Another deal has been done without arbitration, and this is a big one. The Colorado Avalanche have come to terms with forward Ryan O’Reilly on a two-year contract reportedly worth $5.8 million in the first year and $6.2 million in the second.
That’s a cap hit of $6 million for O’Reilly, the same as Matt Duchene’s. The difference is, O’Reilly is only signed for two more years and Duchene is locked up through 2018-19.
So there still be questions about the relationship between O’Reilly and the Avs. The 23-year-old can now become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, with the ability to walk away from Colorado for nothing in return, a la Paul Stastny.
While a long-term contract could still be worked out between now and then, don’t expect the trade speculation to go away if one isn’t.