So I've argued the O'Reilly stuff to death, and read what others (DiD, doc, Marachi etc) have said on the subject, and was thinking about it last night. I think I'm a pretty smart person, who thinks about things logically most of the time. I think there are others who do as well, so I've been a bit perplexed as to why we are so far apart (mainly because I agree with a lot of what you guys have written).
I think one of the misunderstandings here is that I'm arguing for RORs demands. I am not, for the most part. I agree with everything about the Avs making fair offers, they are in the position of strength (in comparison to O'Reilly). O'Reilly has been a huuge baby about this stuff, it seems, and that he is more at fault for the situation getting to this point. O'Reilly has done f'ed up. He should have taken the $3.5M offer when it was clear the Avs weren't going to cave, and I think he's going to end up costing himself more by this holdout than he's going to get. (By holding out 15 games he's cost himself at least $640k, ($3.5M prorated). So I'm totally on board that the Avs have all the cards to win this negotiation, and that playing hardball is going to, likely, net them a win...
...but I really don't understand, big picture, what the Avs are going to win here. Here's the answers I've been able to see based on others' responses (This all assumes a hypothetical 2y/$8M deal for ROR. I've never been on board with a $4.5M+ deal) :
• $500k - $1M (big deal to a club like the Avs.)
• Setting the RFA market too high
Yes, based on the RFA market $3.5 is probably ROR's worth (although I still think $4M is high but within reasonable based on other examples). But the Avs have near-future RFAs: McGinn, Landeskog, Varlamov, & Duchene. I don't think Varly or McGinn could use ROR as a good comparable, so let's focus on Duchene and Landy (unless you disagree)
Duchene signed a 2-year prove it deal: If he proves it he's not using ROR's hypothetical $4M contract as a basis he's using Tavares, E.Kane, J.Benn and other contracts that go into his UFA years. The only way I can see ROR's contract coming into play here is if he flounders, in which case an extra $1M to ROR is the least of the Avs worries.
Which leaves Landeskog. This is where ROR's contract might make the biggest difference, but only if Landy goes through a softmore slump, or is injured a year or something. If he continues to perform, he'll be using the Benn contract, and others like it, as a comparable for his next contract.
I don't think other, future RFAs will be using RORs hypothetical, because the market will have changed so much since now that it would be uncomparable
• Future negotiating leverage: Caving now would set an example to future RFAs, and players, that they can bully their way into unreasonable demands
This is a point I understand, and it certainly has merit, but I think it is way overblown. Varlamov held out from Washington, threatened the KHL, was dealt here and I haven't seen any goalies going that route yet. Doughty held out, got a killer contract, and the only D holdouts since are Del Zotto and Subban. I don't see much evidence that successful holdouts cause this avalanche of holdouts, or an appetite for one, as commonly feared.
So I guess it's a possibility that it could embolden a future holdout, but I think it's unlikely, not only because of normal human factors (the chief one being that most hockey players don't have a stomach for a holdout), but also because there likely aren't many future RFAs with as much leverage (i.e. talent) as ROR.Maybe if ROR got the initial $5M he asked for you could see players being emboldened, but I don't think most players would think sitting 15g and going through this would be worth the extra $500k-$1M. I could be wrong here
• Getting more in a trade
If the Avs do get something better than O'Reilly, then this is probably all worth it in the long run. But I honestly don't think trading O'Reilly for more than he's worth was the original plan, and a plan B. At this point, it seems to be the course, and isn't the worst alternative if they can get a lot for him, but I'd be hard pressed to believe this was the desired outcome.
• Pride and principle
Sure, the Avs could hold their principles, but that and $5 will get them a Starbucks.
Meanwhile I think there's considerable risk that's being downplayed:
They are running a business. This saga has definitely alienated potential customers. The Avs already are on thin ice with a good chunk of their fanbase for being cheap and unwilling to spend money on the team. Popular, fan favorites (which ROR was, and still probably could be) bring in money.
• A lost season:
If the Avs don't blow a 4-1 lead against EDM they currently are in the 8-seed from a PPG perspective. I don't think this is the lost season many others think here.
• Future Negotiations
Same hypothetical as the "Future Negotiating Leverage" above. Complete hypothetical, but if the Avs have a reputation of being difficult to work with and unbending then UFAs could avoid signing here. And, while unlikely, those under RFA rights may demand trades/refuse to play (as is happening to the Isles). Again, the Avs are no where near where the Isles are at this point, but that's not to say they can't get here.
• Not enough in return/Spending too much
I overestimated the likelihood, but a team could still sign him to an RFA sheet. I think it's not likely now, but as the trade deadline approaches, I could see a team with a hurt center taking advantage of it. If that happens, all the avs negotiating power is lost in an instant.
It's possible I'm missing something, but I just don't think the Avs have a lot to gain. Sure, they will win this negotiation with ROR, they have more leverage, but I think it's going to be a Pyrrhic Victory (unless they can really get what they are asking for in a trade. I'm not convinced they will).