It’s been nearly a year since the Colorado Avalanche matched the Calgary Flames’ offer sheet on forward Ryan O’Reilly. On Feb. 28 they’re eligible to trade him if they wish, but the impending restricted free agent is reportedly very much in the team’s plans.
Adrian Dater of The Denver Post reports that Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic is ready to open up negotiations with O’Reilly over the summer about an extension.
O’Reilly, 22, signed a two-year, $10 million deal last February after not coming to an agreement with the Avs through the start of the season. That’s when Calgary moved in with their offer sheet which the Avalanche didn’t waste any time in matching.
This season, O’Reilly is trying to make the case for a similarly doled out contract with 21 goals and 41 points in 56 games. Those numbers put him fourth on the Avalanche in scoring.
The one big thing in O’Reilly’s situation is his qualifying offer. In order to retain his negotiating rights, they have to extend one to him worth $6.5 million according to CapGeek.com.
The player can always reject the qualifying offer to work on a deal more to their liking, but if talks look like they’ll get rough O’Reilly could accept it and put the Avs on the hook for that amount both in salary and against the cap. If nothing else, that’ll be the perfect motivation for the team to get an extension done no matter what.