The Colorado Avalanche owe the Calgary Flames a huge favor. They did the work in getting Ryan O’Reilly signed and under contract.
O’Reilly was an RFA hold out, unable to play with his team because of a contract dispute. Not wanting to see the talents of the young center go to waste, the Calgary Flames stepped in and said, if you don’t want him playing for you, we would gladly take his services.
Not long after the offer sheet was signed, the Colorado Avalanche matched the offer sheet, and Calgary was able to keep their first and third round draft pick.
Was this the right move by the Avalanche? With the Flames being division rivals of the Av’s – letting O’Reilly walk could have actually put a hurt on the Flames for the future.
With no second round draft pick this year, and no fifth round draft pick – the offer sheet would have limited the Calgary Flames in the draft to selecting only in the fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds. While yes, they would have had O’Reilly under contract for two years, the development of a first and third round draft pick in this upcoming draft could be important. Nestled into the bottom of the Northwest division, we would be talking about early round selections. Colorado would have been stacked in the first round, with potentially two picks in the top six selections of the draft.
Such a draft class would have given the Colorado based hockey club serious leverage on deadline day or even draft day – as they could utilize their picks for impact players, or use them as trade offerings to build their clubs with proven NHL talent.
Is Calgary’s move a new trend in the NHL that will see teams use the offer sheet more and more? Or does Colorado’s matching of the sheet further relinquish the offer sheet into urban legend status?