With the shortened season, teams can ill afford a losing streak, as it may cost them a playoff spot. Injuries will play a big part, especially if it involves a top player. In two remaining cases, unsigned restricted free agents could play a big role in a teams position in the final standings.
The Montreal Canadiens weren’t expected by many to be a playoffs, with or without current RFA, P.K. Subban. Things may be different in Colorado, as the Avalanche were coming off an 88 point season. They are a young team, and if they were able to get on good roll, they might be able to challenge for one of the last playoff spots in the West. Having Ryan O’Reilly would be key for their playoff hopes.
The Colorado Avalanche are off to 2-2-0 start, and are doing so with our their leading scorer from last season. O’Reilly led the Avs with 55 points last year, 18 goals and 37 assists.
O’Reilly is noted for being one of the better, young two-centers in the game. Being without him is a major blow to the Avs.
The Avalanche have left a 2 year, $7 million ‘bridge’ offer on the table, the same deal that Matt Duchene is on.
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post wonders if fans should get use to the idea of not having O’Reilly in the Avs lineup. On a long-term deal they are about $8 million apart. On a short term deal, he’s likely looking for $4 million plus. O’Reilly’s agent, Mark Guy, has disputed that they are looking for a $5 million a year deal.
The Avs have approximately $18 million in cap space, so why not increase their $3.5 million offer up to $4 million or $4.5 million? Stubbornness, is why according to Dater. They have a ”take it or leave it” mentality when have a number in their heads. There is a history of players moving on after being in a money battle with the Avalanche: Chris Simon, Valeri Kamensky, Sandis Ozolinsh, Chris Drury, Scott Young, Matt Hendricks, Alex Tanguay and Peter Mueller.
The Avalanche have insisted they won’t trade O’Reilly, but if this situation drags on, Dater thinks they will move him. The question then becomes, do they move him now, or wait it out when teams may be able to offer up more in the summer?
It was rumored over the weekend that the Avs could be calling teams to see if there was interest in O’Reilly, and what might be offered up. A young forward and a 2nd round pick was rumored to be the asking price for O’Reilly. One would think that the Avalanche don’t want this to drag out too long if they feel they have a shot at making the playoffs, but they aren’t just going to give him away.