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The Colorado Avalanche Had Enough Of Ryan O’Reilly

from Terry Frei of The Denver Post,

Last week, word came that the Buffalo Sabres signed former Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension that kicks in after he make $6.2 million this season and takes him through 2022-23. The deal calls for him to make $11 million in 2016-17 and slide down to $6 million in each of the final four years. The annual cap hit is $7.5 million.

O'Reilly is respected for his work ethic, which stacks up with that of anyone in the NHL. Fans, media and, most important, the Avalanche "got" that his contributions go far beyond the simply quantifiable. (No, I'm not stooping to citing analytics, but offering conclusions reached by actually watching him play.) Yet the virtually universal reaction to his departure has been: Good riddance. I'm not sure I've ever seen a player so respected told so universally to not let the door hit him on the way out....

O'Reilly already had been inordinately rewarded for his contributions. The salary benchmark was raised when the Calgary Flames signed him to an offer sheet — that involved organizational spite as much as coldhearted evaluation — but the Avalanche willingly went along with it by matching and then reaching a two-year, $12 million deal with him last year minutes in advance of an arbitration heading.

The Avalanche finally had enough.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+o'reilly



Man, I thought this guy lost his job. He’s still out there polluting the hockey universe?

Posted by teldar on 07/06/15 at 08:24 AM ET


I think you’re thinking of Adrian Dater.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/15 at 08:55 AM ET


All the hockey writers seem to have a problem with the money NHL players get. Toronto writers with Kessel & Phaneuf, this guy to a lesser extent with O’Reilly. Read a column by a Chicago writer who was mad that Saad left for an extra million dollars, that if he took a million less than Columbus gave him he could have remained a Blackhawk. If someone is willing to give large sums of money I do not blame the players for taking it, I know I would take if offered. I guess following players after a while makes the sports reporters jealous of the rewards pro athletes get compared to lowly beat reporters.

Posted by Puckbubba on 07/06/15 at 09:23 AM ET

awould's avatar

No, I’m not stooping to citing analytics, but offering conclusions reached by actually watching him play.

Citing stats isn’t stooping for anything, and it’s tiresome that it still gets implied anytime somebody does lean on stats, they must not “actually watching him play.”

O’Reilly earned his paycheck. Just because he wouldn’t take a discount to stay in Denver doesn’t mean a thing. Denver would’ve signed him if they didn’t have to prepare to pay MacKinnon a king’s ransom next year. With Duchene, Landeskog and MacKinnon on the team, O’Reilly was the odd-man out and the media used the offer sheet, which he had no control over (to my knowledge), to vilify him.

Posted by awould on 07/06/15 at 11:15 AM ET


the offer sheet, which he had no control over (to my knowledge)

Of course he did.  A team has to offer the contract and the player has to accept it.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/15 at 11:27 AM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Garth on 07/06/15 at 11:27 AM ET

Good point. I wasn’t aware the player had to agree, though now that I think about it, it seems stupid of me to have not realized that. Is the only way for a player to avoid receiving an offer sheet to file for arbitration? I mean, that would be the sticking point to me is if a player leaves themselves open to it…. they’re so rarely used and when they are, it seems hard for a player to not sign it, unless it’s for a truly terrible team and the money isn’t worth it.

Posted by awould on 07/06/15 at 12:34 PM ET


I think the main reason they’re so rare is that in order to get a player to sign one you have to convince him to basically screw over his current team so you have to appeal to his greed and end up paying too much.

And I think it’s hard for a player not to sign it because it pretty much always is such an overpayment.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/15 at 02:27 PM ET

awould's avatar

I always thought they were rare because the GMs were hesitant to screw each other over too much, ruin relationships, and maybe most importantly, inflate salaries.

I wonder how many have been offered and not signed…. I googled but couldn’t find a list easily.

Posted by awould on 07/06/15 at 02:31 PM ET


I’m sure that’s a big part of it too.

I’d love to know how many players have been approached to sign offer sheets but declined.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/15 at 03:32 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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