July 24, 2014

Thomas Drance

2014-07-24

It certainly seems like we’re not going to get an actual arbitration hearing again this summer.

 

All 15 of the scheuled salary arbitration hearings a year ago were settled, and with Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche agreeing to terms on a two-year, $12 million settlement on Wednesday morning, it seems likely that no one will actually make it to their hearing once again this summer (not including Vladimir Sobotka). O’Reilly was surely the most likely case to go to salary arbitration since the Avalanche were seeking to reduce his actual salary by 80% and the two sides actually went right to the brink before agreeing to a two-year deal.

 

The contract, which will carry an AAV of $6 million per season and walks O’Reilly to unrestrcited free agency at the very young age of 25, does reduce O’Reilly’s salary, but not by much. Anyway, O’Reilly will surely recoup that money (and more) if he actually does hit the open market in the summer of 2016. If he stays healthy and productive and wants it, he’ll be able to get a long-term deal with a $10 million+ AAV that summer, I’d imagine.

 

Lots of ifs, of course, but that’s where I think this is headed.

 

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Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations (what a mouthful, eh?) Joe Sakic rather preposterously brushed away questions about the testy relationship between O’Reilly and his franchise, writing it off as a media creation. Considering the history here – from O’Reilly’s father’s controversial comments, to the Jay Feaster offer sheet, to the team filing for cutback arbitration, to agent Pat Morris’ pointed comments and Sakic’s firm rejoinder – it’s clear that there’s a lot more going on than the media making mountains out of molehills.

 

O’Reilly will become eligible to sign a contract extension again next summer, so the two sides get a year to dust themselves off before getting back to it, but after all the water under the bridge, it’s tough to imagine that this ends with O’Reilly signed long-term in Denver.

 

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In other settlement news, the New York Rangers met Chris Krieder more than half-way as the two sides avoided arbitration by coming to terms on a two-year, $4.95 million contract on Wednesday. It was the second time this week that the Rangers managed to avoid salary arbitration, and they’ve now locked up Krieder and Zuccarello for less than $6 million combined. That’s solid work, though the Rangers have one more salary arbitration hearing on the horizon with Derick Brassard scheduled to have his hearing on Monday.