The good news is that Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly previously reported foot injury is only a minor sprained ankle, according to the Denver Post. The bad news is, well, basically everything else regarding the O’Reilly situation.
Nearly two weeks into the regular season, the 21-year-old forward is still a restricted free agent. To make matters worse, there’s reportedly been little to no contact recently between the Avalanche and O’Reilly’s agents, Mark Guy and Pat Morris.
O’Reilly has been offered separate two-year, $7 million and five-year, $17 million contracts, but it’s believed that he wants a deal that reflects both his skills as a two-way forward and his breakout 55-point campaign in 2011-12. The Avalanche are likely looking to hedge their bets, given that the Ontario-native had just 52 points over his first two seasons.
The Avalanche don’t want to trade him and they will still control his NHL rights even if they don’t sign him this season.
Still, the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater argues that them playing hardball for so long with a potential franchise player might backfire in a big way:
The Avs have just let this kind of thing go on for way too long with players. They cut off their nose to spite their face time and again with players who want what – fair or not – is their perceived value. Then they leave and thrive elsewhere. Maybe it’s time for Avs management to take a good hard look in the mirror and say “Maybe it’s us, not them” as to why players seem to do great things away from this team, after, you know, other teams show they care about them at the bargaining table.
On top of that, the Avalanche do need his help in the short-term as well. They have already lost forward Steve Downie for the rest of the season and captain Gabriel Landeskog missed his second straight contest on Wednesday with head and neck injuries.
With those two players out of the lineup and O’Reilly still unsigned, Colorado suffered a 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday to fall to 2-4-0 this season.