|Even though he's yet to sign a contract with the team, the Avalanche are not looking to trade Ryan O'Reilly. (Getty Images)|
As we get closer to the start of the regular season there are still three pretty big restricted free agents aimlessly floating around in hockey purgatory: Jamie Benn (Dallas), P.K. Subban (Montreal) and Ryan O'Reilly (Colorado).
All three still need contracts, and there doesn't appear to be anything imminent (though that can always change quickly) with any of them.
When it comes to O'Reilly, who is currently playing in the KHL on a two-year contract, the Avalanche have no interest in trading him according to a report from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post. Their latest contract offer was reportedly for $7 million over two years, matching the contract signed by his teammate, Matt Duchene, back in June.
While differences remain in negotiations between young center Ryan O'Reilly and the Avalanche on a new contract, the two sides still are talking. The Avs are not attempting to trade him at this time, according to two NHL sources.
O'Reilly's latest offer from the Avs is the same Matt Duchene signed with the team last summer: two years, $7 million, the sources said. O'Reilly turned down a five-year, $17 million offer last summer.
O'Reilly is looking for more in the neighborhood of $5 million per year. Both the Avalanche and O'Reilly's agent, Mark Guy, had no public comment on the negotiations Tuesday, though Guy confirmed the sides still are talking. [Denver Post]
The 21-year-old O'Reilly is coming off a breakout 2011-12 season in which he led the team in scoring with 55 points (18 goals, 37 assists) while playing alongside rookie sensation Gabriel Landeskog. (And for what it's worth, O'Reilly didn't play as well on the rare occassion -- about 200 minutes of 5-on-5 play -- that he was seperated from Landeskog). He tallied 52 points over the first two years of his career. Combined.
Whether he's worth $5 million a year is up for debate, but the Avs' reported offer of $2.5 million per year seems a little on the low side. If restricted free agency meant anything in the NHL this could be seen as an opportunity for another NHL team in need of a young, quality two-way center to swoop in with an offer sheet.
And the same thing goes for the situation in Montreal where a top-pairing defenseman (Subban) remains unsigned, and in Dallas with a top power-forward (Benn).
But as we've seen over the years, there is virtually no chance of that happening, as offer sheets only come around once every blue moon. General managers are either afraid to rock the boat and have another GM poach their RFAs when the situation comes up, or don't want to jack up the prices of other RFAs around the league.