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Report: Predators to sign center Ryan O’Reilly to deal

Nashville bought out Matt Duchene just to turn around and add the veteran center.

Ryan O’Reilly of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on against the Florida Panthers in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Arena on May 04, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Michael Chisholm/NHLI via Getty Images

The Nashville Predators are signing center Ryan O’Reilly to a contract in free agency, per reports. O’Reilly was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline by the St. Louis Blues.

The former Blues captain now joins Nashville, which is in the midst of a rebuild. This signing, however, hints at Barry Trotz trying to expedite the rebuild and try to contend this upcoming season. We’ll see if that works out. O’Reilly makes sense as a second- or third-line center and the team just bought out a good top-6 forward in Matt Duchene.

The contract is for four years at an average annual value of $4.5 million per season, per Friedman. It’s not a bad deal for O’Reilly, who is 32 years old. ROR may be able to land another deal after this one is up and have one more shot at joining a contender in a few years at the deadline.