Colorado Avalanche forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny are at a contract crossroads. Ryan O’Reilly, a restricted free agent, was hoping to be paid at least $6.5 million this upcoming season, but that appears to be unlikely with the Avalanche taking him to club elected salary arbitration. Paul Stastny, an unrestricted free agent, is still hoping to remain in Denver, but will now talk with other teams about a possible contract.
During media day for the 2014 NHL Awards, O’Reilly said, “There’s no question that I want to be in Colorado next year and try to win [there]. My agent knows that.” His plan is to leave the negotiating up to his agent, Pat Morris. “I have full confidence in my agent for getting things sorted out,” O’Reilly said. “All I control is really preparing for next year and letting the business side play out. When it’s over, it’s over. I don’t know if it’s so much anger, it’s a little frustration I think on both sides. Obviously it’s in the CBA and they have every right to, and it’s a smart move by them, but all in all something will be worked out.”
Stastny’s agent, Matt Keator, and the Avalanche will continue to negotiate a new contract during the week, but according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, Keator will listen to other teams about the possibility of signing his client. Stastny has said in previous interviews that he hopes to stay in Denver and would be willing to accept a “home town discount.” Stastny made $6.6 million last season and he’s unlikely to get that from the Avalanche, but could get that or more from a team desperately seeking a top line center.
Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy hopes to have both players in an Avalanche uniform for him. When asked at media day about O’Reilly situation and whether or not his contract situation would carry over to the ice, Roy said, “From a coach’s perspective, I don’t see it as a problem. If you know Ryan O’Reilly, you know he’s going to jump on the ice and he’s going to play his minutes, whatever I give him. Everybody knows how much I love him and how much respect I have for him. I think Ryan is going to come in and play hard for us and it won’t be an issue.”
On Paul Stastny, Roy hopes to keep him between Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog in 2014-2015. It’s our objective to have those three playing together,” said the Jack Adams nominee. “There’s a lot of ifs and it’s maybe too early to talk about if [Nathan MacKinnon] going to be a center or right winger. But I know [Landeskog, Stastny and MacKinnon] played outstanding together last year.”