With the Colorado Avalanche a little over 24 hours away from the opening of the 2013 regular season, it appears all but certain that restricted free agent forward Ryan O'Reilly will not be in the lineup.
In reality, it appears it will be sometime before O'Reilly returns to a hockey rink wearing a Colorado sweater.
Currently in the midst of a turbulent contract negotiation, multiple reports have made it abundantly clear that the Avalanche and O'Reilly's representation have a different opinion of what the 21-year-old forward should be earning.
The Avalanche's most recent offer was two-years, $7 million, which is the same deal that teammate Matt Duchene signed in June. O'Reilly's representation are believed to have requested an annual salary in the ballpark of $5 million. In addition, they are believed to have turned down a five-year, $17 million offer (These details are according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post).
O'Reilly is currently under contract in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League with Metallurg Magnitogorsk and is reportedly making $4 million annually over the next two seasons. There is an out-clause in the contract, which will allow him to return to North America if he accepts a contract with an NHL team.
This will seemingly allow him to wait out the Avalanche as long as he wants to.