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September 6, 2012 | 10:34am ET
Did O'Reilly's contract impasse cost him the 'C'?

After sophomore Gabriel Landeskog became the Colorado Avalanche's fourth captain in team history, the Denver Post wonders if Ryan O'Reilly's contract dispute with the Avs prevented him from taking that position.

While it was expected that veteran forward Milan Hejduk would swap the 'C' for an 'A,' the Post still checked in with coach Joe Sacco to see if O'Reilly, who remains a restricted free agent, could eventually take on the role of assistant captain.

"That's something we'll discuss at the appropriate time when he's back in the fold here," Sacco told the Post. "That's something I'm hoping management, Ryan and his people that are taking care of his business, will get situated. I don't have any control over that right now. I'm hoping they can get it settled, and if and when they do, that's something we'll talk about."

The contract impasse between Avs management and O'Reilly's camp has lasted several months, although the 21-year-old forward posted the best numbers of his career last season.

In 81 games with the Avalanche last year, he recorded 18 goals and 37 assists for 55 points.

New captain Landeskog, whom the Post still feels is a tremendous choice as the leading man, is hoping both sides can agree on a new contract extension to bring back O'Reilly next season.

"We all know what O'Reilly means to this team. We all know how important he is for our success. ... We just hope things get settled, but that's between Ryan and the club," Landeskog told the Post.

While the current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15, O'Reilly is one of many high-profile players coming out of an entry-level deal and waiting to sign a significant contract. The negotiations on a new CBA have included the issue of players stepping out of their entry-level contracts as one of its focal points.

Other restricted free agents, such as Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane, Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis, Dallas Stars sniper Jamie Benn and New York Rangers blueliner Michael Del Zotto are still without contracts with unfortunately little progress made to get something done.

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