The Flames lost out on Ryan O'Reilly when the Colorado Avalanche announced last night that they would match Calgary's offer for the 22-year-old centre, but according to various media outlets today, they may have lost much more had the Avs allowed O'Reilly to walk.
According to article 13 of the new NHL CBA, an RFA returning to the NHL from Europe must first pass through waivers before joining his team unless he is already on that team's list of restricted free agents. Thus, it seems that O'Reilly would have hit waivers upon returning to North America and the Flames may have lost him and their draft picks awarded to the Avs as compensation in the ensuing scramble.
It appears that Jay Feaster interpreted the rule differently, and had possibly been led to believe that the rule did not apply to O'Reilly's case by his agent Pat Morris, who it turns out has not actually read the new CBA, but only the memorandum of understanding, that tricky little document that further delayed the start of the shortened NHL season.
Feaster released this statement today on the alleged misunderstanding:
"Prior to tendering the offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly we, as a hockey operations department, examined whether there were any impediments to our successfully securing the services of the player including, but not limited to, his having played in the KHL after the start of the current NHL season.
Our interpretation of the Article 13 transition rules governing restricted free agents ("RFA"), and the applicability of Article 13.23 under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to such RFA’s was, and continues to be, different than the NHL’s current interpretation as articulated to us this morning. Moreover, throughout our discussions, the player’s representative shared our interpretation and position with respect to the non-applicability of Article 13.23.
While we were prepared to advance our position with the NHL, in light of Colorado’s having matched the offer sheet it is now an academic point. As such, we will have no further comment on the matter, the player, or the offer sheet process."
So, less than 24-hours after he was regarded as a genius by quite a few Flames fans around these parts, Jay Feaster, who is supposedly a lawyer and is therefore meant to be well-versed in this sort of business, will now have to atone for what appears to be a near colossal fuck-up at worst and a genuine misinterpretation at best. I doubt the NHL would have been very sympathetic to hearing a case in court from a guy who heard that this was the rule from another guy who hadn't even read the CBA. And now we all know that Feaster might be willing to give up Calgary's first rounder in this summer's draft in a trade (#goingforit!). Hold onto your butts, people.
Anyway, I compiled a short list of positives and negatives related and semi-related to O'Reilly-Gate:
1. The Flames lost out on Ryan O'Reilly, who is like really good and stuff. Still no first line centre.
2. Jay Feaster looks like even more of a maroon than he did yesterday, when he traded for Brian McGrattan. Flames are now even more of an NHL laughing stock.
3. The Flames blew a 3-0 lead to the Avalanche yesterday and only got 12 shots on goal in the final forty minutes of the game. Feaster believes that somehow calling up McGrattan will remedy this, and they are currently in 14th place in the Western conference.
4. Miikka Kiprusoff is still not back.
1. The Flames lost out on Ryan O'Reilly, and didn't have to lose their first and third round picks for nothing.
2. Miikka Kiprusoff is still not back.
3. The Flames blew a 3-0 lead to the Avalanche last night, are now 14th overall in the West, will be dressing Brian McGrattan in their next game, AND they still have their first round pick.
4. Jarome Iginla is still a Flame. So there's that.
See you all on Sunday for another glorified ass-kicking.