilly has 14 years of NHL experience on his resume. During that span, he appeared in 991 career NHL games, where he posted 256 goals, 446 assists, and 702 points. Overall, he’s had a great career, but his success goes far beyond the statistics. The Ontario native has had an array of personal achievements. He is a three-time All-Star, Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner (2014), Conn Smith winner (2019), Selke Trophy winner (2019), and of course has a Stanley Cup in his resume. Needless to say, he has a lot of experience and has found great success in the process.
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A player who has had so much individual success should have a big impact on the Predators. It is also important to note that he is a brilliant leader, and this is the reason why he became the captain of the Blues during the last years of his tenure.
Overall, this signing has the potential to be very positive for hunters. O’Reilly has shown throughout his career that he can make a huge impact when at his best, and is widely regarded as one of the top leaders in the game. It will be interesting to see if his presence can help the Predators, especially when it comes to the postseason.