Antti Niemi, Ryan O'Reilly

Avs, Ryan O’Reilly to resume negotiating in a “week or two”


The Colorado Avalanche went into this summer with a ton of free agent questions to answer and solved almost all of those riddles.

Still, there’s one rather important restricted free agent to re-sign: Ryan O’Reilly. Adrian Dater reports that the Avs and O’Reilly’s agent are expected to resume contract talks “in a week or two.”

Earlier this offseason, Dater wondered if Matt Duchene’s negotiations were halting talks between the two sides. That problem is long gone, though.

The big question might just be: how much is O’Reilly really worth? He exploded last season with 18 goals and 55 points, crushing the 26 points he compiled in each of his first two campaigns.

It’s not just his output that’s drawing rave reviews, though. Dater spoke of his creativity while Mike Chambers praised his work ethic:

While his teammates are headed to lunch or a post-game meal, O’Reilly is typically playing on-ice games by himself, running the arena stairs or throwing around a medicine ball. He is the epitome of a hard-working professional athlete who really cares.

Perhaps the two sides will determine how much his hard work is worth in a couple weeks, then.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.