|Ryan O'Reilly's days with the Avalanche could be numbered. (Getty Images)|
If you're the general manager of an NHL team that's in need of a young, two-way center and you're not doing everything in your power to land restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly , you're simply not doing your job.
(What teams fit that description? Toronto comes to mind. As does Calgary.)
Especially since it appears that his days with the Colorado Avalanche could be over.
O'Reilly's days as an Av have been over for a while now. He will not be back— adater (@adater) February 13, 2013
O'Reilly, 22, is the last of the NHL's restricted free agents to remain unsigned and his negotiations with the Avalanche seem to be going nowhere. The Avalanche hadn't shown much interest in trading him until recently, but TSN's Darren Dreger reports that Colorado is now seeking a roster player and a top-prospect in its initial trade talks.
If that seems like too high a price and a GM doesn't want to part with that many assets (when it comes to players) there's always the RFA offer sheet (which, quite frankly, probably should have been done by some team a long time ago -- but the NHL's general managers rarely take advantage of it) that would only cost you draft picks depending on the size of the contract.
A team could sign O'Reilly to a contract as high as $5 million and only surrender a first- and third-round pick. Unless that first-rounder is in the top 10, it would probably be worth it for a player like O'Reilly, who is coming off a breakout year in 2011-12, leading the Avalanche with 55 points (18 goals, 37 assists).
It was by far his best year offensively, but he's just now entering what should be the prime of his career and along with his scoring ability is a strong defensive player that was routinely used against other teams' top players last season.
How the Avalanche allowed this situation to reach this point is baffling, but if O'Reilly's days with the team really are finished it's going to be a big loss.