Jay Feaster rolled the dice on a bad gamble.
The Calgary Flames general manager wasn't able to help himself, so he made the ill-advised decision to sign restricted free-agent winger Ryan O'Reilly to a two-year, $10-million offer sheet Thursday. Within hours, it was matched by the Colorado Avalanche. Across the NHL, league executives are rolling their eyes wondering what Feaster was thinking. Avs GM Greg Sherman isn't beyond reproach either, but thanks to the Flames he gets one of his top players back at an inflated price.
"Calgary should have known (the Avs) were going to match it no matter what," said a league insider Friday. "By doing this, what they've done is given a division rival one of their best players back instead of having that guy traded elsewhere.
"The Flames have given the Avs a top-six forward and the ammo that could knock Calgary out of a playoff race. This could really end badly for the Flames."
To make matters worse, Sportsnet reported because O'Reilly played two games in the KHL during the lockout, he would have had to clear waivers to report to Calgary. There isn't a chance that he would have gotten through untouched. In fact, Colorado could have claimed him.
Sources say Sherman had decided he would trade O'Reilly until the deal was put on the table by the Flames. With the contract negotiated and the quibbling over $1 million per season between the O'Reilly camp and Avs taken care of by Feaster, it was easy for Colorado to match.
Had the Flames not made the offer, O'Reilly would have been dealt to the East. The Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Calgary all tried to make deals, but Sherman was trying to send him to either the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lightning.
The asking price in a trade was rich. League executives say the Avs wanted a player, prospect and No. 1 pick from any team. In the case of the Rangers, sources say the ask was D Michael Del Zotto, LW Chris Kreider and a pick.
Calgary Flames' bone-headed pitch to sign RFA Ryan O'Reilly backfires spectacularly
Ottawa Sun | Mar 2