2011 Cap Hit: $900,000
2012 Status: RFA
Well, I for one didn't see this season coming for Radar. If you had told me that our lovable 3rd line center would score 55 points at the beginning of the season, I MAY have believed you. If you had told me he'd end up as our leading scorer and #1 center, I would have called you absolutely insane. But that's exactly what he did. His unnatural work ethic finally paid off this year, and he's firmly established himself as a leader in this team and valuable part of its young core.
At the end of last season, Stastny suffered a season-ending injury and O'Reilly was promoted to second line center. He managed to score 10 points in those last 18 games, so the question coming into this season was whether he was just in a hot streak during that time or if there was more to this defensive minded pivot than met the eye. He answered that question pretty quickly. From the first day of training camp, he was paired with our new prized rookie, Gabriel Landeskog. For whatever reason, the two of them clicked. I think they skated together for 81 of the 82 games of the season, usually logging the top minutes and top competition. Whether O'Reilly made Landy better or the other way around, the two of them anchored this team and often were the only players to"show up" to the vast majority of the games they played. The two of them are the heart and soul of this club and probably the single biggest reason why we improved 20 points in the standings even though our "big names" (Duchene, Stastny, Hejduk) had extremely disappointing seasons.
O'Reilly slowed down near the end of the season, most likely from fatigue. 82 games is a long season and he gives 110% for every day of it. Even for an extremely fit 21 year old, that takes its toll eventually. However, he was still our leading scorer, the league leader in takeaways (even though Datsyuk did it first), and was considered a Selke contender by many in the media. Despite the slow finish, this season was nothing short of remarkable for the young center.
2012 Outlook: O'Reilly will be getting a nice big raise this summer as a RFA.
Andi's Take: Well, everyone knows I'm a bit smitten with Radar, but I was very, very impressed with his season. However, if he's our leading scorer next year with only around 60 points, I'm going to cry. He's an amazing asset to have, but with players like Duchene and Stastny on this team, we shouldn't be looking to a guy like O'Reilly to shut down the other team's top line AND score all the points
Cole's Take: What a breakout season for Ryan O'Reilly. I've loved this guy since the day we drafted but I'll admit, I never expected this kind of season out of him, nor did I ever expect him to lead this team in points. I love Radar's game and he had one of the most exciting individual performances of the season with his OT winner on Military Night against Carolina. No doubt in my mind that this guy will be a Selke winner in his career, and I think he could get in the 60-70 point range as his wingers develop. I only hope the Avs are smart enough to ink him a nice long contract over the summer, I firmly believe that Landeskog-OReilly-Parise could be one of the most dominant lins in the NHL for years to come. Get er done Sherm. A from me.
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