The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Ryan O’Reilly to a two-year deal worth $6 million annually, while the New York Rangers re-signed forward Chris Kreider to a two-year, $4.95 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players had arbitration hearings scheduled this morning. I wasn’t surprised Kreider and the Rangers avoided arbitration, while it seemed a certainty O’Reilly and the Avs would face an arbiter.
Avalanche honcho Joe Sakic claims this deal with O’Reilly isn’t a sign-and-trade move, but questions about the 23-year-old’s future with the Avalanche will linger over the next two years. Then again, perhaps the fact the two sides found common ground at the last minute when it appeared arbitration was a certainty bodes well for future negotiations in a year or two. The important thing for the Avs is they retain a key piece of their rebuilding lineup after losing Paul Stasnty to free agency.
As for Kreider, his new deal is worth $2.475 million per season, which is a fair raise for a players coming off an entry-level deal. If he continues to improve over the term of his new deal, he could double his annual salary on a longer-term contract.