St. Louis Blues: Ryan O’Reilly Is Suddenly A Big Problem

Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues might have a very big problem that nobody seems to even want to hint at. It’s almost blasphemous to think about.

The problem the Blues have, at the moment, is their captain. Ryan O’Reilly is presenting as many problems for this current team as he has been a solution in the past.

The reason for this is unknown, but it is worrying. While nobody in the media has even hinted at the captain being an issue, their arguments touch on the idea though they never seem to implicate O’Reilly.

Before you scratch all the skin off your scalp wondering what I’m playing at, let me explain. O’Reilly is definitely a top-notch player and has not hit the back end of his career yet.

However, right now it seems as though he doesn’t fit with any of his teammates any longer. Most, if not all fans, point to the people the Blues have had on his wings, but why is it not within the realm of possibility that he is the issue?

O’Reilly and David Perron had great chemistry. They formed one of the more formidable duos in Blues team history.

They did not play every second of every minute together, but they were often on the ice with one another. Due to this fact, O’Reilly tied a career mark in goals, set a career mark in points and has more points with the Blues than Colorado in a shorter time span.

That’s all well and good, but Perron can’t have been the only reason for that. If he is, then O’Reilly is not the player we thought he was.

The problem nobody wants to admit is that O’Reilly might be the odd man out instead of the wingers.

It is true that Jordan Kyrou has not meshed and simply might not be a great fit on a line with the captain. Yet, if you listen to any discussion on this topic on sports radio, there really doesn’t seem to be a great fit with O’Reilly.

Brandon Saad is still a good player and more along the same style as O’Reilly. Most don’t view him as a second-line player night in and out, so that’s not a fit.

Kyrou seems a better fit with Robert Thomas, so maybe you move Vladimir Tarasenko down with O’Reilly. Though I don’t think that combination has had a fair shake, the Blues have tried it and never stuck with it, again, because there is not the fit from a defensive aspect.

Brayden Schenn plays a more defensive style, however he’s almost never playing with O’Reilly unless it’s a special teams scenario. Pavel Buchnevich plays a physical, defensive style and he’s never mentioned as a possibility with O’Reilly.

Eventually, you get to a point where you wonder what is going on. If O’Reilly is as great a player as we’ve all said he is, and I believe he is, he should be versatile enough to fit in with other guys.

I’ve seen countless social media posts about how he looks lost without Perron. Though those posts are pointing a finger at Doug Armstrong for letting Perron walk, maybe they need to look at O’Reilly if that insinuation is even remotely true.

Yes, losing a friend at work is tough and might even take some of the enjoyment out of things. If it literally hurts your production and you cannot play the same with other guys, that’s on O’Reilly.

I get the Blues are asking a lot from him. He’s often paired defensively against the other team’s top scorers and you’re also asking him to put up goals and assists when pairing him with a playmaker like Kyrou.

That’s part of the job.

Lots of people were speculating that O’Reilly would command even more money than Thomas or Kyrou because of his versatility and the ability he still has. Right now, if he can’t play like a top-line center without Perron on his side, he doesn’t even deserve $5 million a year, let alone the $7.5 million he makes now or a possible raise.

Just a few weeks ago, we all were talking about how impossible it would be to even fathom the Blues without O’Reilly on their roster. In the matter of eight games, not only is it plausible that might happen in the offseason, it’s become possible to happen before the trade deadline.

Ultimately, I think O’Reilly and the Blues figure this thing out. He’s too good a player and this team still has enough talent to turn it around.

But, we have to stop whining about who isn’t here. Perron is gone and he’s not coming back.

O’Reilly has to figure out who he can mesh with or what style has to be played. If that’s taking a little defensive responsibility away from him, so be it.

I don’t care about chemistry or style or any of that. You cannot have a guy that is capable of putting up close to 50 assists not have one, single helper through eight games.

You can’t have the guy that was beloved for his ability to show up early and stay late after practice to help the young guys suddenly not be able to click with players. He needs to mesh with them just as much as they with him.

The man is your captain. How did we reach a point where it feels like 90% of the roster wouldn’t play well with him?

I am hoping this is a product of the entire team playing like garbage during a five-game losing streak and not an example of something deeper. My worry is that it is something deeper.

Nobody wants to mention O’Reilly’s name when the issues of chemistry pop up. However, if he’s only the O’Reilly we knew and the one this team needs when Perron is with him, then he’s not the player we thought he was.

Yes, he does look lost but you can’t cry about who isn’t here. He’s supposed to be the leader and if he really is pouting about not having his buddy like some on social media say, then he’s leading this team for sure – leading them in a direction of crying over things that can’t be helped.

O’Reilly has to figure something out just as much as anyone. I don’t want to hear about chemistry any more. Find a way to play with the guy on your wing, no matter who it is. If they’re not playing your way, let them know they have to.

You’re the captain for a reason, or so I thought.