Report: Avs, O’Reilly likely headed to arbitration

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From the Denver Post:

Negotiations toward a new, long-term contract between the Avalanche and left wing Ryan O’Reilly proved fruitless, so the parties are headed to arbitration on July 23, an NHL source said.

While the Avs and O’Reilly could still avoid arbitration by agreeing to a deal before that, such a prospect appears unlikely.

The Avs filed for arbitration last month — a move that didn’t sit particularly well with O’Reilly’s agent, Pat Morris.

“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,” said Morris.

It’s worth wondering how much pressure the loss of Paul Stastny in free agency has put on Avs management to get O’Reilly signed to a long-term deal. We’d wager the pressure is considerable.

That being said, there’s a salary “structure” in Colorado, with Matt Duchene’s five-year, $30 million deal ($6 million cap hit) being a crucial building block of that structure. No player on the Avs has a higher cap hit than Duchene’s, and the Avs would probably like to keep it that way.

If this does go to arbitration, O’Reilly will have the choice of a one-year or two-year award.