O'Reilly open to discount to stay with Blues: 'I hope I don't get moved'
Ryan O'Reilly hopes to stay with the St. Louis Blues despite rumors he could be on the move before the NHL's March 3 trade deadline.
The Blues captain is a pending unrestricted free agent, and St. Louis is six points out of a playoff spot. But O'Reilly said preliminary discussions about an extension have begun.
"Yeah, we're starting to get a little dialogue going," he told The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford. "I think there will be some talks kind of going forward here, but yeah, there's no timeline or such. That's kind of all I can really give you on that.
"This is where I want to be. I hope I don't get moved, but I think things will probably progress, especially with the deadline coming up and the talks with that. We'll see how it goes. We're starting to get into that."
O'Reilly is in the midst of his worst season since he was a teenager. He's recorded 10 goals and six assists with a minus-28 rating in 37 games. O'Reilly, who turns 32 on Feb. 7, is currently sidelined with a broken foot, though he's expected to return before the deadline.
Regardless of his foot injury, the former Selke Trophy and Conn Smythe winner will likely draw strong interest from around the league. It was reported Tuesday that O'Reilly could be an option for deadline buyers.
"I still get messages from buddies every time - you're rumored to this team, you're rumored to that team," O'Reilly said. "It's honestly in one ear and out the other at this point. If anything, it's a distraction, and I don't want it to be a distraction for the team. You hear stuff, but like I said, in one ear, out the other."
O'Reilly, whose contract does not contain trade protection, won't have much leverage as the deadline approaches. He did say, however, that he'd be open to taking a team-friendly discount on an extension.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "Yeah, I want to make it work, but I also want to hold my value, too. At the end of the day, it is a business, and if we can’t succeed, and you can't do the job as a leader, then I could (see) them getting rid of me."
O'Reilly is one of multiple key pending UFAs for St. Louis, along with Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev, Noel Acciari, and Niko Mikkola.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has previously been a deadline seller with his team in a better spot than it is currently. He notably dealt pending UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals in 2016-17 for futures with St. Louis just a few points out of a playoff spot. The Blues ultimately finished third in the Central Division, making the playoffs and upsetting the Minnesota Wild in Round 1.