NHL Rumors: Update On O'Reilly Contract Extension

The St. Louis Blues' two highest paid players, Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, are both unrestricted free agents after this season. The Blues don't have nearly enough cap space to keep both of them. The team has a lot of money tied up in long-term deals, so they will likely only be able to bring back one of the two star players, if any.

The player more likely staying put is O'Reilly, as he is the captain, former Conn Smythe winner, and will require a cheaper contract. Pierre LeBrun reported that the Blues will meet with O'Reilly in January to discuss a potential extension.

There are of course comparable contracts around the league that may be brought up. A good example is Sean Couturier's. An eight-year extension for 31-year-old O'Reilly is likely off the table for the Blues, but an AAV similar to Couturier's is not. That would require the Blues to continue paying O'Reilly similarly to what he's earning on his current contract. With the salary cap on the rise, a potential contract like this won't look so bad, especially to keep a leader and two-way specialist around.

If the team isn't where they expect to be or contract talks don't go anywhere, O'Reilly could even potentially become a trade candidate. But I see him re-signing with the team he won a Stanley Cup with.

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