The Internet has been percolating over the last two days about restricted free agent Ryan O'Neill and his potential destination as his contract negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche have gone completely sour. The Avalanche are notoriously stingy and, with Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog needing pay days down the line, O'Reilly has become expendable.
Hypothetical questions have been raised about whether the New York Rangers should take a shot at acquiring O'Reilly, whose two-way abilities would mesh quite well in John Tortorella's scheme.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post shot down any rumors today, claiming the Blueshirts are unlikely to make an offer for O'Reilly. Not because of what it would cost in terms of assets to acquire the young center, but because the team has a policy with RFA's:
The Rangers made it a policy, beginning in 2008-09 with Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky and continuing this year with Michael Del Zotto, to sign restricted free agents lacking salary arbitration rights to two-year “bridge” deals.
It's also about money (when isn't it?). O'Reilly's contract demands (already rejected a two-year, $7 million deal and a five-year deal with similar money, too) are too rich for the Rangers, who have their own young players to sign this offseason:
The Blueshirts have three prominent players coming up on such restricted free agency this summer in first-pair defenseman Ryan McDonagh and current first-line forwards Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin.
O'Reilly is the lone RFA holdout left in the NHL.
…It wouldn't look good on the Rangers to acquire O'Reilly and sign him to what he wants when they refuse to pay their own RFAs after their ELCs are up.
…Would O'Reilly be a nice addition for the Rangers? He might be, but it's something we're unlikely to find out. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Let the Rangers develop their players (Stepan) and see what they become.
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