(Photo: AP)

On Wednesday morning, forward Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche reached an agreement about O’Reilly’s salary and avoided the arbitration hearing scheduled for later that day.  The Avalanche  signed O’Reilly to a two-year, $12 million contract through the 2015-16 season; he reportedly will receive $5.8 million for the upcoming 2014-15 season and $6.2 in 2015-16 before becoming a UFA in the summer of 2016.  However, Colorado hopes to reach a long-term agreement with O’Reilly before then.

O’Reilly, 23, has been a key player for the Avs since being drafted 33rd overall in 2009.  He led Colorado in goals scored last season with a team-high of 28 and finished third on the team with 64 points; incidentally, his 28 goals were the most scored by a Colorado player in a single season since 2009-10.  He also led the Avalanche in power play goals (9) and game-winners (6, tied), and he led all Colorado forwards in ice time (19:49 per game).  League-wide, O’Reilly led the NHL in takeaways this past season with 83.  He has a career 191 points (73 goals, 118 assists) in 345 NHL games.

O’Reilly was also the recipient of this year’s Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” tallying just one minor penalty all season despite his substantial amount of playing time. He is only the second player in NHL history to receive two of fewer PIM over 80+ games (Butch Goring, LA Kings 1977-78 shares this distinction).

“We are pleased to have Ryan under contract,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic.  “We are looking at the upcoming training camp and season with a lot of excitement.”

Colorado begins preseason play on September 22, at home against the Anaheim Ducks.

Stephanie is currently a student at Roger Williams University and is working toward a BFA in Creative Writing and Film. She is hoping to pursue a master's degree in Sports Journalism after graduating. Stephanie is a former basketball player and now enjoys writing from the sidelines (though she wouldn't be opposed to watching from a press box). She quite literally turned into a full-fledged hockey fan overnight, and she is the lone Rangers/Blackhawks fan in a family of hardcore Bruins fans. During the offseason, she enjoys writing, film, traveling, and theatre. Twitter: @stephanielynn_

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