DENVER - Like an old married couple, bickering and finger pointing included, the Avalanche and forward Ryan O'Reilly have finally come to an agreement. They'll kiss and makeup, as well as any hockey player and organization figuratively can do, and get right back on the ice.
Colorado agreed to match offer sheet that O'Reilly had signed earlier in the day Thursday with the Calgary Flames. The contract is reportedly worth $10-million ($3.5-million this year and $6.5-million next season) over two years.
The Avalanche had a week to make their decision, whether to retain their leading scorer from a year ago or let him go to the Flames.
It took them all of four hours.
"I can tell you given the time frame that we moved on this that it is pretty clear what our objective was in regards to that question," responded general manager Greg Sherman at a mid-period press conference at the Pepsi Center. "We moved very quickly and efficiently today to go ahead and make the decision to match the offer."
Their intentions were crystal clear; they wanted O'Reilly in an Avalanche sweater.
Colorado was unable to sign the third year player during the offseason, which was largely overshadowed by the NHL lockout. They were unable to solve their differences during the abbreviated training and the negotiation carried over to the season.
But now that that's, the deal is done.
"Ryan was certainly part of that group that that was our intention to get done, that was our goal. That goal has never changed. Sometimes the process takes a little longer than you would expect or would want, but that's ultimately what we ended up with today [Thursday], he is staying with the Colorado Avalanche."
Sherman said O'Reilly could play as soon as this road trip, depending on how in shape he is.