We may have finally seen the breaking point between Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche to the point where the relationship is beyond repair and the restricted free agent forward stands on the verge of ending up on a new club.
O’Reilly remains the only RFA without a new contract after Jamie Benn and P.K. Subban each came to their senses after brief holdouts to start the season. He’s not likely to take a similar route and it now looks like he will be traded rather than re-signed.
The 22-year-old forward is negotiating his first real contract since he came into the league, so it’s understandable that he’d want a raise, especially after a 55-point campaign last season in the last year of his entry-level contract, but the Avalanche have refused to budge.
This means that O’Reilly is probably going to be traded with the Avs reportedly asking for an NHL player and top prospect in a deal. Whether or not they’ll get it, given the situation, remains to be seen. By “given the situation” I mean that everyone knows O’Reilly is going to be traded. Where’s the leverage for Colorado?
Assuming he or the Avs don’t have a last second change of heart, where could we see O’Reilly end up, though? There are obviously more than a few teams that would be interested in a budding young offensive center who is just starting to come into his own and is still just 22.
Who is willing to surrender the type of package that the Avalanche are asking for, though, is going to be a tough question to answer. Almost any team out there is going to be interested in O’Reilly, to some degree. But it’s hard to see a contender handing over the package to acquire him. It could end up being a team that is further away from contention–someone like the Winnipeg Jets, perhaps?
A team that wants to bring in O’Reilly and use him as a building block for their franchise is the team that probably has the best shot at getting him, simply because they’ll give up the necessary pieces.
Regardless of who ends up acquiring O’Reilly, it’s about time that the Avalanche cleanse themselves of this situation. It’s one that is embarrassing for both sides, simply needs to come to a resolution and one that probably involves O’Reilly donning a new sweater in the very near future.