Ryan O’Reilly signs two-year deal to avoid arbitration
Two seasons ago, Ryan O’Reilly nearly left the Colorado Avalanche after signing a two-year, $10 million offer sheet from Calgary. After yet another contract dispute this offseason, relations between O’Reilly and Colorado seemed to be tenuous at best.
While the Avalanche and O’Reilly appeared set to extend this dispute further into the offseason, the drama ended prior to Wednesday’s scheduled arbitration hearing.
O’Reilly has signed another two-year contract to stay with the Avalanche. The consensus among media reports is that the deal will average $6 million per year, setting the bar high for O’Reilly.
Last year, the 23-year-old forward led Colorado with 28 goals to go with 36 assists, and won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL’s most gentlemanly player. O’Reilly, Matt Duchene, and Nathan MacKinnon form a trio of forwards that, if Colorado can keep all three of them in town, will be a foundation for the team moving into the future.
A compromise outside of arbitration was extremely unexpected, as the two sides were far apart on what they expected to receive in court.
Ryan O’Reilly asking for $6.75 million in arbitration. Avs offering $5.525 million. O’Reilly elects one-year deal.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) July 21, 2014
O’Reilly certainly has a case for identifying himself as a star player for the Avalanche and being paid as such. Over his last three seasons, O’Reilly has accumulated 139 points in 190 games while taking an absurdly-low 18 penalty minutes. He is a stellar two-way forward that provides a desirable contrast to the more offensively-geared Duchene and MacKinnon.
Moving forward, it is tough to see whether O’Reilly will be a member of the Avalanche beyond this contract. Avalanche beat writer Adrian Dater of the Denver Post seems to believe that this will be the last contract that O’Reilly ever signs with the club. The team could certainly use O’Reilly in a trade to upgrade the team’s blue line, as the defensive group was a major hindrance during Colorado’s seven-game playoff loss to the Minnesota Wild.
At least for the time being, O’Reilly is a member of the Colorado Avalanche. How long that remains the case is certainly up in the air.
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Around the Rink Assistant Site Manager Joe Ray – @jpray_SK
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