The new NHL CBA is a complex thing and as a result not all general managers have every little clause figured out yet. But you know when someone says you better read the fine print, well thats extremely important if you’re an NHL GM about to make a massive move that could change the state of your franchise. Young forward Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche were having trouble coming to terms on a new deal that would keep O’Reilly, a RFA, in Colorado. Since there was no new progress between the two sides the Calgary Flames and Jay Feaster decided to step in signing O’Reilly to a 2 year $10 million offer-sheet.
By inking O’Reilly the Flames would be sending a first and a third round draft pick back to the Avalanche as compensation should they have chosen not to match the offer-sheet. Pretty hefty compensation for a young, unproven player and a team that is soon entering a “re-building” phase. But now on top of being out two potential great draft-picks and using up $10 million in cap space, it appears a new ruling in the CBA states the Calgary Flames would have lost their rights to Ryan O’Reilly as soon as he joined their roster.
Due to the fact Ryan O’Reilly played in 2 games ( January 21st and 23rd) with the KHL after the lockout had ended O’Reilly has to go through waivers before returning to NHL action should he not re-sign with the Avalanche. Confusing no? Here’s the rule we’re talking about in the new CBA-
Rule 13:23 “In the event a professional or former professional player plays in a league outside of North America after the start of the NHL regular season, other than on loan from his club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that playing season (including playoffs) only if he has first cleared or been obtained via waivers.”
Think about the drastic measures of this for a moment, the Calgary Flames would have given up 2 draft picks and still lost Ryan O’Reilly because he played in the KHL past the end of the NHL lockout. If the Avalanche had not done the Flames a massive favour by matching the offer-sheet, Jay Feaster would probably be out of a job right now! Thankfully for Feaster the Avalanche matched the offer sheet or this might have been the biggest gaffe in NHL history, the fact that Feaster didn’t do his homework or at least ask Gary Bettman what the repercussions of signing O’Reilly would be is mind boggling. This would have been a huge move for the Flames signing for a top young player to help their team win now while they still have Jarome Iginla, yet would have had O’Reilly snatched away by the Columbus Blue Jackets or perhaps even the Colorado Avalanche for nothing.
For anyone who is doubting Ryan O’Reilly’s status or the fact that the Flames would have been forced to put him on waivers:
BTW, if COL didn’t match and CGY got ROR, CGY would’ve been obligated to put him on waivers. No provision for paying him not to play.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2013
The NHL much like Feaster also needs to learn to do their homework and keep track of their players. A slight oversight by the NHL had them believing that Ryan O’Reilly did not play in the KHL past the end of the NHL lockout- a slight oversight that would have had catastrophic measures for the Flames organization and Feaster’s career.
Right now the Calgary Flames and Jay Feaster are thanking their lucky stars that the Avalanche matched their offer sheet for O’Reilly. But for all you conspiracy theorists out there, there is the possibility that while Feaster is taking the brunt and being made to look like an idiot, was working with the Avalanche GM Greg Sherman to insure that the Avalanche didn’t lose Ryan O’Reilly. But in saying that the Flames aided a divisional rival by giving an offer-sheet to O’Reilly forcing the Avalanche to match and thus bolstering their lineup.
Would losing a 1st and a 3rd round draft pick in an attempt to steal away a young player, yet having to lose that player anyways be the biggest embarrassment in NHL history? After this near mishap, the Flames need to take a step back and ownership should consider replacing Feaster before he drives this franchise into the ground. There are better ways to improve your roster than risking 2 draft picks for nothing!
Jay Feaster and the Calgary Flames are extremely lucky that the Colorado Avalanche matched the offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly.