After months of stalemated negotiations, the Ryan O’Reilly RFA dramatics ended hours after the Calgary Flames got the 22-year-old center to sign their offer sheet. The Colorado Avalanche, barely taking time to thoroughly read through the contract, matched almost immediately and passed on a first and third round pick from the Calgary Flames.
Given the lack of progress that the Colorado Avalanche were able to make, did the Calgary Flames do the Avs a favor by signing Ryan O’Reilly to an offer sheet?
By acting as something of an arbitrator, the Flames helped get the top-scorer of the Colorado Avalanche back on the ice. Had the Calgary Flames not stepped in, Ryan O’Reilly would likely have remained an RFA, sitting out while the Avs balked at his lofty contract expectations.
Still, it may be for the best for the Calgary Flames that the Colorado Avalanche elected to match their offer sheet. Losing a first and a third round pick for O’Reilly, in addition to signing him to a contract he did not yet earn at the NHL level, could have proven to be a disaster.
While the Flames are desperate to add more scoring as they surge out of the Western Conference basement, O’Reilly is a half-point per game scorer throughout his career. He has potential, but most of that potential likely won’t be realized during the life of the two-year deal he signed. O’Reilly will get a big pay day when he hits unrestricted free agency if his RFA offer is any indication of his open market value, and a two-year rental for ten million dollars simply isn’t worthwhile.