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Report: O’Reilly wants $6.7M deal, Avs counter at $5.5M

Jul 21, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT

It seemed inevitable that Colorado and Ryan O’Reilly would get to their salary arbitration hearing and, based on a report that surfaced Monday, it now feels like a virtual lock.

O’Reilly is reportedly seeking a $6.75 million deal for next season, per The Hockey News. It’s a big ask from the 23-year-old, as the figure would make O’Reilly the 24th-highest salaried forward in the NHL — on par with the likes of Jeff Carter and Joe Thornton — and give him a bigger cap hit than Colorado’s current highest-paid player, Matt Duchene ($6M per).

The Avs, meanwhile, are countering with a decidedly less expensive number, relatively speaking: $5.525M, which is technically a salary reduction. Per the conditions of Colorado matching Calgary’s offer sheet for O’Reilly two seasons ago, he made $6.5 million in salary last year after netting $3.5 the first (with a $2.5M signing bonus).

So yeah, Colorado’s playing a little hardball.

How this all shakes out remains to be seen. For all the drama surrounding his contractual status over the last two years, O’Reilly is still a quality two-way forward that continues to produce despite the white noise, notching career highs in goals (28) and points (64) last year for the Central Division-winning Avs.

As for those Avs… Colorado will catch some heat for its brazen approach, but remember — the club has been very consistent with the way it’s handled O’Reilly since his entry-level deal expired. The Avs believe they know what O’Reilly’s market value is, and they’re sticking to it.

  1. 950003cups - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    This is the drama we blue collar folks don’t need rubbed in our broke faces.

    • clarke16 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      No worry, dumb dumb. You come by later today. If we have left over egg roll from buffet–we give you them. You no go hungry and still hope maybe make you smarter!

      • 19inarow - Jul 21, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        It’s easy to see that your parents either failed at teaching you about work ethics, or have none of their own.

    • polegojim - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      ROR aka ‘Softy’ does not produce 6.7 mil a year in results… but doesn’t mean he won’t get it with todays market and options. He’s a one way player and D liability.

      • antkowiak666 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        Obviously you have never seen ROR play.

      • polegojim - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        Sorry, you’re wrong… many times. I live in Denver

        Try again.

      • beergold - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        Kessel makes 8 mill a year and there isn’t anyone outside of pond hockey softer or a bigger defensive liability than him!

      • polegojim - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Which means he’s overpaid… sorry, but doesn’t prove the point.

      • hockey412 - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        He’s been among the league leaders in takeaways since he entered the league. You can’t do that by being soft on the puck.

        Having said that, he’s also been a minus player…he’s no Bergeron, though he matched Bergeron-esque point numbers last year – and he certainly shouldn’t be paid more than Bergeron.

      • polegojim - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        Soft as in ‘general’. Take aways don’t equal goals, which you noted via numbers against Berg.

      • mb30forlife - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Hes a great player but i cant see him making more than Duchene… I can see 6 million. Even stastny doesn’t deserve 7 million. Then again the cap did go up so with that players will want more. He knows that COL cant lose him, if they do they will SOLELY depend on Duchene, Makinnion, Landeskog, Tyson Barrie and Johnson for consistent points. Their next best payers would probably be Iginla and Jamie McGinn. Hes definitely not a one way player. Pilgojim definitely knows nothing of RoR

      • polegojim - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Sorry MB… I live in Denver and WATCH ROR regularly. He’s a D liability… see his MINUS rating as part of the evidence. He’s good but not great by any stretch of the imagination.

        If they keep him, good… but definitely not worth more than Matt. I believe he’s worth more than Stastny tho.

    • oldirtyoiler - Jul 21, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      This is an off-season story about a player contract…

      It makes sense to comment about whether he’s worth it or not, (and I can tell you he is to a less desirable locale like Winnipeg or Edmonton, who have to pay a premium to get players), but to make the story about your financial problems? Maybe read about baseball until the season starts.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    That’s actually a pretty fair offer from the Avs. That 5.5-6 range is where ROR probably belongs. Unfortunately the excessive rise in the cost of players along with the deal the Flames gave ROR seem to have clouded his judgement. Of course, with O’Reilly going to arbitration, I highly doubt he’s actually expecting to get almost $7 million. But with players like Clarkson getting 5.25 for all of 11 points I can somewhat understand a player who just put up 64pts (at a young age) asking so much. He should accept a deal within 5.5-6 and then test the market in two years. If he keeps up that pace some team will offer him 7 a year… especially if players salaries continue to rise at an uncontrollable pace.

    • jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Clarkson also waited till he became a UFA to cash in whereas O’Reilly has yet to earn that right.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Yeah I know it’s not a perfect comparison I just think Clarksons absurd deal helps highlight the way contracts have gotten out of control. ROR has been very productive since he entered the league. He’s not as dangerous offensively as Duchene but he’s a more complete player so I can understand him wanting to get paid on par with Duchene and Landeskog.

      • jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        I completely agree with your first comment. And I don’t disagree with your second either, but he’s not the best player on the team and has really shown no commitment to the team other than to say he’ll play as long as he’s getting paid a huge amount of money. He will get paid along the lines of Duchene and Landeskog… 5.5 million a year. Fortunately for him, he’ll get closer to 6 from the arbitrator for the mere fact that the Avs accepted an offer sheet that paid him 6.5 in one season unbeknown to what his output would be as a result.

  3. antkowiak666 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Such a shame that O’Reilly won’t be around to to win a Cup in Colorado within the next 5 years.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      shame Colorado wont win a cup in the next 5 years because oreilly and stasny wont be there…

      • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        What has to be kept in mind is that despite their excellent comeback season last year, they did not do so well in puck posession, such as a serious SOG disadvantage. So losing two very good 2 way players AND competing in the toughest division in the NHL (Hawks, Blues will stay very strong, Wild and Stars improving) all represents a huge challenge.

      • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        endusersolutions2013 what that stat does not detail are quality of shots. The Avs did a very good job of limiting quality shots. They kept the shots outside and bad angle and that allowed them to accumulate wins! Yes they were outshot, but they won!

        The more telling stat is that they were not a great possesion team. They still won in the powerful West. They lacked grit and experience and it really showed against MN. They improved their lineup. Stuart and Iginla are both improvements.

  4. avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    His $6.5 last season was a pro rated contract from the lock out year offer of $10M. O’Reilly seems to forget that it really was a $5m per year contract and he was lucky Calgary was so dumb. What the Avs are offering is fair and market for his age, stats, contribution, etc. The Arb should have an easy time with this.

    Does anyone believe ROR should be paid like Jumbo or Carter?

    • bcsteele - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      Umm…I would say so. Especially on a one or two year deal. O’Reilly is younger and putting up similiar numbers. O’Reilly still has alot of upside left as well.

      Carter – 72 games 27 goals 23 assists 50 points

      Thorton – 82 games 11 goals 65 assists 76 points

      O’Reilly – 80 games 28 goals 36 assists 64 points

      I think the truth is the Avs don’t want him to make more than their best player…which right now is Duchene. Which in all honestly is probably underpaid…or he’ll show in the coming years he’s underpaid. The Avs have made their bed in that regard.

      All I’ll say is this, if they loose Statsny and O’Reilly…I place them back as a bubble team instead of a potential contender. That’s a lot of center and two-way forward depth to loose.

      • bcsteele - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        And wow I’m sorry for the writing issues there; hammered that out way to fast.

      • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        They can’t LOSE O’Reilly though! He can be traded and his value will be huge. And BTW, compare Carter and ROR playoff numbers!

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        I completely agree with you on losing O’Reilly and Stastny having a big impact. I’ve seen so many Avs fans acting as if Stastny was no big deal and most seem to be siding with management when it comes to ROR… but that young core could be something special. If they force guys in their 20s out and replace them with aging vets (Iginla and Briere) the team is going to suffer. And it’s not as if they don’t have the cap space. A young core of Duchene, Landeskog, Stastny, Mackinnon, and O’Reilly is a lot more dangerous than Duchene, Landeskog, and Mackinnon.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        Avscup, if his trade value will be so huge then why is the organization so hesitant to pay the player fair market compensation? They can’t lowball a guy multiple times and then turn around to other teams and act as if he’s among the NHL’s elite. Other GMs won’t buy it. I’m not saying a trade return won’t be very good (as most teams love O’Reilly) but if you’re expecting a better player back or a franchise altering return I think you need to reassess.

      • bcsteele - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        O’Reilly’s value will go down on the trade market if he ask out. Or WALKS all together at the end of the deal. If other team’s no he wants out, who do you think has the power in the negotiation? We’ve seen it with all these other players that have made “trade request.” The team they are asking out of just about ALWAYS get screwed.

        Also, you can’t really compare Carter and O’Reilly in the playoffs yet. Both were nearly point per game players. The Avs just didn’t go as far. The only point you could make is Carter is more experienced and proven. Which is absolutely true. But to that the point can be made that O’Reilly is only 23…and has more future.

      • mb30forlife - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        Duchene in highly under paid. So is Landeskog…. COL is very cheap except for some reason Varlamov is making way more than he deserves. Although, he is starting to live up to it more and more.

      • jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        mb30forlife: you’re an idiot. How is Duchene remotely under paid? Tavares makes less than Duchene and has 50 more career points. If anyone is under paid then it’s him, not Duchene. Landeskog is where he should be, and Varlamov hasn’t even seen a dime of his extension yet considering it goes into effect next season, so he’s starting to live up to his contract that goes into effect NEXT YEAR. Varlamov will be making 1.1mm less than Rask. For a Vezina calibre #1 goalie, 5.9 is about as solid as it gets.

      • mb30forlife - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        Did I say Tavares was over paid? NO…. Its another cheap organization….

      • rsmaggiemae - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        The Canadian press and NHL broadcasters dont pick the Avs to make the playoffs this coming season now that Stasny is gone.. and they got Iginla… who I doubt will be able to keep up with Dechene and McKinnon they will probably have to say to Iginla see you down ice in 10 seconds… I personally dont think this is going to work out for the Avs

      • jernster21 - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        They didn’t pick the Avs to make the playoffs this past season either and they won the Central division. Haters gonna hate.

  5. wutangwild - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    I think the Avs offer is fair, but this doesn’t seem like it will end well. That’s quite a substantial gap to close, and C.R.E.A.M. is still the motto

  6. jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Mikey, any word on whether he chose a 1 or 2 year deal coming out of arb? If I understand correctly, he had to submit that piece of information in addition to the financial details outlined in this article.

    • Mike Halford - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Don’t have anything there yet. Will update post if info becomes available.

      • jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        Looks like it’s for 1 year.

    • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      He can choose 1 or 2 years.

  7. stcrowe - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Considering the past and current negotiations, it is safe to guess that ROR doesn’t envision himself staying in Colorado long-term. Management seems to have the same feeling about him.

  8. gbatap - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    More money then Jamie Benn and Seguin? Seems legit.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      I take it “Seems Legit” was a bit of sarcasm?

      • gbatap - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        Just a tad.

    • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      I agree with your sarcasm and the Arb will look at those two, Evander Kane as comparables.

  9. pone27 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    ROR deserves a contract in the 4-5 mil range, at best.

    I don’t like the comparisons in using Thornton and Carter. Both are respectively different players than ROR. Thornton deserves his salary hands down. Guy is among the top in assists every single season, is a superb face off taker, and can play a very physical game. Carter is a pure sniper. Decent passing, good legs, but his shot is what takes him over the top.

    ROR is still young. Kid is only 23, had his best season in a (go figure) contract year, and he wants to make top forward cash. He made 6.5mil (!!!!) last season. That means he is/was making Kane (before extension), Sharp, Backstrom etc. cash. Now he deserves more than Gaborik, Tavares, Pavelski, Couture, Ryan, and Seguin!?

    When you want that much money, you are talking about being a perennial top forward for your team. I am pretty sure that I would take Duchense, Landeskog, and MacKinnon over ROR in a heartbeat. MacKinnon is going to want and will deserve a contract like that in 2-3 years.

    • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Spot on. Now that ROR will have a known contract and likely a fair and reasonable contract, he will be able to be moved IF the Avs sense he isn’t happy with the Arbs decision.

      If he isn’t happy with the Arbs decision, it says a lot about ROR and his perception of self worth. He could easily become a contract nightmare. While I like ROR and what he brings to the Avs, he isn’t greater than the team itself and he is replaceable. If he isn’t willing to allow the team to build because he needs to be overpaid, then good riddance.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Yeah but in today’s NHL you can’t just say “this player is better and makes less, so O’Reilly should do the same”. It doesn’t work like that. Based on his production and age, sure, he really equals out to a 4-5 player but in case you haven’t noticed in the current marketplace 4-5 players are now making 6. Everything is inflated. Tavares signed his deal (5.5) before 12-13 and it’s a HUGE bargain. If he was up for an extension today he’d be getting in the 7-8 range, maybe more. Seguin (5.75) signed his deal before he was a PPG player this past season and now would be in the 7+ range. Dave Bolland and David Clarkson are 5+ player (UFAs, I know, but still). Bottom pairing defensemen like Nikita Nikitin are getting 4+… it’s insane but in just a few years players salaries have gone haywire. In 2-3 years Mackinnon (if he keeps improving) will be a 7-9 guy. It’s far from logical but it’s just the way the league is.

      Based on where the current market is set ROR is easily a 5.5+ player, even if logically he should only be in the 4-5 range.

      • jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        “Yeah but in today’s NHL you can’t just say “this player is better and makes less, so O’Reilly should do the same”.”

        Actually you can, it’s called arbitration.

      • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        I agree! The AVS were willing to give him $5.525. I’m sure they would have even gone higher, perhaps up to $6 but ROR was not willing. So the Arb will decide based on many factors that are concrete. Look at Sobotka’s deal. The Blues were fair and reasonable and he didn’t accept that. Then the Arb determined $2.7, which was the same as the Blues last offer, AFTER offering north of $3 for Sobotka’s choice of length.

        There is a team structure that teams have to follow. This is the new post CAP NHL.

        Since you mentioned Mackinnon, don’t you think the AVS are looking at that coming down the pipe? They know they will need to pay him and also Tyson Barrie who is an RFA. They will be expensive and they want to keep them based on last season. So what do you do? Overpay ROR and then not be able to work out a deal with Mac? Or do you Arb ROR, let an arbitrator determine his deal then trade him and his known, fair and marketable contract.

        I would work out a deal with Winnipeg for Kane and be done with ROR, UNLESS he realizes he fits into a team payroll and a structure that needs to pay other stars as well. ROR didn’t win a Calder, wasn’t even in the conversation. Mackinnon did and Duchene and Landy were both runner ups. Based on their performance, they are and have been more valuable but they also realize they need to fit into a team structure and salary model.

      • jernster21 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Landeskog also won the Calder trophy…

  10. enzod91 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Sakic thinks that bc Duchene is only making 6mil that he doesnt have to pay ROR anything more than that…well guess what Joe, the salary cap is rising so contracts are going to be bigger. You cant compare ROR’s contract this summer to Duchene’s from several years ago bc the cap is almost 10 mil higher. Keep calling it “salary structure” and keep watching your best players leave you fool

    • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      you know what Joe is thinking? You call him a fool.

      You are stutarded.

      • enzod91 - Jul 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        he has publicly stated that he thinks nobody on the team should be paid more than Duchene bc its the “salary structure”… so yes when he says out loud to reporters we all know what he is thinking

      • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Because in order to pay guys like Duchene, Landeskog, Mackinnon, Johnson, Iginla, etc. a team needs to have a structure in order to stay below the cap. When the Avs are all done signing their RFA’s, they will be at the cap.

        Capishe! It’s really pretty simple. You cannot have players that are not your best, blowing up your structure or you run into cap trouble.

        Besides, ROR is not worth $6.7 to this team! He might be for another team, but not this team. The bottom line is an Arb will decide his worth and the Avs will pay it. An educated risk they took.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        With about 8.8 in cap space it’s true that after they’re done with O’Reilly and Barrie they’ll be close or at the limit but giving ROR around 6.0 for 2 years hardly screws up their salary structure. First off he will be a UFA in 2 years (when Mackinnon is up for his new contract) so they can let him walk or deal him if they’re really worried about space Mackinnon. Beyond that, after this season the Avs will be losing Briere, Mcleod, Stuart, Hejda, and Wilson… that frees up over $14 million in cap space following this season. And that’s before mentioning about $5 million extra on next years cap limit. Then, by the time Mackinnon is up for a new deal in 2 years there will be even more contracts (like Tanguay, Talbot, and McGinn) coming off the books.

        No matter what the Avs will have plenty of cap room to resign their young stars. Now I agree it obviously makes sense for them to try and get O’Reilly as cheap as possible but they cannot use cap space (or salary structure) as a legitimate reason for not resigning him. And if they let him walk it will be a big blow to the talent base in Colorado, even if Avs fans keep telling themselves it’ll be alright.

      • avscup - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        O’Reilly wants $6.7 and as far as you or I know, wouldn’t accept $6! As for the contracts coming off the books, don’t you think those players will need to be replaced? Most likely at higher numbers or if they resign, for sure higher numbers. So then back to the cap limit!

        It’s easy to sit here and speculate into the future on one contract. Try doing it with dozens of contracts. But still the bottom line is ROR wants promo dollars and has not earned that yet.

  11. jkaflagg - Jul 21, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    5.5 seems pretty reasonable….but any agent worth his salt will argue that he should not have to take less money than he made last season, despite the somewhat artificial inflation he got due to the Avs matching the Calgary offer. Don’t blame the Avs for wanting to hold the line (especially considering what they’ll have to shell out to keep their young core intact in the next few years), but hope this doesn’t become a big issue as they try to join the big boys in the West….

    • cliffatola - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Jay Feaster forced this issue when he signed him to that outlandish offer sheet a few seasons ago which Colorado matched to retain him. Under the rules of the CBA they can offer less but only a percentage which they have. If O’Reilly had signed with Colorado prior to that ludicrous offer sheet from Calgary they likely would not be in this position and O’Reilly would likely be happy at 5.5m this year but since Colorado was forced by Calgary to pay him more at this point they would have been better off letting him walk and taking the compensation since Calgary has been so bad the last few years they would have likely got some nice prospects in return.

  12. cliffatola - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Feaster must have been in insulin shock when he wrote that offer sheet. Haha

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