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Agent: deal between Avs, O’Reilly ‘isn’t close to being worked out’

Jun 17, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 06: Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 6, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) Getty Images

“Ryan would like to stay in Colorado. At the same time, a long-term deal has not been worked out, or isn’t close to being worked out. So, Ryan’s unrestricted in two years, and under the model now – given that Colorado has [filed for arbitration] – short-term looks like what the future is for Ryan going forward, possibly year to year, or for the next two years.”

That was Ryan O’Reilly‘s agent, Pat Morris, this afternoon on Sportsnet 590 The FAN radio in Toronto.

In case you couldn’t tell, it was a strong message to the Avalanche that the team is playing a dangerous game, and risks losing the 23-year-old forward for nothing in a couple of years.

“We’re now preparing for an arbitration case that we didn’t think we’d have to attend to,” said Morris. “And at the same time, as of the 25th of June, people can entertain talking to [restricted free agents], and he’s an RFA effectively until July 5th, at which time period then it’s just an arbitration case beyond that.”

If it does go to arbitration, O’Reilly could pick a one-year or two-year award. Or, he could sign an offer sheet between July 1-5.

“We had some warning that the [arbitration option] might be a situation that they take advantage of,” said Morris. “It’s within the CBA. Ryan understands that. He also understands that it’s unique – no player (in the new CBA) has been [taken to arbitration] for a pay-cut that is of his stature.”

All of which is why, unless a long-term deal is signed soon, you can expect to hear O’Reilly’s name in trade speculation. Remember that things got ugly between him and the Avs the last time they tried to work out a deal, and while RFA negotiations can often be tough, they don’t seem to be headed in the right direction, once again.

  1. cnconner - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Love ROR, but he’s honestly becoming a diva story that this organization doesn’t need. He has it really well in Colorado, and won’t have things so easy elsewhere. Don’t want to see him leave, but if this crap continues, then it would be best to deal him elsewhere.

    • 19to77 - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      Agreed. The guy’s a great player, but he’s becoming a sideshow act with this yearly salary drama. More and more it seems he puts his paycheque above his team, and if he’s seriously expecting $6m+ for what he does, he’s delusional to boot. This isn’t Toronto. Plus, his agent sounds infantile, making comments like this. Of course, if they don’t resign him, or sign and trade, who replaces him at LW?

      • hosewater2 - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        The Avs gave Stastny that unreasonable $6 mil contract and I would suspect that is why ROR’s agent believes he can get that.

  2. canucks30 - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Ryan O’Reilly for Ryan Kesler + a draft pick and/or prospect.

    Colorado is on Kesler’s list of a handful of teams he’d accept a trade to.

    • 19to77 - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Huh. Interesting thought. Actually, if the Avs can’t reach a fair number with Statsny, that’s a pretty friggin’ solid idea. Not sure the Avs could get Kesler + a prospect with two years left on Kesler’s contract and O’Reilly unsigned and looking for more than $5m a year, but it’s certainly possible. A one-for-“one and a bit” deal would be appealing for both sides. Kesler wants out, O’Reilly looks like he wants too much money for the Avs to stomach, and he’s way younger, which is huge for the Canucks. There would probably be some cap-dancing involved, but that’s a fact of life in the modern NHL.

  3. avfanforlife - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    The AV’s have shown all year that the team certainly has depth. Players have stepped up when other’s have gone down for long periods of time. ROR is one of my favorite players and he would be greatly missed, but will the AV’s make the playoffs without him ? – Yes. Does he deserve to make a higher-than-most salary? – Yes… But jeeze Ryan… sign a fair deal and show the fans and your team mates that you really want to be there! Not really feeling the loyalty from ya!

    • 19to77 - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Because there isn’t any. Much like Marian Hossa, ROR’s a good player who doesn’t especially care which jersey he’s wearing when he wins the Cup. He’s not an Avalanche loyalist by any stretch. If that can keep him on as a quality hired gun, fantastic, but otherwise, he’s a mercenary. Let the Devils or some other desperate bubble team throw money at him for a couple years. The Avs can excel with or without him.

  4. rsl22 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    A qualifying offer would have been $6.5MM for O’Reilly. To put that in perspective, on the Hawks, no one makes what O’Reilly is looking for:

    Kane — $6.3MM
    Toews — $6.3MM
    Sharp — $5.9MM
    Hossa — $5.275MM
    Seabrook — $5.8MM
    Keith — $5.5MM

    If you want to win championships, you need your players to be realistic.

    • thesportsjudge - Jun 17, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Kane/Toews signed their contracts in December of ’09. Kind of an unfair statement.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      But it’s not as if the player is choosing the value of his qualifying offer. The Avs refused to pay O’Reilly to begin with, Jay Feaster jumped in and set the terms, O’Reilly of course accepted, the Avs matched (knowing full well the consequences) and here we are. Yes, when a team has so many top flight youngsters a few are gonna have to sacrifice some money to keep the core intact (a la Duchene), but it seems as if the Avs front office has been beyond stubborn when it comes to this kid. The team is much better with him on it and it’s not as if they don’t have cap space. Like his agent has stated when you repeatedly play hardball with a player in negotiations it makes it far more likely he’ll be out the door when unrestricted free agency is an option. Do the Avs really want to a burn a bridge with a player most GMs would love to have (and ARE willing to pay)?

      • tru2joelu4eva - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        brilliant, thank you

      • polegojim - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        the Avs know him, and aren’t convinced he’s the guy you described, even though other GMs may think so.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 18, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        No I think the Avs just have a specific salary structure that they refuse to break away from. Sherman has mentioned it before and they’re entrenched in their view that their young stars should buy into it. ROR is a smart and talented two-way forward who would fit into almost every teams top-6, someone is gonna pay him.

  5. djshnooks - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    This guy is being talked about as some kind of savior in Buffalo, between O’Reilly and Evander Kane, that’s who everyone thinks Buffalo will trade for to build around.

    That is not the route to go…not now after compiling all the picks and kid being horrible…build through the draft, darn it!

  6. sweetzinger - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    @ rsl22

    If you’re comparing ROR to any of those Blackhawks players, then that’s where your problem starts and stops.

    ROR has never been as good as those players when those guys signed their deals, never mind how good they are today. They were paid back then for potential as much as ability. And Toews, Kane and Keith will be rewarded handsomely for what they’ve done, and what they’re still going to do.

    ROR isn’t in that class.

  7. sweetzinger - Jun 17, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Sorry @ rsl22

    You’re statement reflects the same as mine. ROR isn’t worth the same money as them.

  8. joejacks - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Sign a longer term deal for cheaper per year cap hit. Gives both the player and team stability. ROR is a solid player and as it looks Stastny will not be back.

    • polegojim - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Wouldn’t mind if neither came back.

      Stastny proves he’s willing to play to his potential… but only in a contract year.


      Any minute, OReillys dad is due to start comparing him to Wayne Gretzky.

      Neither are guys you build a successful franchise around…they’re chasing a paycheck, period.

  9. mackattack29 - Jun 18, 2014 at 1:30 AM

    It’s mostly his agents fault. The guy is known for this sorta stuff. And also Ryan’s dad is apparently a BIG part of the value part of RoR’s careet. It’s just a seriously effed up situation. But Radar is better than most avs fans realize. He is THE most reliable player, night in and night out. He just gets it done in every way. We HAVE to keep him. There is NO replacement for him in the nhl. Nobody equals him at his age.

    • 19to77 - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:18 AM

      That’s the problem, though – whether or not he’s an absurdly versatile, quality player, he comes with the endless baggage of his agent and his family. They’d bleed the Avs white if they had the chance. If it were just about him I’d be right there with you, but it’s not. It’s about how much money his family wants, and his agent too. Everyone in ROR’s corner wants to get paid out just for breathing, and that’s a hard situation for the Avs. He’s a fantastic two-way player and huge on the team, but basically everyone in his corner wants a payoff by association. It seems like his entire family wants to get paid for what he does. They’re trying to collect on his work ethic, and that’s pretty shameful behaviour.

      • spoon9z - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:07 AM


        this org has constantly undervalued ROR and treated him poorly at every step in “negotiations” last time and now this. there are quotes around that word bc the front office simply gave Ryan a take it or leave it deal based on Duchene’s bridge deal bc he had an AWFUL year despite ROR coming off a career year…which is the next year every year with Ryan. Sorry, if he was treated half as well as the other TOP picks Ryan would have an A and a long term contract at about 4 million a year. Like Subban in Montreal, treat a guy like dirt early, they pay later when it’s impossible to deny their abilities any longer.

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