Defenseman P.K. Subban's recent re-signing with the Montreal Canadiens leaves Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly the last notable unsigned restricted free agent.
Recent reports out of Denver indicate little, if any, movement between O'Reilly's agent and Avalanche GM Greg Sherman toward a new contract. Injuries to left winger Gabriel Landeskog (concussion, leg) and right winger Steve Downie (season-ending knee surgery) apparently had no influence on Sherman's approach to O'Reilly's negotiations.
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater reported last Saturday the two sides “remain far apart – about $8 million apart – in negotiations on a long-term contract,” adding it was “increasingly difficult” to see this ending well.
Though the Avalanche have the cap space (around $18 million) to re-sign O'Reilly, Dater believes management stubbornness is the real reason a deal hasn't been done yet.
Dater listed several former Avs - Claude Lemieux, Alex Tanguay, Chris Simon, Sandis Ozolinsh and Chris Drury - who were dealt when they sought more money than management was willing to pay. He fears the longer this stalemate goes, the more likely O'Reilly will join that list.
Avalanche management has reportedly insisted O'Reilly isn't on the trade block, but the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch recently reported of “whispers” they were quietly shopping the 21-year-old center to gauge his trade value. Garrioch claimed the asking price was a young forward and a second round pick.
Whatever leverage O'Reilly once had by playing in the Kontinental League with Metallurg Magnitogorsk recently ended when he and the club mutually agreed to terminate his contract, allowing him to return to North America to receive treatment for a foot injury.
Like Subban, O'Reilly is coming off an entry-level contract. He could hold out in hopes a rival team will send him an offer sheet, but it appears unlikely he'll get one. If the Avs aren't willing to bend or ship him to another team, O'Rielly will have to choose between returning to action on a lesser deal, or risking this standoff costing him the remainder of the season.
FLYING BELOW TRADE RADAR?
The rash of injuries plaguing the Philadelphia Flyers has generated talk they might enter the trade market to bolster their scoring depth.
Apart from a 7-1 blowout win over the Florida Panthers, the Flyers managed only seven goals in their other six games, including their 2-1 loss to the NY Rangers on Tuesday.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently wondered if management has a “bold move” in the works, such as acquiring Anaheim Ducks right winger Bobby Ryan, calling him the kind of sniper the Flyers need.
Ryan made headlines last June by venting his frustration over his name constantly appearing in Ducks trade rumors, adding he'd welcome a trade to the Flyers. He subsequently backtracked from those comments and was recently told by Ducks management he wasn't on the trade block.
It was also rumored last summer the Ducks’ asking price for Ryan was young centers Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, two players Flyers management are reluctant to part with. Given the Ducks fast start this season, they've little reason to move Ryan now.
If the Flyers do go shopping for scoring depth early in this season, they'll have to set their sights beyond Anaheim.
PENS MAKING DESPRES AVAILABLE?
NHL teams seeking affordable blueline depth might wish to contact the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently reported Penguins blueliner Simon Despres might be available for the right price.
Rossi claimed he's “heard rumblings” the Pens are in the market for a winger. Despres is currently filling in for Matt Niskanen, who is sidelined with an ankle injury. How well Despres does in that role until Niskanen returns could impact his trade value.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.