I really don't get the people shaking their heads at COL in terms of dealing with O'Reilly. Yes, he's coming off a career year, but that career year is nothing compared to the consistent years that the players earning the money he wants put up.
At first, I didn't understand at all how he could even have been making $6.5M, but then I remembered the offer sheet...that's how he got there to begin with. So I decided to do a bit of checking. I had a look at all the other players in the league with cap hits at or greater than $6.5M (he's now looking for $6.75M by the way, but my guess is that is to aim a bit high and let it come down a bit). This is what I found:
26 forwards in the league at that level:
16 - have scored 40 or more goals or 100 or more points
4 - have scored 90 or more points
3 - have scored 80 or more points
That leaves the following 4 that haven't scored 40 goals or more than 80pts:
Toews - he has scored 34 goals and 76 pts, but I don't think we need to use stats to say that you can't compare to Toews
Bergeron - he's scored more than 30 goals 2 times and scored more than 60 points 5 times, 70+ points 2 times, selke winner - no comparison
Stastny - getting a bit more comparable, but he has scored 78 points in the NHL and another season with 70+ points as well + he signed his deal as a UFA...big difference
Koivu - this is the one I can't quite understand (i.e. why he's paid so much) - his stats are still better than O'Reilly's career year and he's consistently scored 20+ goals and has scored more than 70 points, but he still looks overpaid.
So, to me, O'Reilly and his 28 goal and 64 point career year don't seem to explain to me why he should be paid $6.5M.
To me it's more a matter of Colorado mishandling the situation so badly that they were put in this position in the first place. This is exactly what happens if you try and lowball good young talent. As a 21 year old he was putting up 50+ pts. and was one of the better defensive forwards in the league and his team wanted to hold his feet over the fire. There had to be a better way to satisfy him AND retain his services without completely alienating the kid. Sadly, Colorado management didn't seem up to the task.