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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

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