The bus was leaving, but it didn't much matter to Ryan O'Reilly. Avalanche personnel hollered at players to get off the ice Monday to make a 2 p.m. bus back to the United Center, where they could change out of their practice clothes and into civvies. The dressing rooms were too small at the nearby Johnny's Ice Palace, but O'Reilly and a handful of teammates would not be rushed. O'Reilly, almost always the last Avalanche player off the ice at practice, still had some one-timers to work on with rookie Nathan MacKinnon. And there was still the ritual of having to flip all of the remaining pucks into a bucket. When the last one made its way into an orange bucket held in place by MacKinnon, only then could O'Reilly make his way to the crowded bus idling outside on Madison Street. O'Reilly can be stubborn about things, and not just with his practice habits. There was that little matter of a contract standoff with the Avs last season that saw him sit out the first half and return to the team only because of the Avs having their hand forced by an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames. O'Reilly remains unsigned beyond this season, but any tension between player and team has dissipated. Both sides have agreed to play out the season and revisit a contract this summer. He has a base salary of $6.5 million this season, with a cap hit of $5 million. If O'Reilly is unsigned into July, the Avs will have to give him a qualifying offer of $6.5 million to retain his rights, but that doesn't mean a totally different contract number can't be worked out before or after that date. On his way to that idling bus, O'Reilly briefly addressed the contract issue. "I like it here. I want to play here. I want to stay here," O'Reilly said. "But it's just stuff you can't control right now. It's easier when you don't have to worry about that stuff and just play the game, but I don't control it. I just stay out of the business side 'til the season is over."
Ryan O'Reilly contract status remains issue with Colorado
Denver Post | Jan 14