Can the Avalanche find a Ryan O'Reilly replacement?
When the Colorado Avalanche sent Ryan O'Reilly to the Buffalo Sabres, that was in no way, shape or form an insignificant loss.
O'Reilly finished with 38 assists and 55 points last season, good for second and third, respectively, on the Avalanche.
Colorado wanted to keep O'Reilly on the team, but according to G.M. Joe Sakic, the Avalanche simply couldn't meet O'Reilly's contract demands. O'Reilly would end up signing a contract extension with the Sabres, which will pay him $52.5 million over seven years.
In return on the O'Reilly deal, the Avalanche received defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and J.T. Compher and the 31st overall pick in this year's draft. All are young, promising players, but none of them can immediately step in and replace O'Reilly's production.
One player who may be able to step in right away and replace his production is Carl Soderberg, who is penciled in as the center between Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. With the subtraction of O'Reilly, the Avalanche had some cap space to play with, and they aggressively went after the 29-year-old Soderberg.
Soderberg finished last season with 44 points with the Boston Bruins. But his primary line mates in Boston last year were Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly, according to Hockey Analysis. But what is Soderberg capable of doing if he's centering two superstar players like MacKinnon and Landeskog?
O'Reilly may be a difficult player to replace, but Soderberg will be given every sort of opportunity to do just that.
(h/t Pro Hockey Talk)