Profilile: Ryan "Snook" O'Reilly

I was doing some research for what I do best, which is argue on the internet, on Ryan O'Reilly, the Avs 2nd round draft choice. I came across quite a few stories about O'Reilly, and since nearly all Avs fans have heard a lot about Matt Duchene, I thought it might be a good idea to take an in-depth look at the Avs second round pick, and his path to the NHL. So here's the links to the interesting stories I found.

The first is a profile from Sept 2008 by Patrick King of Sportsnet.CA, (via Matchsticks and Gasoline) which explains Ryan O'Reilly's nickname, "Snook".
"I think he heard it a lot when he was younger; he has Irish background. It's some sort of Irish word for a mischievous kid."
(Personally when I think of "Snook"I think of Olive Snook (right), and that makes me happy on multiple levels. R.I.P. Pushing Daisies!)

King's profile is probably my favorite, because it features quotes like this one from Erie Otters coach Robbie Ftorek:
"He pushes himself too much sometimes but it's all for good reasoning," Ftorek said. "One of my hardest things with him is to get him to relax a little bit and to realize it takes 20 people to win and also 20 people to lose.
And this one:
"He takes things quite hard. He's very driven and he doesn't like to lose."
And this one from teammate Shane Owen:
"I've never seen someone so dedicated to the sport before," Owen said. "He does everything he can just to make himself better."
The Avs really need someone like that, and with both Duchene and O'Reilly they have it.

The next profile I found was an interview he did with hockey's future in February. There's not a lot of scouting in it, but it's a normal interview of an 18 year old, which is to say not very in-depth. But it's interesting enough to take a gander at.

On June 4th the OHL Prospect Blog did a little write-up about the top-20 OHL prospects, and "Snook" O'Reilly ranked #9.
There is little O’Reilly is not able or at least willing to do on the ice. He can score, hit, play defence, win faceoffs, kill penalties and in general play in almost any situation. At the next level, I do not see big offensive potential, but would be surprised if he does not make the NHL in some capacity. The limiting factor with O’Reilly is his skating. Not only is he not that quick, but his stride is technically weak, leaving him without much room to improve his power, acceleration, balance or agility.
So the Avs drafted a player with all the skills, but lacking in the skating department. Hey that sounds familiar. In fact here's what Inside College Hockey said about one of the Avs recent 2nd round draft picks in their draft review:
“He’s a very smart player and he’s solid physically. He sees the ice so well, and that’s what jumps out at you when you watch him. He’s always in the right place and reads the play so well that he’s able to drop back defensively if needed. His skating needs to improve, but that’s not going to prevent him from playing at a higher level.”
Sound familiar?... That's their take on a certain Paul Stastny in 2005.

Matchsticks and Gasoline, a very good Calgary Flames blog, had a scouting report before the draft this season as well:
O'Reilly played for a lousy Eerie Otters last year and his results were "good" but not great. He managed a second best 66 points on the back of a team high 50 assists. His +1 rating wasn't significantly out of line with the team average, although there were much better (+24) and much worse (-21) players on the club by this metric.
The Nashville Predators website also had this nice blurb on him (at the very bottom):
Ryan’s very reliable defensively, almost to a fault, almost to a point where his statistics belie his skills. If he was almost more selfish, more of a go-get-it offensive player – and he has that type of raw talent – I think he’d be putting up bigger numbers and we scouts tend to fall in love with goals and assists and use them as a crutch when justifying our rankings. Well with Ryan O’Reilly, he’s an all-around good player, who the more you watch him, the more you appreciate how much he contributes in all facets of the game – faceoff, penalty killing, defensive play, the ability to check the John Tavares’s of the league in a match-up role.
Why do the Preds have a blurb on Ryan O'Reilly, because his older brother Cal is a member of their system. What matters is that I really like what the Preds scouts had to say about him, because that's exactly the type of player the Avs need.

You can also take a look at the "hometown"-boy-does-good" article from The Huron Expositor. did a 5 questions with Ryan O'Reilly:
Finally, if you are of the Hockey jersey collecting variety you can get yourself a customized Ryan O'Reilly Lake Erie Otters customized sweater. Stick with their 3rd's because their normal ones are hideous.

In fact that's probably also an advantage for O'Reilly, he's probably so used to playing in a atrocious sweater (left, if you dare look directly at it) that the transition to the unipron shouldn't affect him at all.

All-in-all I like what I hear about O'Reilly more and more every day. The only knock anyone had on him was his skating (which was echoed by the doctor on his development camp report). I'm not too worried about the poor skating, because the Avs actually have a pretty good history at working with shaky skaters (like Stastny and Chris Stewart). I look at O'Reilly being the Avs version of Jordan Staal, a talented hard-working 3rd line center who has the skills to penalty kill, contribute offensively, and win face-offs.


  1. Let's put those pieces together boys. Maybe like a Yelle in some ways? We've never been able to fill his shoes, but O'Reilly may have a shot. Thanks for keeping me excited for next season, Jibbs.

  2. Unfortunately... I don't think he'll make the roster next season. His skating needs to much work in order to put him on the roster.

    But I think there's plenty of exciting rookies to look at.