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Colorado’s O’Reilly signs two-year deal with KHL Metallurg

Dec 7, 2012, 10:50 AM EDT


Restricted free agent forward Ryan O’Reilly has finally found a deal, agreeing to a two-year deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.

Here’s more, from Russian news outlet RIA Novosti:

Metallurg suggested he would stay in Russia unless an NHL team outbid the Russians for his services.

“It has been agreed by mutual consent that if Ryan is offered a contract on more lucrative terms in the National Hockey League, Metallurg will not interfere in that contract being concluded,” the team said in a website statement.

Metallurg did not say how much O’Reilly will be paid in Russia.

The Canadian becomes the first big NHL name to move to Russia on a permanent contract since the lockout began, in a move that symbolises the KHL’s growing ability to compete with its more illustrious North American rival.

The move is sure to raise some eyebrows as O’Reilly — who led the Avs in scoring last year and led the NHL in takeaways — went the entire summer without inking a contract extension, a move Mike Chambers of the Denver Post called “crazy” on the part of the Avs:

Nothing new to report about Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly, who oddly remains unsigned as a restricted free agent. The Avs don’t talk about these things, and O’Reilly is being told not to talk, so it’s hard to do anything but speculate.

The general consensus is it’s crazy to think this devoted and accomplished young star figures to be the last player signed by general manager Greg Sherman for 2012-13.

In late August, reports suggested O’Reilly was seeking a five-year extension from Colorado, while the Avs were only prepared to offer three.

That Colorado allowed O’Reilly to remain unsigned past September 15’s CBA expiration date was curious. While other teams scrambled to ink their coveted RFAs long term (think Evander Kane in Winnipeg, Cam Fowler in Anaheim, John Carlson in Washington and Tyler Seguin in Boston), the Avs let O’Reilly — arguably their best player last season — twist in the wind.

With Metallurg, O’Reilly will be reunited with his brother, Cal, who inked with the KHL club after splitting last season between Nashville, Phoenix and Pittsburgh — though Cal is currently out of the lineup after undergoing an operation.

  1. aspinaci - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Hard to imagine him staying in the KHL, but with the way things are going over here who knows.

  2. colby7 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Jeff Marek just expoded…

    Imagine if he stays, management is going to look pretty dumb. Contract is prob for huge dollars!

  3. trick9 - Dec 7, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Have to feel for the Colorado ones. They lost their superstar because of their management team. He won’t be back in a while because that suggests that NHL team needs to ”outbid” the Russian team for his services and hes gonna be paid some big bucks in one of the richest teams in the KHL.

    Colorado will want him back but is it really wise move to commit 5-8 millions per year to get him, especially now as salary cap is being reduced slightly.

    • jernster21 - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      First off, I’m an Avs fan and like O’Reilly, he’s a great player, but even though he lead the team in points last year he was nearly invisible production wise nearly the entire second half of the season. Secondly, O’Reilly is a third line player that benefited greatly playing along Landeskog and like or not, he IS the third line center on this team behind Duchene and Stastny right now and would never be more than a second line center on any other team. The Avalanche did try to work out a deal with him but O’Reilly shares the same agent as PK Subban and Jamie Benn – they’re both RFA’s too and could do the exact same thing O’Reilly did. That isn’t just by coincidence that 3 extremely good players that share the same agent ended up going into the lockout with deals. With that said, GM Greg Sherman is an accountant, he’s not going to break the bank to keep O’Reilly around and handcuff the team financially if O’Reilly’s agent is trying to start a bidding war.

  4. ermur22 - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    He sees the writing on the wall and he wants to play this year…..I think it’s a big FU to the NHL. They are not gonna have a season

  5. acieu - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Take Russian language classes as you will be there awhile

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