Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk announced Thursday that Ryan O’Reilly and the team have mutually agreed to part ways. The rationale from the club was two-fold. First, he suffered a minor foot injury that would take time to recover. Finally, he remains in negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche.
In lieu of these developments, coupled with the KHL’s player-transfer deadline (Jan. 31) fast approaching; it was decided that it was in the best interest of both parties to terminate O’Reilly’s contract.
This move immediately lead to speculation that a deal with the Avs was imminent; speculation that was quickly shot down.
“Yes, Ryan O'Reilly is coming home from KHL,” Tweeted TSN’s Bob McKenzie. “No, he is not any closer to deal with COL. There's been no progress. None.”
O”Reilly has not ruled out signing with another team in Europe. That being said, with the season-ending injury to forward Steve Downie, the Avs’ need for the services of O’Reilly has increased dramatically in recent days.
His current foot ailment had caused him to miss two games in Russia, but he had since returned to action. He is believed to have re-aggravated the injury in his final KHL contest against Traktor Chelyabinsk. The severity of the injury was described by team officials as “minor.”
O'Reilly's tenure in Russia saw him tally five goals and five assists in 12 contests. He was also plus-six and won an impressive 59.3 percent of his faceoffs.
Although no progress has yet been reported, O’Reilly’s return to the U.S. could be cause for optimism amongst Avalanche faithful.
Generally speaking, it is significantly easier to negotiate when both parties are in the same country.