Ryan O'Reilly has taken sticks to the face and there undoubtedly is evidence beneath his shaggy beard. But the young Avalanche forward professes not to have emotional scars from his holdout during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

Rather he's more concerned with adjusting to switching from his natural position — center — to left wing on a line with Matt Duchene and Steve Downie. The move was no surprise given that shortly after Colorado drafted Nathan MacKinnon Patrick Roy said he envisioned O'Reilly sliding to wing and playing with Duchene. At the time though it also seemed possible it could wind up at most a short-term experiment for a new coach.

Through the exhibition season and the Avalanche's 2-0 start O'Reilly has remained at wing and he has a goal and an assist.

"I'm lucky to be playing with those guys" O'Reilly said Sunday. "Sometimes I think about the game in a center man's way and I'm still learning. This requires me to be more physical now. I have to forecheck and be more aggressive. Playing center I could sit back more read the play and support more.

"It helps generate more offense for me. 'Dutchie' is so dangerous with the puck. It opens up a lot of room for me and I have to find those areas and get open for him and put the puck in the net."

When the Avs play at Toronto on Tuesday night Roy will draw considerable attention. But also on display will be the line with the pair of 22-year-olds — Duchene and O'Reilly — who both played major junior in the Ontario Hockey League were 2009 Colorado draft choices and were complementary centers for much of their first three seasons.

O'Reilly's savvy two-way play made him a steal for the 33rd overall choice. Especially in his second season he also seemed to have a sneaky better-than-advertised capability as a playmaker and scorer. I'm still convinced that the best scenario for the Avalanche would be that O'Reilly becomes known as the top third-line defensive-oriented center in the league. That might be possible at some point in the future if Colorado trades Paul Stastny and is confident enough in MacKinnon to give the teenager the responsibility of moving up to center the second line. But for now the Avalanche hopes O'Reilly can be more of a scoring threat on the wing and that his defensive responsibility either rubs off on Duchene or compensates — or both.

"Right now I love what I've seen so far" Roy said. "He's clicking really well with Matt. ... I think he makes 'Dutchie' a better player."

Centers-by-trade can be frustrated on the wing because they don't feel as much in control. In the first two games O'Reilly has taken only one faceoff. Duchene has taken 33 winning 19.

"I love taking faceoffs and that's one of the things I miss most about it" O'Reilly said. "Just starting a shift with that it's a pressure situation and it's getting the puck back to the boys. But Dutchie been's great on faceoffs and we usually have the puck."