Duchene, O’Reilly and Colorado’s $6M ceiling


It’s almost odd that it took so long for an Avalanche player to at least mildly criticize Ryan O'Reilly.

To many, “ROR” leaving Colorado was a matter of when, not if, ever since that strange offer sheet drama fizzled out back in 2013.

Matt Duchene provided somewhat spicy remarks – at least by hockey player standards – to the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers.

Here’s a chunk of those comments, noting that Duchene still calls O’Reilly “Factor” after Bill O’Reilly’s show, which ranks as a clever nickname by hockey standards.

” … Factor was always a guy who came — when he was at the rink — he worked hard. And he was a good teammate, at the rink,” Duchene said. “He worked hard on the ice. I think the biggest thing is, contract-wise, it just wasn’t working.”

Duchene went on to say that it wasn’t “his business” and he wasn’t “in the room” when deals were made, but that Denver Post article certainly implies that business became at least a little personal.

Maybe more interesting as far as future contracts go, it sounds like the Avalanche are imposing an internal ceiling of $6 million for any player, via Chambers:

It has become obvious that the individual contract ceiling for the Avalanche is a $6 million cap hit. Matt Duchene is maxed out, Ryan O’Reilly was maxed out, and Erik Johnson will become maxed out next season. Semyon Varlamov is at $5.9 million and captain Gabe Landeskog $5,571,428. All long-term deals.

The $6 million question might be: will that hit a snag with Nathan MacKinnon and/or Tyson Barrie?

Yes, they’re both RFAs, but Barrie brings a lot of earning potential to the table as a near-elite scoring defenseman while MacKinnon is … MacKinnon.

(You think he’s a little jealous of all the attention Connor McDavid is getting?)

It all makes you wonder if Avalanche management might put themselves in jeopardy of fighting offer sheets, and maybe even ones that would actually be valid.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Avalanche face the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 20 and Feb. 14.

Perhaps O’Reilly will exceed his yearly allotment of penalty minutes against his former colleagues?