Well, it might be time for Avalanche fans to say their goodbyes to star Center Ryan O’Reilly. On Thursday around 1:45 pm MT, ESPN reported that the Calgary Flames have signed O’Reilly to a $10 million, two-year offer sheet.
While the Avs have until March 7th to match the offer sheet, there’s little chance that’s going to happen. In the offer sheet, O’Reilly would be set to make close to $6.5 million in the second year, and then hit unrestricted free agency after the expiration of the contract.
That isn’t good news for the chances of the Avalanche matching the offer sheet, as they had already been in disputes with O’Reilly’s camp with him asking for close to $5 million per season. While O’Reilly doesn’t get the 3-4 year deal he reportedly wanted in this case, this 2-year offer sheet from the Flames could be the worst possible scenario for Avs fans. I don’t expect the Avs front office is going to be willing to unload this kind of money in a 2-year offer match when they were already fighting the idea of spreading the money out over 3-4 years for O’Reilly. GM Greg Sherman and the rest of the Avalanche front office had already made it clear that they weren’t going to budge on their offer to O’Reilly, hence why there’s been a dispute since the end of the NHL lockout.
This contract offer sheet from the Calgary seems like it will most certainly book O’Reilly’s plane ticket out of Colorado and out to the divisional rival Flames. I would be very surprised if the Avalanche match this offer sheet.
If they don’t, the Avs would receive first and third round draft picks as compensation.
UPDATE: During the 2nd period against the Flames (ironically enough), the Avs matched Calgary’s offer sheet and O’Reilly played in his first game for the Avs on Sunday in the 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.