Colorado Avalanche elect for arbitration with Ryan O'Reilly

The Colorado Avalanche aren’t getting anything easy with Ryan O’Reilly. Now it appears the two parties will need a third to sort out this latest messy round of contract negotiations, as the team has opted for arbitration with their young center.

The Denver Post‘s Adrian Dater writes that the Avalanche electing for arbitration with Ryan O’Reilly is the team’s way of trying to wipe the slate clean from the offer sheet fiasco of two years ago, when the Calgary Flames offered O’Reilly a two-year deal worth $10 million. The second year of that deal, this past season, paid O’Reilly $6.5M, which the Avalanche would now have to offer him as a restricted free agent.

On the arbitration move, Dater notes:

O’Reilly could have accepted [$6.5M] outright on a one-year deal, or he could have declined it and held out for more. In either case, though, the Avs would have held on to his rights. By electing for arbitration, the Avs get to go to a third-party and say “Hey, we never wanted to pay him $6.5 million, but we had it shoved down our throats by another team. Yeah, that was our fault for letting it get that far, but now we want YOU, arbitrator, to come up with a more reasonable number for him this coming season.”

Given that O’Reilly’s deal averaged out to $5 million/year, the Avs are hoping to slide the young center’s salary figure in that direction for next year. A mutual agreement to the arbitrator’s ruling will result in a binding agreement so both parties will be cautious, but as Dater tweets:

Expect to see Ryan O’Reilly back in an Avs sweater this fall and beyond until he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Then the Avalanche will need to put up or shut up if they want to keep one of the most promising and efficient defensive centers in the league.

Tags: Ryan O'Reilly

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