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March 5, 2013 | 11:04pm ET
O'Reilly's return, Stastny's departure?
TheFourthPeriod.com

Colorado was quick to match the two-year, $10 million dollar offer sheet Ryan O'Reilly signed with the Calgary Flames last week.

After a seemingly eternal struggle between the Avalanche and O'Reilly, who remained a restricted free agent for over a month into the season, the team finally signed the 22-year-old center.

Although O'Reilly returned to the lineup Sunday wearing number 90, it isn't all fun and games from here. Now, the team faces new issues.

With O'Reilly back, Colorado will either need to trade one of their three centers, or acquire better third-line wingers to play with them.

Adrian Dater of the Denver Post thinks that the team should consider trading center Paul Stastny, which would allow O'Reilly to return to the top-six forward group.

All signs seemed to suggest that the Avs intended to trade O'Reilly. However, because of rules pertaining to offer sheet contracts, the earliest they can trade him is Feb. 28, 2014.

O'Reilly was the leading scorer for the Avs last season with 18 goals and 37 assists. If he can post the same kind of numbers in the next year, he will still be a high value trade. As demonstrated in Sunday's game, O'Reilly isn't likely to put up those numbers playing with John Mitchell or Milan Hejduk.

If Colorado does indeed want to trade O'Reilly, they will have to give him significant ice time to put up the points. Currently, doing so would force the Avs to either move Matt Duchene or Stastny to third-line center. The other option is moving Duchene to left wing again, but he doesn't like it and it probably isn't in the team's best interests.

Stastny has five goals and 12 points in 20 games this season. Although he reached the 50-point mark in the past two seasons, he has been on a decline.

Dater believes that the team should try to get something for the 27-year-old, who posted 70 plus points in three out of his first four seasons, while they still can.


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