Avalanche Rumors: Ryan O’Reilly Contract, Daniel Briere


Colorado Avalanche rumors are flying around Twitter. Not surprisingly, many of them center on the Ryan O’Reilly contract situation. The Avalanche center is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015-16 season.

Ryan O’Reilly Contract

According to the Avalanche rumors put forth by The Hockey Chat, Colorado is negotiating a seven-year, $50 million contract. That would put O’Reilly at $7.1 million a year.

The Hockey Chat estimates the Ryan O’Reilly contract will be worth between $7 million to $7.5 million a year. I highly doubt the Avalanche will agree to a seven-year, $50 million deal. I’m guessing that’s the proposal put forth by O’Reilly’s agent, Pat Morris.

First of all, general manager/executive vice president Joe Sakic and head coach/vice president of hockey operations Patrick Roy were both very adamant last summer that they had their “structure.” This structure prevents less… important (for lack of a better word) players from earning more than the franchise players. Center Matt Duchene is seen as an integral aspect of this structure, but captain Gabriel Landeskog and goalie Semyon Varlamov are big players as well. Their contracts, according to Sportrac are as follows:

  • Duchene: five years, $30 million, average salary $6 million
  • Landeskog: seven years, $39 million, average salary $5.5 million
  • Varlamov five years, $29.5 million, average salary $5.9 million

No one but the Colorado Avalanche themselves are insisting on that salary structure. However, they refused to pay center Paul Stastny more, despite a similar skill set to O’Reilly’s and the ‘A’ for alternate captain.

Speaking of Paul Stastny, I’m sure Sakic and Roy are looking at what St. Louis did not get by overpaying. I doubt that experience will inspire them to try a similar model. There is also the little fact of three other core players. At the end of next season, offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie is a restricted free agent. Right now he’s making a tidy $2.6 million a year. However, if he has another season like last, he’ll be wanting a bit of a pay increase — and the Avalanche do not want it to get to the point where other teams are making offer sheets for him.

Center Nathan MacKinnon is also a restricted free agent at the end of next season. While his 2014-15 season was not great, he’s still only 19 years old and a Calder Trophy winner. Everyone knows he’s going to produce big for his team. His entry-level contract is worth $925,000 yearly. Needless to say, that needs a bump up, and, just like with Barrie, Colorado does not want it to get to actual restricted free agency.

Most significantly, cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson is an unrestricted free agent after next season. This cannot happen. Read here to find out why, but suffice it to say, he also needs a pay raise from his current $3.75 million yearly.

So, seven years at $50 million — I don’t think it’s even possible. I think it far more likely the Avalanche will counter with a contract similar to Matt Duchene’s. Considering O’Reilly in the pecking order of the team, that’s more than fair. Slight overpayment, really.

Daniel Briere Retirement

It shouldn’t come as too big a surprise that 37-year-old center Daniel Briere is probably going to retire. He might still have some play in him yet. However, French-Canadian hockey analyst Alain Sanscartier has reported that Briere may announce his retirement on July 2.

It’s said Briere would like to join the Philadelphia Flyers organization. That makes perfect sense. His three sons are located in Philadelphia, and he has expressed a desire to be more active in their lives.

We were lucky to have him on the team last year. Read more about Daniel Briere:

Next: Daniel Briere: Avs Star of the Week

Next: Player Profile on Daniel Briere

Preseason Games and Stadium Series Tickets

Unfortunately, there is no information or even Avalanche rumors concerning the 2015-16 preseason or ticket sales for the Stadium Series game on February 27, 2016.

Well, I can report that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks have released their preseason schedules, but neither team has games against the Colorado Avalanche. Speaking to my (rival) cohorts over at Gone Puck Wild, it doesn’t sound like the Avalanche have any preseason games against them either.

Concerning the Stadium Series game, I received an email from the Avalanche stating that Avs season ticket holders would have first priority, though only allowed to purchase limited amounts. Holders of 20-game puck packs would have limited tickets available, and holders of 11-game puck packs (no upper level) even more limited. However, Colorado Rockies season ticket holders are supposed to be in the mix, too, since the event is being held at Coors Field.

A completely unverified rumor is that tickets will be around $300. I don’t know if that’s true, but start saving your spare change now.

Next: Redrafting the 2005 Draft for the Avs

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