Well Avs fans, are you worried about losing Paul Stastny to free agency? Don't be! Here's something else to worry about. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Colorado Avalanche will take Ryan O`Reilly to salary arbitration despite him being a: STUD FIRST LINER, LEADING GOAL SCORER, NHL LEADER IN TAKEAWAYS and LADY BYNG FINALIST.
Here it is straight from the horses mouth:
Lots of talk within NHL circles that COL has or will file "club-elected salary arbitration" on Ryan O'Reilly. If so, it will make waves.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 15, 2014
COL has, in fact, elected club salary arbitration on Ryan O'Reilly. Had to be filed by 5 pm ET today. And it was.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 15, 2014
I won't repost McKenzie's whole twitter feed here, but there is some good information in it abut what this means for O'Reilly and the Avalanche. The long and short of it, however, is this:
- O'Reilly is a restricted free agent and the Avalanche can do one of three things in order to retain his rights: 1) give him a $6.5M qualifying offer, 2) extend him on a long term contract with a cap hit anywhere above, below, or matching his QO, or 3) take him to team elected salary arbitration.
- If the club takes O'Reilly to arbitration, the arbiter will award O'Reilly a choice of 1 or 2 year contracts. After that, he will be a UFA and you can bet your ass that after 2 embittered contract battles he will be looooooong gone.
Fact is that the Flames ex-GM Jay Feaster has put the Avalanche in a very tough spot. Feaster's offer sheet gave Ryan O'Reilly and his agent significant leverage with a $6.5M offer sheet, and now the two parties will standoff again under the threat of arbitration and with it, the ability to reach unrestricted free agency in a hurry.
As of the completion of this article, Paul Stastny is also still unsigned.
Having a fun summer yet?
According to Adrian Dater the Avs' filing for arbitration is a precautionary measure:
I'm off today, but Avs filing for arbitration with O'Reilly is not major deal. Avs say they will work toward signing him still. #precaution— Adrian Dater (@adater) June 15, 2014
That said, we heard a lot of that same talk two summers ago. Publicly the team has always said that they want to sign O'Reilly long term, the question now is whether they'll put their money where their mouth is. Fact is that a contract isn't done yet, and team filed arbitration is an aggressive, risky negotiating tactic. We'll just have to wait and see.
Update Part Deux:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>It's pretty clear from my gathering that Avs think ROR is $5 million player, which is his cap hit. But he was paid $6.5 this year...</p>— Adrian Dater (@adater) <a href="https://twitter.com/adater/statuses/478304297067638785">June 15, 2014</a></blockquote>
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$1.5M apart is a pretty big rift to close. Two years ago Ryan O'Reilly found himself with a 2-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk over less.