7. Memorable Moment: Ryan O’Reilly Signs Offer Sheet
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When a player is a restricted free agent, opponent teams have the right to make him an offer. If he signs the offer sheet, his team can either match the offer or let him go with some recompense. This event rarely happens because the parent team usually matches the offer, and all that comes about is animosity.
Well, when the lockout started, restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly eschewed the short-term contract most other NHLers were signing with European teams and signed on for two years with the KHL. He was in protracted negotiations for a new contract.
The negotiations eventually became contentious as O’Reilly stayed in Russia even when the NHL season started. He eventually returned to North America, only to sign an offer sheet from the Calgary Flames.
The Colorado Avalanche matched the offer sheet, which was good for two years. However, relations between the player and the team were never easy again, which exacerbated the next round of negotiations just two years later.