If the Colorado Avalanche plan to compete for a playoff spot this season, their need to sign forward Ryan O’Reilly to a new contract just became increasingly important. One could argue that it is almost imperative now that the Avs resign the 21-year old given their recent bout with the injury bug that has seen forward Steve Downie lost for the year and Gabriel Landeskog out for at least a week, maybe more.
O’Reilly, a restricted free agent, wants a multi-year deal worth $4-$5 million per season while the Avs are offering a “gap” type deal worth around $2.75 million per season. These negotiations are very similar to both the Jamie Benn and P.K. Subban scenarios with each one ending differently making it difficult to pencil out what O’Reilly will end up agreeing to.
Landeskog is currently out with neck and leg injuries after being hammered in an open-ice hit from the Sharks, Brad Stuart. It was originally thought that the captain would be out indefinitely, but Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reported yesterday that the injuries may not be as bad as originally thought. The result was Landeskog being listed as day-to-day although an immediate return is doubtful, with a week or two being more logical at this point.
Duchene is pulling his weight with two goals and three assists through the first five games, followed by Parenteau who has three goals and four points. So far so good, but that’s where it ends.
Hejduk has yet to score despite adding three helpers and Stastny, you could say is struggling. The 27-year old has just one assist in five games to start the season, a far cry from the production he put out last year when he scored twenty-one times and set up thirty-two others.
Enter the need for O’Reilly’s offensive abilities. Last season the Clinton, Ontario native led the charge for the Avs, registering 53 points in 81 games.
While Landeskog is expected to be back in a week or two, keep in mind that in a shortened season two weeks of action will see the Avalanche play roughly six or seven games, depending on the time frame. If any team was to lose four or five in a row this season their playoff hopes will take a serious hit and one could point to this early part of the schedule as crucial to the Avalanche keeping their playoff hopes in tact.
Suddenly O’Reilly may be in the drivers seat with the Avalanche management with the need to add the offense to a suddenly depleted lineup.
As of this morning there was nothing new to report on O’Reilly and his contract situation but it’s safe to say that’ll change in the coming days should the Avs continue to lose valuable hockey games.