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Avalanche avoid arbitration with Ryan O’Reilly

In this April 1, 2011 file photo, Colorado Avalanche's Ryan O'Reilly smiles after scoring the game-winner against the Phoenix Coyotes during a shootout in an NHL game in Glendale, Ariz.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

The Colorado Avalanche have avoided arbitration with Ryan O'Reilly by signing the versatile forward to a two-year deal.

O'Reilly led the team with a career-high 28 goals last season and won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to a player who best exemplifies gentlemanly conduct. He also had six game-winners as the Avalanche advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 under first-year coach Patrick Roy.

The Avalanche made it an off-season priority to lock up the 23-year-old O'Reilly, but the two sides were far apart on numbers and appeared headed toward arbitration. Team executive Joe Sakic said Wednesday the team is now "looking at the upcoming training camp and season with a lot of excitement."

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Colorado selected O'Reilly in the second round of the 2009 draft.

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