Maple Leafs interested in Avalanche’s O’Reilly


Colorado Avalanche centre Ryan O'Reilly is unlikely to be traded. (Jack Dempsey/AP)

The Colorado Avalanche are putting out feelers for forward Ryan O’Reilly in search of help on defense according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

Nick Kypreos on Twitter

Among the teams interested are the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Buffalo Sabres, both of whom find themselves in an offensive rut.

However, any exchange for the young forward comes with a hefty price tag. O’Reilly’s cap hit is $6 million, and he’ll be making $6.2 million next year before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2016.

Very few 23-year-olds have a contract of that magnitude, but as a restricted free agent during the lockout season of 2012-13 and after coming to an impasse with the Avalanche during contract negotiations, the then fourth-year player signed a two-year $10 million offer sheet from the Calgary Flames which was eventually matched by Colorado.

O’Reilly, who had 28 goals and 64 points in 80 games last season, has struggled at times this year netting just seven goals and 24 points in 45 games.

Despite the price tag and the off year offensively, there’s still plenty of value in the young talented forward, and both the Sabres and Leafs have young talented defensemen who might interest the Avalanche. And surely, other teams will come calling, too.

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