Sunday, February 10, 2013
Why arbitration could slow O'Reilly deal
By Luke Lapinski
Ryan O'Reilly still isn't signed. In fact, as we noted earlier this week, there's a growing possibility that the restricted free agent may ultimately just end up elsewhere if he and the Colorado Avalanche can't start agreeing on some things pretty soon.
On the surface, this stalemate seems to be hurting all parties involved. At 22 years of age, O'Reilly is coming off his best NHL season (55 points) and it would make sense for him to be on the ice, building off that impressive run and showing that he can produce near that level on a consistent basis. Meanwhile, the Avs need a forward who can step in and produce right now. Gabriel Landeskog and Steve Downie are both hurt, and the team is averaging just 2.10 goals per game so far. Semyon Varlamov has been decent between the pipes but, if no one puts the puck in the other net, it's going to be tough for Colorado to win games. And that's becoming evident.
Of course, this is exactly where O'Reilly could step in, which must make the situation even more frustrating for fans in Denver. Adrian Dater suggests there could be another possible reason for why this whole scenario is taking so long to resolve itself though. He notes that O'Reilly becomes eligible for arbitration this summer if he plays in at least six games this season. While that obviously wouldn't be a good enough reason for Colorado to put off signing him, it likely takes away the option of a short-term deal. And, with the way these talks are going, eliminating any option isn't helping at the moment.