The Colorado Avalanche will have more difficulty luring back restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly
from Russia than the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars will have in locking up their unsigned youngsters, P.K. Subban
and Jamie Benn
Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the KHL team that O'Reilly plays for, is paying the 21-year-old forward a prorated $4-million US to play in Russia this year.
It is also believed that Metallurg Magnitogorsk is willing to increase O'Reilly's contract if he agrees to stay in Russia. Negotiations between O'Reilly's agent Mark Guy and the Avalanche have yet to produce a new deal for native of Varna, Ont. (near Stratford). The two sides are believed to be far apart.
O'Reilly joined his older brother Cal
, 26, with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in December after agreeing to a two-year deal, in which he has an opt-out clause to return to the NHL once the lockout ends.
With Metallurg Magnitogorsk, O'Reilly has five goals and 10 points in 10 games. He led the Avalanche in scoring a year ago with 18 goals and 55 points. He also played for Canada at the world championship last spring.
The highest paid Avalanche player is forward Paul Stastny
, who makes $6.6-million a season. A reasonable comparison for O'Reilly, who turns 22 on Feb. 7, may be the $4-million a season that forward David Jones
earns or the $3.5-million a year that Matt Duchene makes.
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