It looks like the Colorado Avalanche and restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly are going to spend Wednesday in a Toronto courtroom.
When the Avalanche decided to take O’Reilly to arbitration, there was hope the two sides could get something done before heading to court. As Adrian Dater of The Denver Post writes, that doesn’t seem likely now and the relationship between the player and team seems even more fractured.
O’Reilly can decide to take a one or two-year reward in arbitration, should it get there and it likely will, and Dater says it’s likely he’ll go for a one-year reward. The reason for that is it’ll ensure that he’ll get a qualifying offer of around $6 million next summer should the Avalanche wind up going down this road with him one more time.
As for how things got to this point between the two sides, last year’s acrimony that led to the Calgary Flames signing O’Reilly to an offer sheet helped kick it off. The Avalanche’s inability to get a long-term deal done with O’Reilly in the meantime didn’t help and then they sealed things up by taking him to arbitration this summer.
O’Reilly is two years away from being an unrestricted free agency and if the relationship between the two sides is really that broken, it just seems like it’ll be a matter of time before they trade him. Things can change, but how Wednesday’s hearing (again, should it happen) will be telling.