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Elliotte Friedman links Ryan O’Reilly’s name to the Canadiens

Today marks the opening of the National Hockey League’s autonomous player market.

Starting at 12 p.m., all players no longer under contract with their current team will be free as a bird to sign with a new team.

There will be many names on the market, some more interesting than others.

Each team will be looking to fill its own needs for next season.

NHL teams therefore already have certain players in mind whom they want to target and contract.

The problem is that several teams are targeting certain players, so only one team will manage to fill its need with the player it wanted.

So seeing a team’s name attached to a player is no guarantee at all, as many other teams are trying to get their hands on that player.

Still, it shows what the team’s needs are.

In the case of the Montreal Canadiens, we know that Kent Hughes is looking to add young players who fit into his plan.

Except that on the free agent market, that’s not exactly the type of player that’s available.

There are more veterans than, say, Alex Newhook.

So, the CH isn’t likely to be very active, but that won’t stop the team from perhaps being interested in some veterans to come and mentor the youngsters.

Well, in one of Elliotte Friedman’s recent articles, the renowned tipster links the name of veteran Ryan O’Reilly to the Montreal Canadiens.

Indeed, in his multi-point text in anticipation of the opening of the free-agent market, Friedman dedicates a point to O’Reilly, who will become a free agent today, explaining that if he doesn’t stay in Toronto, his name has been linked to Detroit, Montreal, Vancouver and Nashville.

Friedman also adds that O’Reilly’s interest in potentially returning to St. Louis should not be underestimated.

By the way, we learned earlier this morning that O’Reilly will indeed be on the free-agent market.

Anyway, personally, I’m quite surprised to see O’Reilly and the Habs in the same sentence.

At 32, the center with 14 NHL seasons under his belt doesn’t really fit in with what the Tricolore is trying to build as a team.

Indeed, we know that the CH wants to have a young, talented and fast team for the future.

O’Reilly isn’t young, and he’s clearly not the fastest.

So where could this link between the veteran and Montreal come from?

Perhaps the CH is simply looking to add experience to its very young team, and O’Reilly would be an excellent veteran for the youngsters.

However, space is thin, if not entirely blocked at center in Montreal, with Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, Sean Monahan, Alex Newhook, Christian Dvorak and Jake Evans.

I don’t hate the fact that the CH is exploring this possibility all the same, but I find it hard to believe that O’Reilly would come to a rebuilding Habs, when he clearly wants to win.

Also worth keeping an eye on, as no one expects the CH to be very active on the free-agent market.

In a gust

– Several players will be leaving the Bruins today via the free-agent market.

– To watch today.

– Why would the CH risk losing him?

– Read more.

– A big start for Toronto.

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