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Report: Flames could’ve lost O’Reilly to waivers

Mar 1, 2013, 11:42 AM EDT

Jay Feaster AP

Well, this is interesting.

Apparently, the Calgary Flames are lucky the Colorado Avalanche matched their offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly, according to a report by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

That’s because O’Reilly would have needed to clear waivers before joining the team’s roster.

The unsigned forward spent part of the NHL lockout playing with his brother, Cal, for Magnitogorsk in Russia. According to Metallurg coach Paul Maurice and KHL spokesman Shawn McBride, he appeared in games on Jan. 21 and Jan. 23 – both after the shortened NHL schedule was back underway – which meant that waivers were required before O’Reilly could return to the NHL as a free agent midway through the season.

If the above information is accurate, the Flames would’ve still had to surrender a first- and third-round draft pick to the Avs if Colorado had declined to match.

We imagine, if O’Reilly had indeed been lost to waivers, Calgary general manager Jay Feaster would’ve had to surrender his job, too.

More from Sportsnet:

The most interesting part of O’Reilly’s case is that the NHL didn’t believe he had played in Russia after the start of its season, according to a source. That detail had apparently slipped through the cracks – understandable given all of the work being done to get the league up and running after the lockout.

However, it could have ended up being an awfully important detail to overlook.

Update: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to TSN that, yes, O’Reilly would have had to clear waivers to join the Flames if he’d played a KHL game after Jan. 19.

Related: Now signed, O’Reilly apologizes for situation

  1. sportsfreak13 - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    I think this guy is a joke as a GM. Along with this blunder he traded a minor leaguer for Mcgratton when he could of just plucked him off waivers about 4-6 days prior. That coupled with some crazy contracts he has thrown around makes me think he needs to be replaced.

    • withseidelinn - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      Completely agree. The chances of a team picking up McGrattan weren’t very high, but he still decided to give up an asset to get him. He could have waited to see if McGrattan was plucked from waivers and if he was, traded for a different tough guy. It seems like Feaster acts before he thinks the situation through.

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Actually in the memorandum of understanding the exemption from waivers for signed players who were in other pro leagues is expanded not just to RFAs whose rights were owned by the team signing him – although it is unclear whether it covers players who signed offer sheets.

      Given that declining to match a player who has signed an offer sheet elsewhere is essentially agreeing to transfer their rights in exchange for compensatory picks, you have to think that the league would have decided that O’Reilly was not waiver eligible.

      Still, it would have been hysterical to see the Flames lose a player they just gave up a lottery pick to acquire..

      • habsman - Mar 1, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Only players who are on a teams protected list are exempt from the waiver wire when moving them. For example, a team can move a player back and forth between the NHL and AHL without worry of losing them (In most cases). O’reilly, although not under contract, was still under the Av’s protected list even though he was a RFA.

        The problem for the Flames, was that O’reilly played two games in the KHL while the NHL season was underway. Because of that, only the Av’s could have moved him to the NHL without being subjected to the waiver wire.

        Big mistake by Feaster and the Flames. Either they didn’t know the rules, or they were not aware that O’reilly played two games in the KHL. I think the latter is more likely. If O’reilly hadn’t played those two games, the waiver issue is moot.

    • elvispocomo - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      They traded for McGratton instead of just claiming him because they needed to clear up a roster space to even be able to make the ROR offer sheet. McGratton had already cleared waivers so could stay in the AHL if the ROR deal went through, or be brought up like he is now when it didn’t.

  2. jpelle82 - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    oh snap, how funny would that have been. probably should have done some research before throwing that offer out there. he didnt wonder why no one else had chips in?

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      While I’m now fully on the fire Jay Feaster bandwagon, I would point out that Vancouver also made an offer to him so I’m guessing NHL teams didn’t know he had played in the K after the lockout was over.

  3. quizguy66 - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Was it possible that Colorado could’ve claimed him off these waivers? Imagine getting to keep him AND getting those two picks :)


    • mathieug79 - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Maybe Colorado were the ones to make a big blunder. They should have made their research as well, if they wouldn’t have match and pick him off waivers, plus get 2 draft picks. That would’ve been something. lol

      • elvispocomo - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        Well, Colorado s actually above Calgary at this point in the standings, so no guarantee they could have had him off waivers first. Even without that, they’d be risking Columbus (along with Washington, Buffalo, Florida, etc) grabbing him before either team.

    • habsman - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Yes, the Av’s could have put in a claim if they had the oportunity. The pecking order is reverse standings, so five teams (including the Flames) would have a chance befor the Av’s. Columbus would have first option and not doubt would have claimed him.

      Either way, a major miscue by Feaster and the Flames. I wonder if Colorado was aware of this also. They could have caused much embarassment to the Flames as well as exacting some measure of revenge for submitting the offer sheet in the first place, if they refused to match.

  4. govtminion - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Yesterday I made a comment expressing how boneheaded Colorado was in their handling of this deal, and pointed out that it would have to take effort to be that flamingly stupid.

    And I apologize for that statement now, because Feaster apparently has found a way to reclaim his title of Worst NHL GM. How the hell would you miss THAT in the fine print? To quote the internet, “You had ONE JOB…”

    • elvispocomo - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      Flamingly stupid? The Flames? Not sure how you didn’t make that connection yesterday. It’s like you were predicting the future.

  5. bucrightoff - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Poor Flames fans, could be another decade before they’re relevant again.

  6. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    That’s the type of mistake that can set a franchise back a few years. Could’ve been one of the biggest blunders in NHL history (who’s ever lost a #1 center plus a lottery pick in exchange for nothing). Feaster should be writing a thank you note to the Avs for matching and saving his job.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      Save his job? He should be fired by the end of the day. His mistake is inexcusable. If the Flames keep him after this they deserve everything they get and have been getting.

  7. leepetertk - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Surprised that this blunder went through everybody to the day after the offer sheet. The ROR camp had to be actively seeking an offer sheet, yet if anybody knew this information, an offer sheet would not have been tabled (at least not one ROR would accept).

    It’s easy to blame Feaster for this almost mess (however he should know the rules), but it did pass through all the hockey media until today. If this had been reported on any other major hockey news outlet before the offer sheet, I doubt anybody GM would do this and ROR would still be in limbo.

  8. bills4 - Mar 2, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    When this clown talks, I can’t figure out which chin is doing the talking.

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