Monday, January 21, 2013
Where the Avs miss O'Reilly
By Luke Lapinski
Ryan O'Reilly remains unsigned in Colorado. And the two sides don't even necessarily seem to be all that close at the moment. Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports that the Avalanche are offering around $3.5 million per season -- either as part of a two-year/$7 million deal or a five-year/$17 million package. Meanwhile, the 21-year old forward seems to prefer something closer to the $5 million per year range.
If that is in fact the case, this could take awhile. The offers from the Avs are in the same neighborhood as what they're paying Matt Duchene and fairly close to what Erik Johnson is getting. O'Reilly delivered an impressive effort in 2011-12, but the club may want to see it for a longer period of time before they go any bigger with an offer.
At the same time, his role with the team is an important one. As Colorado looks to claw its way back into the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign, it will need to win the battles in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill. Those are two areas O'Reilly excels in so, the sooner he comes back, the better. On top of that, his 55 points led the team a year ago. Plus his absence is only magnified by the notion that every game counts a little more in this shortened season, and that Joe Sacco's squad plays five of its first eight games against Northwest Division opponents.