Flames sign Ryan O'Reilly to offer sheet

The Calgary Flames have reportedly signed Ryan O'Reilly to an offer sheet. (Getty Images)
The Calgary Flames have reportedly signed Ryan O'Reilly to an offer sheet. (Getty Images)

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Somebody finally did it.

The Calgary Flames have signed restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly to offer an sheet, the team announced on Thursday evening. The Flames did not release the financial terms of the deal but according to multiple reports, including TSN's Darren Dreger, it's a two-year offer that would carry a $5 million average annual salary, which is backloaded to carry a salary of $6.5 million in 2013-14.

“The Calgary Flames have signed restricted free agent Ryan O’Reilly to an offer sheet. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, we will allow the process to transpire," said general manager Jay Feaster in a team statement. "We will not provide any further comment until the process is complete."

The Avalanche, who just so happen to play the Flames on Thursday night, have seven days to respond to the offer sheet.

If the Avalanche decide not to match it they would receive a first-and third-round pick from the Flames. Given that the Flames are currently on the outside of the playoff picture and in 12th place in the Western Conference it could be a high pick.

O'Reilly is the last of the NHL's restricted free agents and has been involved in a lengthy contract dispute with the Avalanche. He's coming off a career-year offensively and is already one of the better defensive forwards in the league.  The Flames have a glaring need for a young, top-line center and O'Reilly, should he actually get to Calgary, would instantly be their best player at the position.

The fact it took this long for a team to make an offer sheet to O'Reilly just shows how absurd the restricted free agency process is in the NHL. Though, perhaps that's starting to change. O'Reilly's offer sheet is the second one in the past year as Philadelphia also made an attempt to sign Nashville's Shea Weber. The Predators matched that offer.

Whether it's a form of collusion and teams not wanting to bump up the price of other restricted free agents across the league, or teams simply being afraid of rocking the boat and having others poach their players when the time comes, offer are few and far between in the NHL. They shouldn't be. Players as good as O'Reilly -- and as young as him -- don't become available very often and it only makes sense for a team to pursue a perfectly legal avenue (the offer sheet) and go after him.

If the Avalanche decline to match the offer the Flames will have received a top-line center  for two draft picks (plus the rather large contract).

If that pick is anywhere outside of the top-five or-10 that's a solid deal for Calgary in terms of what they're giving up, whether you hate the salary cap hit or not. It would have given up more valuable assets in a trade to acquire him.

If the Avalanche do match the offer they will not be able to trade him for a full year, as per the NHL CBA.

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CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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