We all know that Ryan O’Reilly and the Avs are in a contract dispute. I’m sure most everybody knows by now the two main offers that the Avs made towards O’Reilly (Adrian Dater reported this for the Denver Post.)
First, they offered him a five year deal worth a total $17 million. When he and his agent rejected that, they offered him a three year deal worth $17 million. Now he’s playing in Russia (some reports say for $4 million per year, on a two year deal.) The Avs are still negotiating with him, and say that they are not looking to trade him (yet). Reportedly, O’Reilly is looking for a five year deal worth $5 million a year.
Basically, now we’re O’Reilly-less in Colorado. So, what do we make of this situation?
O’Reilly is an important part of the team. He led the team in scoring last year (55 points). He had more takeaways than anyone else in the league last year (102). He’s a hard worker, he’s well-liked.
When news of the dispute began to leak out, everyone heard that O’Reilly wanted five years, not the three years the Avs were willing to give him. It seemed petty of the Avs to refuse him the extra two years. Now we’re left feeling more conflicted. The Avs offered him the five years, but the money wasn’t enough? Then they offered him the same amount of money for a shorter time period, but the time wasn’t enough? While I’m sure things are more complex than that (aren’t they always?) for now, it sappears O’Reilly and his camp are no longer blameless.
I spoke here about what sort of contract I thought he deserved ($3.5-$4 million for four or five years). I still think that’s an accurate statement. It appears he wants more money (although he’s supposedly playing for less in the KHL, a league that uses suspect transportation and is missing the best players in the world.)
Basically, I’m confused. O’Reilly is a hard worker, someone who is very modest. If I had to pick out any player on the team to be in a contract dispute, O’Reilly would be the last on my list. Why then, is he holding out for more time (when it’s clearly been proven that a lengthy, expensive contract does not hold a team back from trading you to a willing partner), when he could be earning $5.67 million for the next three years (a pricetag that I think is a little inflated for someone who has only 107 points in 236 games, 0.453 points per game, thus far)? If the length is the important part, why is he quibbling over earning a very solid $3.4 million per year?
Strangely, I find myself siding with the Avalanche. On a contract dispute. Let me say that again, for the record. Right now, I think the Avalanche are being fair in their contract offers towards center Ryan O’Reilly.
I don’t believe they should completely submit to give him exactly what he wants (this needs to be a compromise for both sides), but the main priority is to get O’Reilly back on Pepsi Center ice. He and his agent need to be a bit more reasonable with their demands, the Avs need to meet them in the middle, and they need to meet quickly, and get #37 back on the ice. This is a team game, and the team is bigger than one player. This team can win without O’Reilly , but why should they have to? O’Reilly can play in the KHL and make a fair amount of money, but he can’t win the Stanley Cup in Russia. The Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal for any hockey player, and the ultimate goal for every team. These two sides need to come together soon. It’s time to stop this game of chicken, this staring contest. I want to go back to debating about having three top two centers. Sherman, O’Reilly: Make it happen.