NHL Rumors: Avalanche Must Trade Ryan O'Reilly Before Deadline Passes

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 14, 2013

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 27:  Ryan O'Reilly #37 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center on December 27, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Jets defeated the Avalanche 4-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

With the Colorado Avalanche unable to come to an agreement on a contract for center Ryan O'Reilly, the team has no choice but to trade him before the NHL trade deadline passes.

According to Adrian Dater of The Denver Post, both sides have yet to come to an agreement and likely won't:

While the Avs were optimistic right after the lockout ended that they could sign O’Reilly and my sources said he would not be traded, things have changed and it appears a virtual certainty O’Reilly will be traded now. The sides became entrenched in their positions, things got a little personal and now there appears no turning back. The only questions remaining are to which team and for which players/draft picks in return.

Also per Dater of The Denver Post, here is what O'Reilly is reportedly seeking in a new deal, which is an amount that his numbers don't necessarily warrant and the Avs apparently agree:

"O’Reilly is basing all his salary demands on one good year. He wants at least $5 million a year for one good year."

To make matters worse for the Avalanche, O'Reilly's father, Brian, took to Twitter to bash the organization:

@happy_jillmoore @coachbri1 sorry the ave's don't want him or place value on what he brings. They practice external control boss management.

— Brian O'Reilly (@coachbri1) February 14, 2013

O'Reilly has yet to take the ice for the Avalanche this season because he is holding out for a new contract. Without him on the ice, Colorado (4-6-1) is sitting in last place in the Western Conference as of Thursday morning.

So, is O'Reilly deserving of his financial demands?

As Dater points out in his piece, O'Reilly is seeking $5 million per season, but that is a price normally reserved for 30-goal scorers.

O'Reilly has never come close to breaking that mark during his three-year career, with his best season coming during the 2011-12 campaign when he scored 18 goals and notched 37 assists. His assist and point total (55) were both team highs.

In total, O'Reilly has scored just 39 goals during his career.

There's no question that this center has a lot of talent and is a great two-way player, but with the Avs unwilling to show him the money, they have no choice but to trade him.

Clearly, Colorado needs some major help as they sit in last place and allowing O'Reilly to watch from home isn't helping things.

The Avs would be much better served bringing in a player who can actually make an impact at this time rather than hoping O'Reilly will come around and potentially getting nothing out of him.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Avs already have demands for O'Reilly's services:

As we discussed in Insider Trading initial trade talk has Colorado requesting a roster player and top prospect for O'Reilly. #TSN

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 13, 2013

That would be more than a fair return for the up-and-coming 22-year-old. Colorado can still build on its current roster while adding a nice piece for the future. It remains to be seen exactly what teams are willing to offer, but O'Reilly is young and talented enough to get a solid return for the team.

Another reason Colorado would be wise to deal O'Reilly is because now this has become a public spat between he and the organization as evidenced by his father's comments above.

This last-place team doesn't need any distractions that can negatively impact its season further. Trading away this headache would be a smart move.

Granted, O'Reilly would be a major help for the Avalanche at the moment, but it appears the organization isn't ready to budge on its offer. That's why it makes absolutely no sense to hold on to O'Reilly and continue to hope he will come around.