Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we feature right wing Ryan O’Reilly
Position: Right Wing
How Acquired: Selected 98th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 31-6-5-11 (with Arizona State)
Contract Status: Unsigned
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Arizona State Sun Devils (NCAA)
Hailing from Southlake, Texas, Ryan O’Reilly marched to the beat of a different drummer when it came to his sporting pursuits.
“I liked in Southlake, that’s a football hotbed,” O’Reilly explained. “They went on a stretch where they won state five years in a row and that’s really hard to do for 6-A football down there. Growing up with a culture like that in my school, it was pretty different playing hockey.
“I had a few classes where the football coaches were my teacher and they were always messing around with me that I should get out on the football field. ‘Why aren’t you out there playing with us?’
“I always told them I have a passion for hockey.”
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O’Reilly – who has briefly meet his namesake, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly – even has past experience playing for the Ilitch family. As a peewee player, he spent one season skating in Detroit.
“In 2012, I played my peewee major year here,” O’Reilly said. “I played for Little Caesars. We went to the Quebec peewee tournament. I had a blast. I loved it.”
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
The Arizona State Sun Devils will go two deep in Red Wings prospects and it’s going to be a big proving season for both players. Forward Robert Mastrosimone is transferring to Arizona State from the Boston Terriers for his senior season. O’Reilly is about to begin his junior campaign with the Sun Devils.
Last season, O’Reilly’s goal output doubled from three to six. However, his points total slipped from 13 to 11. He’s a far cry from the 21 goals he counted for the USHL’s Madison Capitals in 2017-18, or the 17 he scored for the Green Bay Gamblers in 2019-20.
If O’Reilly wants there to be a future for him in Detroit, he’ll be needing to display some significant forward strides during the 2022-23 NCAA season. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he certainly displays NHL size
“I definitely need to work on my skating,” O’Reilly admitted. “The game is really fast, especially in the NHL. You never get fast enough.”