Ryan O'Reilly? Yes, you read that right. The Rangers are in need of a top-6 center, and Buffalo is still rebuilding. The ingredients are there for a trade to be cooked up. With Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller, and David Desharnais currently penciled in as the four pivots for The Rangers, there are serious questions about the team's ability to compete for Lord Stanley's Cup.

Every team that has won the Stanley Cup in recent memory has done so with at least one -- if not two -- bonafide top-tier centers. The likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Toews occupy this top-tier of centers, and each has hoisted the Cup in recent years.

The last time the Rangers went to the Cup Finals they had neither a top-tier center nor a legitimate top-line center on their roster. The group of Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, and Brad Richards was enough to get the Rangers to the Cup Finals but was not capable of getting past Kopitar and the Kings.

In today's NHL, speed and skill is the name of the game, and if you don't have a center with speed, skill, and size, then you aren't going to go very far. A top-line center should have in the neighborhood of 70-points every season, and no Ranger center has reached that mark in quite some time.

Ryan O'Reilly

With Buffalo still a few years away from serious contention, it makes sense for the Sabres to deal Ryan and get back several players that can help them, both in the present and in the future.

With a $7.5M cap hit through the 2022-23 season when he'll be 31-years-old, there aren't many teams that can afford O'Reilly.

With a couple million in cap space, as well as some tradable assets the Blueshirts would be wise to engage Buffalo in talks for Ryan. Reasonably, the Blueshirts would have to include Marc Staal in any deal for O'Reilly.

With a $5.7M cap hit through the 2020-21 season, Staal's contract must be moved if the Rangers are to fit O'Reilly into their budget. The issue with moving Staal is that his contract contains both an NMC and a modified NTC. So any trade will have to involve Staal's consent.

Why trade makes sense

On top of Staal, the Rangers would likely have to include AHL defensemen John Gilmour and Ryan Graves, as well as a second-round draft pick in either the 2018 or 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

If the Rangers are willing -- and they should be -- to package these players and picks together, then Buffalo should have no qualms about giving up O'Reilly. With Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart as their top two centers, Buffalo is well positioned down the middle, and paying $7.5M per year for a third-line pivot is a luxury that they simply can't afford. O'Reilly is no third-line center. He has registered between 50-70 points each of the last four seasons. This is a trade that would benefit both sides, and with previous rumors having stoked the fire in the past, there's no reason to believe that this can't happen. Now it's up to Jeff Gorton and Jason Botterill to make this happen.