Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/18/13 at 11:05 AM ET
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Part of the Avalanche turmoil, of course, is fourth-year center Ryan O'Reilly's continued unsigned status as a restricted free agent. The Avalanche continues to have severe penalty-killing problems, and the franchise hasn't been able to come to terms with one of the top young defensive-oriented centers in the NHL — one who pitched in enough at the offensive end to lead punchless Colorado in points a season ago?
I'll keep typing and saying this until my fingers hurt and my voice gets hoarse: Pox on both houses for not negotiating professionally and reaching a compromise. Those who want to reduce this to "the Avs and/or the Kroenke ownership are cheap" are missing the bigger issue: This is about a wait-your-turn and slotting protocol. Get paid fairly, even lucratively, through the process ... and then the cash register rings even louder when you're about to reach, or reach, unrestricted free agency.
The Avs believe in that concept, as championed by president Pierre Lacroix, the former agent. With Francois Giguere as general manager, they stepped away from it in prematurely signing Paul Stastny to a five-year, $33 million extension ... and learned from it. No team paying David Jones and P.A. Parenteau each $16 million over four years is "cheap." But on the verge of unrestricted status, Jones re-signed with the Avs, and Parenteau was a UFA when he left the Islanders to come to Colorado last summer.
The contrast between O'Reilly and Matt Duchene — the No. 33 and No. 3 overall picks in the 2009 draft who last summer were coming off their three-year, entry-level contracts — is even more interesting now than it was when the season opened.
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