Colorado Avalanche await arbitration after stalled talks with Ryan O'Reilly

The Colorado Avalanche appear set for arbitration after more fruitless contract talks with Ryan O’Reilly. Adrian Dater at the Denver Post writes that the two parties couldn’t find common ground on a long-term deal and will now await an arbitration hearing on July 23.

It’s a saga that’s stretched over three years to this point. Ryan O’Reilly is one of the best young defensive forwards in the league, but the Colorado Avalanche have a bunch of talented young forwards and a strict budget. After having matched a two-year offer sheet from the Calgary Flames, the Avalanche bade their time seemingly certain in the knowledge that they’d take O’Reilly to arbitration. To do anything else would cost the team even more money.

As Dater writes:

When the Avs filed for arbitration with O’Reilly, they did it because the team would have had to give him a qualifying offer of his last base salary — $6.5 million — to retain his rights because he is a restricted free agent.

O’Reilly could have pocketed that, or even declined it and held out for more — and he has held out from the team once before, which led to him receiving a two-year, $10 million offer sheet from the Calgary Flames in 2013.

The team would rather pay closer to the average of the two-year deal than they would the salary paid to O’Reilly last season. That will be at the crux of the argument between the two parties should they remain in disagreement over a long-term contract by July 23. The question now isn’t whether or not O’Reilly will stay in Colorado — he will for at least the next two seasons — but if there’s any chance the forward is an Avalanche beyond that, when O’Reilly becomes an unrestricted free agent. From here, those odds look slim.

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Tags: Colorado Avalanche

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