Despite a contentious contract holdout that cost him nearly half of last season, Ryan O’Reilly wants to remain with the Colorado Avalanche.
“I like it here. I want to play here. I want to stay here,” O’Reilly said, per the Denver Post. “But it’s just stuff you can’t control right now. It’s easier when you don’t have to worry about that stuff and just play the game, but I don’t control it. I just stay out of the business side ’til the season is over.”
According to the Post, both O’Reilly and the Avs have agreed to play out this season and discuss a new deal in the summer. Tied with Matt Duchene for the Colorado lead in goals (with 16), O’Reilly is in the final of a two-year, $10 million deal with a base salary of $6.5 million this season, meaning the Avs will have to qualify him at $6.5 million to retain his rights — should they not work out a new deal before July.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Colorado has tremendous depth down the middle with Duchene, O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny, but Stastny is unrestricted at season’s end and in the midst of a stellar campaign (34 points in 43 games) which netted him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
That said, O’Reilly has successfully transitioned to the wing this season and could move there permanently if the Avs want to retain all four centers for next season.
“I feel comfortable on the wing now,” O’Reilly explained. “Within our system, Patrick [Roy] does a good job of letting everyone know what they’re supposed to do.
“It’s been great playing for him this year, for sure.”