PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 06: Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 6, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Agent: deal between Avs, O’Reilly ‘isn’t close to being worked out’


“Ryan would like to stay in Colorado. At the same time, a long-term deal has not been worked out, or isn’t close to being worked out. So, Ryan’s unrestricted in two years, and under the model now – given that Colorado has [filed for arbitration] – short-term looks like what the future is for Ryan going forward, possibly year to year, or for the next two years.”

That was Ryan O’Reilly’s agent, Pat Morris, this afternoon on Sportsnet 590 The FAN radio in Toronto.

In case you couldn’t tell, it was a strong message to the Avalanche that the team is playing a dangerous game, and risks losing the 23-year-old forward for nothing in a couple of years.

“We’re now preparing for an arbitration case that we didn’t think we’d have to attend to,” said Morris. “And at the same time, as of the 25th of June, people can entertain talking to [restricted free agents], and he’s an RFA effectively until July 5th, at which time period then it’s just an arbitration case beyond that.”

If it does go to arbitration, O’Reilly could pick a one-year or two-year award. Or, he could sign an offer sheet between July 1-5.

“We had some warning that the [arbitration option] might be a situation that they take advantage of,” said Morris. “It’s within the CBA. Ryan understands that. He also understands that it’s unique – no player (in the new CBA) has been [taken to arbitration] for a pay-cut that is of his stature.”

All of which is why, unless a long-term deal is signed soon, you can expect to hear O’Reilly’s name in trade speculation. Remember that things got ugly between him and the Avs the last time they tried to work out a deal, and while RFA negotiations can often be tough, they don’t seem to be headed in the right direction, once again.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.