The Calgary Flames were saved a world of embarrassment on Thursday evening when The Colorado Avalanche matched an offer sheet the team had extended to forward Ryan O’Reilly. Colorado matched the offer almost instantly (within four hours), retaining O’Reilly under the same terms that Calgary had offered him.


Reports recently started circulating indicating that because O’Reilly had played games in the KHL after the NHL season had begun, he would be subject to the NHL’s waiver process.  Basically if Colorado hadn’t matched and resigned him the Flames would have had to put O’Reilly on waivers and stood by helplessly as he surely would have been snapped up by a team lower in the standings.


Not only could Calgary have lost the player to the waiver wire but they would have been responsible for compensating the Avalanche for the offer sheet they tendered in the form of a first- and third-round draft pick.


Flames general manager Jay Feaster released a statement indicating that both the club and Pat Morris, O’Reilly’s agent, didn’t believe that the 22-year-old would have been subject to waivers once signed.


Feaster’s statement reads:

“Prior to tendering the offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly we, as a hockey operations department, examined whether there were any impediments to our successfully securing the services of the player including, but not limited to, his having played in the KHL after the start of the current NHL season.

Our interpretation of the Article 13 transition rules governing restricted free agents (“RFA”), and the applicability of Article 13.23 under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to such RFA’s was, and continues to be, different than the NHL’s current interpretation as articulated to us this morning. Moreover, throughout our discussions, the player’s representative shared our interpretation and position with respect to the non-applicability of Article 13.23.

While we were prepared to advance our position with the NHL, in light of Colorado’s having matched the offer sheet it is now an academic point. As such, we will have no further comment on the matter, the player, or the offer sheet process.”


O’Reilly was likely unaware of the possible waiver situation being as he would have had no say on where he would end up playing.


Morris, O’Reilly’s agent, told a Toronto radio station Friday that he did not know that his client would be subject to waivers if the Avalanche had opted to not match Calgary’s offer.


Luckily Feaster and the Flames will not have this blip on their record thanks to the Av’s, but an internal review of the process that let this slip by them might be a good idea.

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