Typically, second-round picks aren’t expected to make an immediate impact at the NHL level. It’s even rarer when one makes his club out of training camp and plays in nearly every regular season game while being relied upon as a shutdown defender and penalty killer.
But if anything, Ryan O’Reilly has proven that he’s not a typical second rounder. The 6-foot, 200-pound center became the first non-first round pick to immediately make the NHL in his post-draft year since 2003-04, when both Dan Fritsche and Patrice Bergeron accomplished the feat. And after securing his roster spot, O’Reilly went on to produce a memorable rookie campaign in Denver.Draft Day – June 27, 2009
O’Reilly didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called on the second day of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal. Considered by many to be a potential first-round selection, the Avalanche pounced when the center was still available at No. 33 overall.
After a strong training camp, O’Reilly surprised many outsiders by signing a three-year entry-level contract on Sept. 21 and making Colorado’s Opening Night Roster as an 18-year-old rookie.First NHL Game - Oct. 1, 2009
At 18 years, 236 days, O’Reilly became the youngest player in Avalanche history and the second-youngest in franchise history when he suited up against the San Jose Sharks on opening night.
The center marked the occasion by recording his first NHL point – an assist gained on Cody McLeod
’s second period goal.First NHL Goal – Oct. 15, 2009
The rookie’s first NHL tally came in grand fashion, serving as the game-winning goal in Colorado’s 3-2 road victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
With the Avs and Canadiens tied 2-2 in the third period, O’Reilly took a centering feed from David Jones
and threw a shot on net that was stopped by Montreal netminder Carey Price. O’Reilly stuck with the play, picked up his own rebound and deposited it past Price for the winner.Rookie Caps Point Streak – Oct. 24, 2009
O’Reilly’s early-season success continued against the Detroit Red Wings, as he notched an assist on Paul Stastny
’s empty-net goal at the tail end of Colorado’s 3-1 victory at Pepsi Center.
It was O’Reilly’s seventh consecutive game with a point (2g/7a), marking the longest point streak by an NHL rookie in 2009-10. Lighting The Lamp Twice - Nov. 6, 2009
The Clinton, Ontario native recorded his first two-goal game to help Colorado top the Chicago Blackhawks by a 4-3 count in a shootout. He first cut the Avs’ deficit in half with a goal late in the first period and then gave Colorado a 3-2 lead in the middle frame.
In the process, he became the youngest player in franchise history to score two goals in a game, breaking the previous record held by Joe Sakic, who scored two goals on Oct. 9, 1988 at the age of 19 years, 94 days.Another Winner – Dec. 30, 2009
With the 2009 portion of the Avalanche’s schedule winding down, O’Reilly produced his second game-winning goal of the campaign.
He netted a crucial tally early in the third period of Colorado’s contest against the Ottawa Senators – a goal that stood up as the game-winner in the Avalanche’s 4-3 triumph. O'Reilly would go on to finish the 2009-10 campaign with 26 points (8g/18a), including two game-winning tallies. Shorty x2 – Feb. 2, 2010
In the defining game of his rookie season, O’Reilly scored a pair of short-handed goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In a rare feat, the rookie netted the shorties just minutes apart after Avalanche assistant captain Paul Stastny
was sent to the penalty box for a four-minute high-sticking infraction during the third period.
He first beat Mathieu Garon just nine seconds into Stastny’s penalty and tallied again 3:15 later, making him the first player in Avalanche history to score two short-handed goals in one game. The last franchise player to accomplish the feat was Tony McKegney for the Quebec Nordiques on Oct. 20, 1984 at Toronto.Playoff Debut - April 14, 2010
The rookie received his first taste of NHL postseason hockey, suiting up in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks.
O'Reilly saw 14:42 of ice time and registered one takeaway in his playoff debut, a 2-1 Avalanche victory at HP Pavilion.A Quick Stick – April 18, 2010
As if playing in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs wasn’t enough, O’Reilly was credited with the game-winning tally in Colorado’s 1-0 overtime victory during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
With the game still scoreless during the extra session, O’Reilly got his stick on a pass attempt by Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, who was trying to play the puck into a safe area behind goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. The rookie caught enough of the puck to alter its path and cause it to sneak past a stunned Nabokov 51 seconds into overtime.