LAS VEGAS — Avalanche coach Patrick Roy expressed optimism Monday that long-term deals still can be worked out for potential unrestricted free-agent center Paul Stastny and restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly of the Avalanche.

"They both are very important players to our team," Roy said at the Wynn Resort and Casino, where the NHL's awards show will be held Tuesday night and where he is up for coach of the year. "I'm certainly very confident things will go well."

Starting Wednesday, teams can start calling players from other teams if they are still unsigned, even though no formal deals can made until July 1.

Avs executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic is in Las Vegas and likely to talk with Stastny's agent, Matt Keator.

Paul Stastny
Paul Stastny (Karl Gehring, Denver Post file)

Stastny, 28, could become the most attractive free agent available if he can't work something out with the Avs. The Avs paid him $6.6 million per season over the past five seasons, but don't want to go that high again. While Sakic and Roy wouldn't get specific, the team likely doesn't want to pay any more than it gives Matt Duchene — $6 million per season. Other teams with holes to fill at center might not flinch at exceeding that figure, however.

O'Reilly, also in Las Vegas as a nominee for the Lady Byng Trophy, doesn't seem to know where he is headed in negotiations. The Avs elected for salary arbitration with him earlier this month. If something can't be worked out before July 15, an arbitrator would offer him a one- or two-year contract, and after two more seasons O'Reilly can become an unrestricted free agent.


Advertisement

"I think it's obviously an unfortunate piece for both sides. It's not something I wanted to go through, but all in all I'm here at the awards trying to have a good time," O'Reilly said. "I've just got to leave the business for the business (people). It'll be interesting to see what happens. All I can do, myself, is focus on myself and training for next year and let my agent take care of that. When it comes time to make decisions, we'll make them. I'm just trying to stay even keel.

Ryan O’Reilly
Ryan O'Reilly (Karl Gehring, Denver Post file)
All my trust is in my agent (Pat Morris). He's done amazing things for me and will continue to do that. Obviously, I want to be in Colorado. I love it there. With both those things, something can get worked out."

Roy said he is not too concerned about a potential impasse with O'Reilly.

"I'll tell you why: Joe and I were players, and we also had to be businessmen. At this time of the year, it's no different for other teams. It's an unpleasant time. It's a negotiation, and Ryan has to do what he thinks is the best," Roy said. "Obviously, as a team, you always wish players are buying in to your structure, buying into your plan, and Joe is doing a super job. He's the one dealing with the contracts. From a coaching perspective, I don't see it as a problem."

Adrian Dater: adater@denverpost.com or twitter.com/adater