Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly, a restricted free agent, has left Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk after the player and Kontinental Hockey League team mutually agreed to terminate his contract Thursday.
The news comes jhours after Avalanche forward Steve Downie was ruled out for the season because of a knee injury that will require surgery.
According to rsport.ru, the club released O'Reilly from the deal because of fears he would return to North America at some point after the KHL signing window closes on Jan. 31. O'Reilly signed a two-year deal with Metallurg last month, but it contained an out clause allowing him to leave if offered more money by a NHL franchise, according to the report.
“Ryan did not rule out the possibility of a new contract overseas during February and he understood that this course of events would affect Metallurg’s preparations for the playoffs,” Metallurg said in a website statement.
In fact, according to rsport.ru, Metallurg already has a replacement lined up for O'Reilly.
"Ryan behaved honorably in allowing us to find another player to replace him," team vice president Gennady Velichkin told R-Sport. "We've been looking for a player to replace O'Reilly for a long time and we've already found him."
O’Reilly had five goals and four assists in 12 games for Metallurg, but reportedly reaggravated a foot injury in a game against Traktor Chelyabinsk on Wednesday.
Now, the focus turns to O'Reilly's future in Colorado.
With the injury to Downie, the Avalanche could use some more firepower on the forward lines, and the team's leading scorer from last season would certainly provide that.
O'Reilly, 21, had 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games last season, more than doubling the 26-point campaigns he put up in each of his first two seasons in the NHL.