St. Louis Blues Jordan Kyrou Extension Doesn’t Affect Ryan O’Reilly

Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the St. Louis Blues(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

By now, everyone knows that the St. Louis Blues gave a long and rich contract extension to their budding scorer, Jordan Kyrou. The reaction was interesting, to be sure.

For whatever reason, I believed most people would be on board with keeping Kyrou here long term. The price might have been an issue, but I did not expect what I saw.

The majority of responses to the deal, at least on Facebook, were negative. So many fans said it was too long and for too much money. Some said it was a huge blunder by Doug Armstrong. Others said Kyrou wasn’t worth it.

The last part is the only part that might have any merit. The worth will depend on what kind of player Kyrou continues to develop into.

If he gains anything resembling a 200-foot game and keeps scoring at the pace he set in 2021-22, it’ll be a great deal. If he continues to dance and twirl and give the puck up in the process while not chasing it down, it will be an albatross.

That will take awhile to know. The other major conflict regarding the deal, among fans, is how it affects a potential Ryan O’Reilly extension.

I’m here to tell you it has little to no bearing on it.

Fans and media can fawn over O’Reilly and how important he is to the team and they’re not completely wrong. He has done everything right since coming to St. Louis and has been the consumate leader on and off the ice.

That said, there is more hockey behind O’Reilly than in front. The bottom line is that the Blues needed to get their ducks in a row with Kyrou first, not their current captain.

We can debate the value of the deal with Kyrou until we are blue in the face. The fact is that he was scheduled to be a free agent and his cost likely would have gone up if you let him play out a contract season and he had anything remotely close to the 2021-22 numbers.

The people saying wait it out are either hoping they are right about him not being that good or hoping for an off year to drive the price down. Either way, you’re essentially sitting in the plane and hoping the pilot makes a mistake.

Armstrong had to lock up the younger player that was always going to cost more, simply based on potential. This now allows him to have a clearer idea what the ceiling is for an extension for O’Reilly.

The doomsayers will look to the sky and say there isn’t enough money now. You overpaid an unproven player and are going to let the third consecutive captain walk away!

If O’Reilly leaves, it is either by his choosing or if the Blues feel they are ready to move on. A lack of funds is highly unlikely to be the reason.

According to CapFriendly, the Blues currently have just a smidge under $16 million in cap space entering the 2023 offseason. That number will change if any other extensions are given out, but that’s still a good chunk of change.

Now, St. Louis does have four unrestricted free agents of note. O’Reilly is one. Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Barbashev and Niko Mikkola are the others.

If no salary is shed, i.e. the Marco Scandella contract, the Blues can’t keep all those names. They will have too many spots to fill with not enough space for what some of those players may want.

The Blues will also need a backup goaltender, which will presumably be filled by the inexpensive Joel Hofer, but you never know. St. Louis also has pending RFA players in Logan Brown and Alexy Toropchenko.

Maybe they stay and maybe they don’t, but those roster spots cost money regardless of who is in them. Regardless of all that, there is plenty of money for O’Reilly.

There seems to be this false assumption that O’Reilly will demand or command a Kyrou/Thomas contract or more. If he wants that, he’s already priced himself out of town.

O’Reilly is not in the same physical decline, but if he wants that kind of money, he can go the same way David Backes did, which is out the door. At his age and current production, there is simply no way he deserves a raise from what he is currently earning.

That is not to say another team might not offer that. If O’Reilly wants to win, he cannot afford to chase the money though. There are almost no current contenders with that kind of cap space available. You could make a case for Detroit, maybe.

The reality is that, if he signs a fair deal, O’Reilly won’t even eat up half of what the Blues are projected to have for cap space. Frankly, a fair offer would be to drop him to the $6.5 million that Brayden Schenn makes – the team can decide on the length.

Whether that would be fair to him remains to be seen. The hosts on a couple different 101 ESPN shows said O’Reilly’s agency are basically hockey’s version of Scott Boras, meaning they won’t settle for a pay cut.

It is his right to seek out the highest bidder if he chooses. He has to do what’s best for him, just as the team has to do what’s best for them.

I believe there will be some sort of middle ground achieved. The Blues have the money to be fair and keep their captain a few more years.

In a perfect world, i.e. my perfect world, the Blues would keep O’Reilly and Tarasenko, trade Scandella and fill the rest of the roster with whatever is left.

I trust Armstrong to make the right choices. While there are still players that sting to not have in a Blues uniform, there is nobody out there that has absolutely burned the Blues by leaving.

If Mikkola leaves, the Blues still have Scott Perunovich. If Barbashev leaves, Jake Neighbours simply gets an expanded role.

Tarasenko and O’Reilly would be much harder to replace. It will be difficult to keep both, however, and I do believe the captain will be the priority.

Next. Looking back on the Jake Allen trade of 2020. dark

Unless Armstrong pulls a complete shocker and re-signs Tarasenko first, there is simply no way O’Reilly isn’t offered an extension. If he prices himself out of town, so be it. It will not be for lack of a fair offer from the Blues though.