Ryan O’Reilly signs seven year ex­ten­sion with Buf­falo Sabres

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

The Buf­falo Sabres have made newly ac­quired for­ward Ryan O’Reilly their high­est­paid player by sign­ing him to a $52.5 mil­lion, seven-year con­tract ex­ten­sion on Fri­day.

The Sabres an­nounced the sign­ing, while two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with dis­cus­sions re­vealed the value of the con­tract to The As­so­ci­ated Press. The peo­ple spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the Sabres did not dis­close the mon­e­tary terms.

Ryan O’Reilly’s ex­ten­sion kicks in af­ter he com­pletes the fi­nal year of his ex­ist­ing con­tract, which will pay him $6.2 mil­lion next sea­son. He will make $11 mil­lion in 2016-17 of an ex­ten­sion that runs through the 2022-23 sea­son.

The 24- year- old O’Reilly is re­garded a top-line tal­ent and was ac­quired from Colorado in a trade that in­volved five play­ers dur­ing the first round of the NHL draft on June 26.

The Sabres also ac­quired for­ward Jamie McGinn, while giv­ing up for­ward Mikhail Grig­orenko, JT Com­pher, de­fence­man Nikita Zadorov and the 31st pick of the draft.

“It’s not easy to find a player who, at his age, is al­ready es­tab­lished in the league as some­one who plays a com­plete game and makes his team­mates bet­ter,’’ said gen­eral man­ager Tim Mur­ray said in a team state­ment about O’Reilly. “When we ac­quired him, we viewed him as some­one who could im­me­di­ately im­prove our ros­ter, but was still young enough to make an im­pact for sev­eral years to come. And this con­tract re­flects that belief.’’

O’Reilly will get a chance to play along­side rookie cen­tre Jack Eichel, who was se­lected with the sec­ond pick in the draft. O’Reilly had 17 goals and 55 points in 80 games last sea­son. He also led Avalanche for­wards in av­er­ag­ing nearly 20 min­utes of ice time.

The sixth-year player has 90 goals and 246 points in 427 ca­reer games.

O’Reilly is a key fix­ture in a re­build­ing process for a Sabres team that’s com­ing off con­sec­u­tive last-place fin­ishes.

He will be part of a new-look team that added goal­tender Robin Lehner in a trade last week. For­ward Evan­der Kane is pre­par­ing to make his de­but with the Sabres at the start of this sea­son. Kane was ac­quired in a trade with the Win­nipeg Jets in Fe­bru­ary, but missed the re­main­der of the sea­son af­ter hav­ing shoul­der surgery.

Buf­falo made two other moves Fri­day, in­clud­ing sign­ing O’Reilly’s older brother Cal to a two-year con­tract. The Sabres also signed free-agent de­fence­man Carlo Co­la­ia­covo to a one-year con­tract.

Cal O’Reilly, 28, has spent much of his ca­reer in the mi­nors, and also spent two sea­sons play­ing in Rus­sia’s Kon­ti­nen­tal Hockey League. The for­ward spent the past two sea­sons play­ing for Utica, the Van­cou­ver Canucks’ AHL af­fil­i­ate.

Se­lected in the fifth round of the 2005 draft by Nashville, O’Reilly has 13 goals and 41 points in 113 NHL games split be­tween Nashville, Phoenix and Pittsburgh.

Co­la­ia­covo is a 12-year NHL vet­eran, who had two goals and six as­sists in 33 games with the Philadelphia Fly­ers last sea­son. He also played for St. Louis, Detroit and Toronto, and com­bined for 33 goals and 152 points in 434 ca­reer games.

AP PHOTO

Colorado Avalanche cen­tre Ryan O'Reilly cools off with a splash of wa­ter to the face be­fore the start of a pre­sea­son NHL game against the Los An­ge­les Kings in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Oct. 2, 2014. The Buf­falo Sabres have made newly ac­quired for­ward Ryan O'Reilly their high­est-paid player by sign­ing him to a US$52.5-mil­lion, seven-year con­tract ex­ten­sion on Fri­day.

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