O'Reilly wants to stay with Blues but 'no real urgency' for new contract

O’Reilly wants to stay with Blues but ‘no real urgency’ for new contract

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — Ryan O’Reilly would like to sign a contract to remain with the St. Louis Blues but said it doesn’t have to happen prior to the season.

The forward is in the final season of a seven-year contract he signed July 3, 2015, and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

O’Reilly said after last season ended that he wants to remain with the Blues and reiterated that stance Friday.

“I definitely think this is where I want to be and move forward and such like that,” he said. “I think that stuff will play out on its own. I’m just keep trying to focus on the season and the guys and being ready here. I’m not worried about things not playing out the right way. We’ll see. We’ll see how things go.”

O’Reilly is in his fifth season with the Blues after being acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabers on July 1, 2018. He was named captain Dec. 23, 2020.

“I feel like there’s so much more focused on next year,” O’Reilly said. “I feel like because we have such a good team and some new faces, the focus is getting ready for the season. But obviously we’ve kind of started some dialogue. There’s just no real rush. We’ve got a long time to figure that out and I’m not worried. I don’t think [general manager] Doug [Armstrong] is worried either. It’ll work itself out as it goes. The focus here is on training camp and getting in shape and getting ready to go. He’s got a tough job too, with selling the team and such like that. I think that’s where both of our focus is at.”

The Blues signed forwards Robert Thomas (July 13) and Jordan Kyrou (Sept. 13) each to an eight-year, $65 million contract ($8.125 million AAV), each of which starts next season. That’s left some question as to how the Blues could fit O’Reilly’s new contract under the NHL salary cap.

O’Reilly said that’s not a concern and there’s no real rush to get something accomplished.

“I think after having being around, I think if I was younger, I think it would be more of an issue and such, but I feel like I’ve been established,” the 31-year-old said. “I kind of know where I stand. There’s no real urgency. Hopefully we find a way to make it work. I feel I’m happy with just waiting and just focusing on the season. Hopefully things play out the right way, but again , the focus is here and on training camp.”

Blues coach Craig Berube believes the contract issue will not be a distraction for O’Reilly.

“He’s a team-first guy,” Berube said. “That’s something we stress here all the time as you know. I don’t think that’s going to affect him.”

O’Reilly had 58 points (21 goals, 37 assists) in 78 regular-season games last season and helped the Blues reach the Western Conference Second Round before losing to Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in six games. He had 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 12 playoff games.

He has 250 points (85 goals, 165 assists) in 287 games in four seasons with the Blues, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs when St. Louis won the Stanley Cup in 2019.

In 13 NHL seasons, O’Reilly has 672 points (240 goals, 432 assists) in 938 regular-season games with the Blues, Avalanche and Sabers, and 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists) in 64 playoff games.

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