I am a mean sarcastic writer sometimes. Just the way I am, take it or leave it. But I pride myself in being fair.
So I was thinking today: I’ve been a little tough on the Avs in the Ryan O’Reilly situation. Ripping on them for take-it-or-leave it offers and essentially saying “How can you not sign this guy?” But I also think it’s fair to try and put forth a counterargument as to why the Avs may be in the right for taking a hard line in salary talks.
Let me, therefore, be fair and point out a few things about O’Reilly, maybe try to channel the Avs and their thinking a bit. I’m not saying this is what they are thinking. I’m saying I’m going to channel them as best I can.
- O’Reilly wants to be paid like a 30-goal scorer in this league. He scored 39 goals his first three years in the league. He’s never even scored 20. Guys who steal a few pucks and score 15-20 goals are great (his career high is 18, last year), but they aren’t $5 million a year players.
- O’Reilly is basing all his salary demands on one good year. He wants at least $5 million a year for one good year. But he’s played three. Sorry, kid, but you haven’t proven yourself enough yet to get that kind of money. Besides, if you’re as good as you say you are, then you’d have taken a one- or two-year deal, played your butt off and put up another big and maybe even better year and PROVEN you’re not just a one-year wonder. Then, you would have really had the Avs by the shorthairs at the bargaining table.
Then, you would have been eligible for arbitration and pretty much gotten any salary you’d want from the arbitrator. Or, you would have forced the Avs to cry uncle, admit you’re the real deal and then gotten that long-term deal for maybe even more money than you want now.
But you want to be guaranteed huge money for a long time without truly having proven yet that you can do it consistently.
- You had your best scoring year playing with the NHL rookie of the year. (Duchene) Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
- Your camp may be ridiculing supposed friend and teammate Matt Duchene for taking a short-money contract and thereby setting a floor too low for your own self. Fine, but guess what? Matt Duchene worked his butt off this summer, got himself in incredible shape and has played great this season, and now he’s likely looking at a huge new contract before too long. Maybe the Avs even reward him already with a rich contract extension before too long, to not have to worry about keeping him down the road.
That could have been you.
Oh, and by the way: Duchene put up 132 points his first two years in the league. You put up 52 and were a combined minus-3. In fact, your career plus-minus is -4.
- Speaking of that great last season you had, can we talk about the last six games of the year? You know, the ones that were the crunch-time games, the ones that would determine if the Avs made the playoffs or not, the ones where the really great players are supposed to rise to the occasion?
Your stats for the final six games: Zero goals, one assist, -2.
Over the final 18 games, you scored two goals for us.
- How do you think you really come off to your teammates? As a team-first guy, or a me-first guy now? Think about that one hard.
OK, I’m back to my normal self again. Channel time over. I think now that I have accomplished my mission of being fair and presenting both sides.
Now, it’s up to the real parties involved to channel the rest of this story.