The Colorado Avalanche have elected to file for club-elected salary arbitration with their leading scorer from last season, Ryan O'Reilly. This will certainly make some general managers around the NHL raise an eyebrow at the possibility that the Avalanche may be willing to trade the skilled forward if a long term agreement cannot be reached. This also means that O'Reilly will make at least $5.525 Million next year, and more if the arbitrator feels he warrants it, and O'Reilly can opt for a one or two year arbitration award.
This news will certainly make Avalanche fans cringe after what happened with contract negotiations during the lockout shortened 2013 season were the Calgary Flames gave O'Reilly a 2-year offer sheet that Colorado matched to keep one of there top six forwards. However, Avs fans should not hit the panic button yet. During last season, the Executive VP of Hockey operations for the Avalanche Joe Sakic said that the team would resign O'Reilly during the off season. This is a way for the Avalanche to minimize the risks of loosing him to another team. Yes, other clubs can give him an offer sheet July 1 and July 5 according to the new CBA. This is not Avalanche management from two years ago. The head of hockey operations is determained to keep O'Reilly in an Avalanche sweater and this should help calm some of the fans nerves.
It will be an interesting couple of weeks for the Avalanche and their fans. With the draft and costless agency just around the corner the team will be looking build on what they did last season. Retaining Ryan O'Reilly is not out of the question and is certainly not something that should be a concern since he has not signed with another franchise and Colorado has not traded him. They are still negotiating.