Are NHL Odds Undervaluing Young Avalanche Squad?

David Lawrence

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 5:50 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014 5:50 PM GMT

The Colorado Avalanche and 23-year-old forward Ryan O’Reilly can’t seem to agree on much. Yet again, they’re scrapping over contract terms and appear to be heading for arbitration.

The good news for the Avs is he’ll be part of the team this season and should help them build on their incredible success from last year. They’re at 18/1 on the NHL odds and they could be offering pretty good value.

Can We Settle On A Number?
In 2013, O’Reilly and the Avs couldn’t come to a contract agreement even after the lockout ended and he continued to play in Europe. Then he signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames in February 2013, highlighted the differences between the sides. However, the Avs matched. O’Reilly, who is still under the Avs control since he’s only 23, is still fighting for a bigger contract, which means the two sides are heading for arbitration. He’s coming off a career year with 28 goals and 64 points in 80 games, and he’s seeking $6.75 million – a raise on the $6.5 million he was paid. If he were a free agent, he’d probably command a salary in that neighborhood but the Avs still have control of him for two more years and would rather save some money. They’re offering $5.525 million.

 

What’s The Bigger Picture?
The bottom line is this: the Avs are close to being a Stanley Cup contender and would rather save some money here with a player who is under their control. Does O’Reilly deserve that type of coin? Maybe so but they know they’re going to be power players this season and would like to have some cap flexibility in case they want to make a trade at the deadline. O’Reilly is a key cog on their team but he’s being paid quite handsomely at his age. They also don’t want to pay him more than Matt Duchene, who is at $6 million per year, and Gabriel Ladeskog, who is at $5.57 per year. Those guys are the staples yet O’Reilly, who is restricted, wants more than them.

It seems like there’s some personal vendettas here and neither side is willing to be flexible. Because of that, O’Reilly is probably gone as soon as he’s a free agent but for now, he’s under the Avs control and unless they trade him, will be a key part of next year’s team.

 

How To Bet The News
The Avs are worth a look at 18/1 to win the Stanley Cup. That’s great value. The New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild are at 16/1, and the San Jose Sharks are at 14/1 for crying out loud. The Avs are in much better shape than those teams. Their forwards unit is absolutely lethal – even without Paul Stastny, who departed via free agency. They’ve got Duchene, Ladeskog, O’Reilly, Jarome Iginla,, Alex Tanguay, Nathan McKinnon, Jamie McGinn and Alex Tanguay. On the blue line, they’re in good shape with Erik Johnson, Brad Stuart, Jan Hejda and hopefully a healthy Tyson Barrie. And we saw what Semyon Varlamov is capable between the pipes with the right coaching.

This is a young team on the rise and gained a lot of experience last season. They finished four points shy of first place in the West. With more experience and additions like Iginla, this team will be a Cup contender next season.

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