Ryan O’Reilly Proves Commitment to Buffalo Sabres New Era


Ryan O’Reilly Proves Commitment to Buffalo Sabres New Era

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It has only been a week since Ryan O’Reilly was traded to the Buffalo Sabres by the Colorado Avalanche. However, he has already shown his commitment to the new era in Western New York.

As reported by wgr550.com, O’Reilly has signed a contract extension with the Sabres. The new deal is for seven years and $52.5 million, representing the largest contract in franchise history.

This should prove to be an excellent piece of business for Buffalo, especially given the fact that O’Reilly is only 24-years old. He will first of all finish the last year of his existing contract, which will earn him $6.2 million during the 2015-16 season.

Tim Murray made reference to O’Reilly’s age in a statement issued by the Sabres. The General Manager said: “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.

Oct 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly (90) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Buffalo Sabres during the second period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

“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…We’re happy to have Ryan locked up to a long-term deal.”

Ironically, it was the center’s salary demands with the Avalanche, which helped seal his move to Buffalo. Colorado traded him to the Sabres – along with Jamie McGinn – in exchange for Mikhail Grigorenko,Nikita Zadorov, prospect J.T. Compher and the 32nd pick in this year’s draft.

Once his new deal starts, O’Reilly will count for $7.5 million against the salary cap, although the structure is one of the more unique ones. As confirmed by John Vogl of The Buffalo News, his actual salary will be $1 million per season, with the remainder of his money paid in signing bonuses.

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The 2009 33rd overall draft pick will receive $10 million in 2016-17, $8 million in 2017-18, $7.5 million in 2018-19 and $5 million for each of the final four seasons. O’Reilly will be 32-years old when his contract ends.

Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News spoke to the Clinton, Ohio native’s agent Pat Morris, who said: “It’s always exciting to see the commitment of a franchise and ownership like what Buffalo has shown in Ryan. It’s great faith on their part for a long time.”

This commitment will only further excite Sabres fans. O’Reilly will likely play between Evander Kane and Tyler Ennis, to form an enticing first line.

During six campaigns in the NHL, the 2007 Jack Ferguson Award winner has averaged 47 points per season. As recently as 2014, he was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy, while also scoring a career-high 64 points and leading the league with 83 takeaways.

Now, complete with his new deal, O’Reilly can concentrate on his desire to be a team leader, both on and off the ice. As he told Vogl soon after the trade: “I’ve always wanted to be a big piece like that, have that leadership role and be seen as that by the management.

“With Colorado I wasn’t really looked at as much of a leader as I think I have now with the Sabres. I’m going to have to be a more vocal guy and be more of that off-ice leader and on-ice as well – It’s a new challenge.”

Next: Jack Eichel excited for future with the Sabres