Cal O’Reilly is has been loaned to the Toronto Marlies from the Rochester Americans.
In the ECHL, player loans are common. They are also used fairly often in the AHL as teams move players to where they will get ice time, but it is much more rare to have that happen for players on NHL contracts.
I feel like I’m repeating myself. And I am, because this is a deal very similar to the one that brought Alex Gudbranson to the Marlies from the Minnesota Wild. UPDATED: I forgot to mention Mike Sislo here. He is on an NHL deal with the Avalanche and is on loan to the Marlies too as the return on the trade of the AHL-contracted Colin Smith to the San Antonio Rampage. So that’s three NHL-contracted players loaned to the organization.
But unlike the Gudbranson deal, this one is for a player much closer to NHL calibre. O’Reilly has played 11 games this year for the Buffalo Sabres, and played 20 games last year for them. Most of his time has been spent on the Amerks.
O’Reilly, 30, is the older brother of Sabres centre Ryan O’Reilly, and he was signed to a two-year one-way NHL deal by the Sabres after they acquired Ryan in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche. He is a UFA this summer. Cal is also a centre, and is a playmaking distributor of the puck who succeeds at a very high level in the AHL.
He is the second highest scorer on the Amerks this year with 42 points in only 47 games, only 9 of them goals. If that sounds like the perfect guy to pair up with some of the flashy wingers on the Marlies, well, I think maybe Kyle Dubas thought so too. As a make up for losing Byron Froese in the Brian Boyle trade, it’s pretty good.
The Rochester Amerks are having a tough year, and sit in last place in their division and well out of a playoff spot. This move gives O’Reilly a chance to play some more meaningful hockey. The AHL trade deadline is today, so this deal falls inside that limit. He is eligible to play for the Marlies through the playoffs (as far as I have been able to confirm so far), but not the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s still a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
The Marlies play, wait for it, the Rochester Americans tonight, so O’Reilly only has to change dressing rooms. The only disappointment is that if the Marlies were going to smuggle out a member of the Amerks to play on a Toronto team, couldn’t it have been someone else’s brother? Someone a little closer to home?
O’Reilly is a top-quality player with a lot of good experience in the AHL, though, so he’s a welcome addition to the team.
In other AHL news today, the Marlies have signed an AHL contract with defender William Wrenn, who has been on the roster since opening day on a PTO.
They also sent centre Tony Cameranesi back to Orlando.