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April 9, 2012 | 10:58am ET
Avs set on re-signing their own
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Colorado Avalanche has several key players it needs to sign to new contracts, a priority for the team this off-season, the Denver Post reports.

Forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly and defensemen Erik Johnson and Shane O'Brien want to remain with the Avalanche, and only O'Brien is eligible for unrestricted free agent status.

"I can't stress it enough, the fact I want to (remain with the) Avalanche," Duchene, a pending restricted free agent, told the Post. "I grew up worshiping this team, and the guys that have their banners up in the rafters, they're my heroes. My No. 1 commitment is to raise a Stanley Cup one day in this jersey."

Most teams, including the Avalanche, will be moving ahead with business as usual this summer, despite the fact that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire Sept. 15. The NHL and the NHL Players' Association are starting the negotiation process on a new CBA.

"Last time I was restricted (in 2010 with St. Louis), I let the negotiations get to me a little bit," said Johnson. "This time around, I'm experienced and I'll just let my agent handle it. But there's one thing I want to make clear to my agent: I want to be here for the long haul and I love what this group has to offer and everything this organization is all about. For me, it's a no-brainer to want to come back."

O'Reilly is confident a new contract will come, while O'Brien would "love to stay here."

"We're the youngest team in the league, and we played some of the best hockey down the stretch in the whole NHL," O'Brien told the paper. "I'd love to stay here, and hopefully it will work out. I love the boys here, so if it doesn't work out, I will be extremely disappointed."

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