O'Reilly and Waivers - Updated

Kent Wilson
March 01 2013 10:16AM

Chris Jonhston of Sportsnet is claiming that had the Flames signed Ryan O'Reilly to a contract the young center would have had to clear waivers this year to play for the club. Meaning Calgary could have lost a first, a third, and then the player himself to a waiver claim.

This strikes me as implausible. First, because the rule should apply to both teams, not simply the Flames. Ryan O'Reilly signed the same contract with the Avs as he did with the Flames and was a free agent. Why would he have to clear only for the Flames? In addition, I can't see the Flames missing this in their due diligence. I also recall mention previously when we were discussing Karri Ramo that the current CBA erased this provision when it comes to RFA players.

In short, I doubt there's a story here.

UPDATE - according to TSN and Bob MacKenzie, the rule would likely have been interpreted against the Flames, meaning O'Reilly would have been exposed to waivers. I think Calgary would have had an argument in any subsequent greivance, but it's likely it could have been a terrible blow to the franchise had the Avs chosen to wallk away.

All of this rests on a clause depending on the player playing after the NHL season started. So, for instance, had the Flames sent an offer sheet to O'Reilly on Jan 15th when I originally wrote about the topic, this would have been moot.

I suppose it's moot now because Colorado matched the offer, but it seems Calgary dodged a giant bullet. It will be interesting to see if there's any fall-out for the decision-makers as a result. I assume "no" because no actual harm came to the organization, but I guess we'll see.

It's tough to see what was a bold, strategic move blow-up in Feaster's face like this. Sometimes the devil is in the details though. It also shows how hard it is to acquire players like O'Reilly if you aren't able to draft them.

UPDATE 2 - @TMrjmki posted this on twitter today, capturing this whole saga from a Flames fan perspective over the last 24 hours or so:

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#52 Stockley
March 01 2013, 12:48PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

McKenzie says there is no provision for the Flames to have signed ROR and then not played him...meaning he would have been FORCED onto waivers.

I still think the case is a weird one, but this could have gone completely wrong for the Flames.

In a way you could argue it 'did' go completely wrong for the Flames. It could have been worse had the proposed situation gone through and they were left without their picks or the player; but this mess has sort of spiraled beyond damage control at this point.

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#53 Bean-counting cowboy
March 01 2013, 12:48PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

McKenzie says there is no provision for the Flames to have signed ROR and then not played him...meaning he would have been FORCED onto waivers.

I still think the case is a weird one, but this could have gone completely wrong for the Flames.

Wow. just wow. Yesterday during the 1st period I was pretty happy to be a Flames fan. I'm now at an all time low.

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#54 Stockley
March 01 2013, 12:53PM
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Bean-counting cowboy wrote:

Wow. just wow. Yesterday during the 1st period I was pretty happy to be a Flames fan. I'm now at an all time low.

I would imagine most people who are fans of this sad, sad bunch are probably right there with you. Almost ashamed to own as many jerseys as I do right now.

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#55 Monaertchi Gaudnett
March 01 2013, 12:54PM
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This seems crazy to me. If ROR goes on waivers before becoming a Flame, couldn't COL have claimed him and kept our 1st & 3rd as well?

If that's the case, then Feaster effed up, and so did Sherman.

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#56 clYDE
March 01 2013, 12:54PM
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There is no way Feaster can continue is there? Can the ownership please allow someone to come in and start the clean up? What a mess this organization is?

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#58 Stockley
March 01 2013, 01:02PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

He would have been claimed by CBJ (the first team in the waiver order) before he ever made it back to COL.

For sure. No way he would have made it back to Colorado via waivers. Willing to bet almost every team would put in a claim.

So two teams would have improved while ours was left treading water and waiting to drown.

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#59 Monaertchi Gaudnett
March 01 2013, 01:02PM
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@Kent Wilson

Right, good point.

If this whole thing is true, no one will ever offer another offer sheet to any player that would have to go through waivers.

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#60 Stockley
March 01 2013, 01:03PM
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Monaertchi Gaudnett wrote:

Right, good point.

If this whole thing is true, no one will ever offer another offer sheet to any player that would have to go through waivers.

Somehow I doubt Feaster will feel honored for bringing this to the attention of the world so others do not follow in his foot steps...

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#61 seve927
March 01 2013, 01:03PM
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I just don't see how legally you can be forced to pay compensation for something you don't receive. It doesn't make sense.

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#62 Dank
March 01 2013, 01:03PM
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Wow thats...... embarrasing. Well, I was pissed COL matched yesterday, but in light of recent discoveries... not so much

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#64 Joe J
March 01 2013, 01:06PM
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seve927 wrote:

I just don't see how legally you can be forced to pay compensation for something you don't receive. It doesn't make sense.

Yea, that's messed up.

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#65 RexLibris
March 01 2013, 01:08PM
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I don't know if this has been covered yet, but who in the Flames organization is the "capologist", the legal expert in charge of discerning the ins and outs of the new CBA? Am I right in saying Michael Holditch?

To my mind, the fault would fall on his shoulders as well as Feaster.

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#66 RexLibris
March 01 2013, 01:10PM
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@Kent Wilson

He rejected the Canucks' offer. See! There is a silver lining in every cloud.

I wonder if this is why there was such hesitation amongst the other teams to offer sheet him.

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#67 Tach
March 01 2013, 01:12PM
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I'm sorry if I am being a simpleton, but are these not "Re-Entry Waivers" we are discussing?

The NHLPA says:

Re-Entry Waivers will be eliminated.

(see the earlier comment which linked to the NHLPA summary of the CBA terms)

Also, that mcsorley-stick.com website someone else linked to says:

Under the 2013 CBA, re-entry waivers have been eliminated. They are gone. They don’t exist. Strike them from your consciousness.

Does anyone actually have the terms of the CBA yet?

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#68 Monaertchi Gaudnett
March 01 2013, 01:12PM
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@seve927

Maybe if COL doesn't match, and ROR gets claimed by another club (ie CBJ) then that club would have to give up draft picks instead of CGY?

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#69 RexLibris
March 01 2013, 01:13PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

It sounds like Johnston did some leg work on this, but the current issue exists in a very grey area, moreso because the situation is bizarre and unprecedented. it wouldn't surprise me if there's a special addendum or clarification to the language in the CBA to avoid this happening in the future after today.

Good point and the later details support his story. Johnston does deserve full credit for the work he did on this.

I just find it baffling that the CBA would include such measures that stifle any mechanism that so heavily favours player pay increase and movement. I suppose though that it wasn't drafted specifically with mid-season holdouts in mind.

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#70 oilersfanincalgary
March 01 2013, 01:19PM
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@Kent Wilson

Whether or not another team also overlooked the rule is hardly mitigating. Feaster is paid to know the rules before he signs the offer sheet. Isn't he a lawyer by trade? This should be an event that leads to his dismissal.

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#71 RexLibris
March 01 2013, 01:27PM
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Holditch is apparently the person in charge of translating the CBA. Feaster and Weisbrod are the men running the hockey operations and both have considerable legal backgrounds.

That being said, there is the saying about three lawyers in a room and four legal opinions, so confusion or mis-translation is hardly surprising.

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#72 seve927
March 01 2013, 01:28PM
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Monaertchi Gaudnett wrote:

Maybe if COL doesn't match, and ROR gets claimed by another club (ie CBJ) then that club would have to give up draft picks instead of CGY?

That would be my take. It is by the language of the CBA 'compensation'. I don't believe any of this meets the intention of the agreement.

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#73 oilersfanincalgary
March 01 2013, 01:33PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Holditch is apparently the person in charge of translating the CBA. Feaster and Weisbrod are the men running the hockey operations and both have considerable legal backgrounds.

That being said, there is the saying about three lawyers in a room and four legal opinions, so confusion or mis-translation is hardly surprising.

Ok, but if one of the lawyers thinks the rules might apply in this way, it's extraordinarily reckless to plough ahead without getting clarity on the point. Still ground for dismissal in my opinion.

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#75 matsthomassen
March 01 2013, 01:40PM
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fwiw, i have to interpret crappy loophole-laden legal clauses like this one all the time, and i don't interpret this one as requiring waivers when another team does the signing.

not a lawyer though. :)

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#76 Hometownoil
March 01 2013, 01:40PM
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As hard as this is for me to say (I am an Oiler fan) the real idiot in this debacle is Colorado. If Colorado had known about their own player's status they would have told every GM that if you offer sheet him, he has to clear waivers. Then there are no Offer Sheets and they would have had O'Reilly signed at a much better rate and much earlier. I can give Calgary a pass (no harm no foul) but I sure would be raking the Colorado's management over the coals for mishandling their own assets.

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#77 RexLibris
March 01 2013, 01:51PM
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Hometownoil wrote:

As hard as this is for me to say (I am an Oiler fan) the real idiot in this debacle is Colorado. If Colorado had known about their own player's status they would have told every GM that if you offer sheet him, he has to clear waivers. Then there are no Offer Sheets and they would have had O'Reilly signed at a much better rate and much earlier. I can give Calgary a pass (no harm no foul) but I sure would be raking the Colorado's management over the coals for mishandling their own assets.

Excellent point. Sherman is showing more and more to be a lacklustre GM, in my view.

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#78 oilersfanincalgary
March 01 2013, 01:58PM
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Hometownoil wrote:

As hard as this is for me to say (I am an Oiler fan) the real idiot in this debacle is Colorado. If Colorado had known about their own player's status they would have told every GM that if you offer sheet him, he has to clear waivers. Then there are no Offer Sheets and they would have had O'Reilly signed at a much better rate and much earlier. I can give Calgary a pass (no harm no foul) but I sure would be raking the Colorado's management over the coals for mishandling their own assets.

Obviously a lot of people made a mistake if Bill Daley's interpretation is right. However, if I am employing a GM who proceeded without first clarifying the correct view, two very real scenarios present themselves. First, you don't get the player and you lose the draft picks. Second, in the alternative you lose the draft picks and end up in a legal dispute with Columbus. Once aware that the rules might apply to require that the player is placed on waivers, if I am the Columbus GM of course I am going to try to force the rules to apply in my favour. All of this muddies the waters so much that it is inexcusable that the GM of any team could proceed without more clarity. If the GM of your team is so reckless as to proceed without first knowing of the possible dangers, he cannot be given a pass because others were also reckless. That he is lucky that Colorado matched does not mean he wasn't reckless in the first place.

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#79 Robert Johnson
March 01 2013, 01:59PM
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Weeks ago I said this organization is in trouble and that it starts with the Owners and trickles down from there.

This fiasco is embarrassing and bush league...with apologies to all the bush leagues out there.

Calgary: The City with the worst professional sports franchise on the planet - in more way than one.

Come for the garbage hockey - stay to watch and laugh at the morons who run the show.

Sad.....

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#80 RED 31
March 01 2013, 02:01PM
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Forget the first line centre problem, clearly the # 1 issue facing the Flames is to get more lawyers involved in the running of this team!!!

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#81 Ryan Pike
March 01 2013, 02:06PM
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The Flames just released a statement saying, to paraphrase, "We disagree with the NHL's interpretation, and the O'Reilly camp agreed with our interpretation."

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#82 lionlager
March 01 2013, 02:06PM
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Interesting how 24 hours ago Feaster was being lauded by fans and reporters for his balls and his ingenuity. I guess if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Dodged a bullet here, but I imagine Feaster's reputation here has taken a huge hit. I was a defender of his yesterday, but today... man, this could have been disastrous.

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#83 Cowtown 1989
March 01 2013, 02:08PM
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What a PR nightmare for this already beleaguered franchise. Feasted needs to own this right away. I am proud to be a Flames fan but this is ridiculous. Ownership continues to spend up to the cap but as with any corporation, experts are hired to know this type of thing. When something like an offer sheet arises, shouldn't the league have their own legal team to protect the integrity of the teams as well. Someone made reference to the CFL, but they don't have a monopoly on drafting deceased players or things just as embarrassing. The press release claims this mess is due to "interpretation" issues and that there will be no further comment. Further to that, the press release indicates the player agent shared the Flames interpretation. Either way, it was in his interest to get this resolved. He still gets his cut.

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#84 cpbrowner
March 01 2013, 02:10PM
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From Randy Sportak's Twitter:

"Flames released a statement saying their interpretation of the rule is different and would have argued it. Since it's moot, want to move on"

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#85 oilersfanincalgary
March 01 2013, 02:13PM
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@Ryan Pike

At least this shows there were aware of the issue and elected to proceed in any event. You might want to question if it was worth the risk. More importantly if both sides saw the issue the question I have is why didn't they try to confirm the league's position first?

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#86 Colin
March 01 2013, 02:18PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

The Flames just released a statement saying, to paraphrase, "We disagree with the NHL's interpretation, and the O'Reilly camp agreed with our interpretation."

And there it is, like I said previously in the comments, the wording under the MOU is VERY vague at best. The wording on the MOU can easily go either way and depending on how it would be argued very easily interpreted that he doesn't need to go through waivers(Still my interpretation of it).

A lot of people want to jump on the Flames and their terrible management, but quite honestly, it was a very stupid move to offer the offer sheet to ROR when it was just the agent and the Flames that agreed on the wording, honestly they should have waited 1 day and got an advanced ruling from the NHL, cause they could have come out really badly in this.

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#87 Michael
March 01 2013, 02:18PM
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From Randy Sportak's Twitter:

"Flames released a statement saying their interpretation of the rule is different and would have argued it. Since it's moot, want to move on"

You bet they want to move on... NO WAY they would have gambled a first and a third if their was even a hint that ROR would have to clear waivers. Statement is pure PR, they got caught with their pants down pure and simple.

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#89 kittensandcookies
March 01 2013, 02:28PM
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Wow, that was weird. Can't see how it wouldn't have gone Calgary's way in the end though if Colorado didn't match.

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#90 Colin
March 01 2013, 02:30PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

O'Reilly's agent admitted today he didn't know about it either.

So who is lying then, cause Flames just said they did know about it.

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#91 RexLibris
March 01 2013, 02:32PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

O'Reilly's agent admitted today he didn't know about it either.

Just to get this straight then, the Flames release a statement saying that the O'Reilly camp agreed with their interpretation of the rule, then the agent says that they didn't know about the rule?

Am I following the bouncing ball correctly in this?

Maybe the Flames should just stop releasing statements for awhile.

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#92 oilersfanincalgary
March 01 2013, 02:35PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

O'Reilly's agent admitted today he didn't know about it either.

If that's true, how do you reconcile that with the Flames statement that "the player's representative shared our interpretation and position ..."?

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#93 negrilcowboy
March 01 2013, 02:36PM
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what a joke. lots a intellectual honesty surrounding the flames office today.

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#94 Scary Gary
March 01 2013, 02:38PM
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Tach wrote:

I'm sorry if I am being a simpleton, but are these not "Re-Entry Waivers" we are discussing?

The NHLPA says:

Re-Entry Waivers will be eliminated.

(see the earlier comment which linked to the NHLPA summary of the CBA terms)

Also, that mcsorley-stick.com website someone else linked to says:

Under the 2013 CBA, re-entry waivers have been eliminated. They are gone. They don’t exist. Strike them from your consciousness.

Does anyone actually have the terms of the CBA yet?

I'm with Tach, didn't the NHL get rid of re-entry waivers?

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#95 Avalain
March 01 2013, 02:40PM
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@RexLibris

No, the Flames released a statement saying that they disagree with the rule and the O'Reilly camp "agrees" with their interpretation. Not "agreed". Present tense.

They did not say they knew about it beforehand. They said they disagree with how the rule is being interpreted.

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#97 Cowtown 1989
March 01 2013, 02:46PM
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@RexLibris

Pure spin. I would imagine Conny or Weisbrod handle the press for a while.

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#98 Avalain
March 01 2013, 02:48PM
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To be completely fair, I don't think anyone really understood how this part of the rules would work in this particular situation. And that includes the people who wrote the rules in the first place.

No one in their right mind would explicitly write a rule that would mean that giving an offer sheet on a player would result in you losing your picks and getting the player waived and taken away, and even if they weren't in their right mind such a disastrous scenario would be outlined very well.

I expect this portion of the rules will be amended soon (one way or another).

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#99 Avalain
March 01 2013, 02:50PM
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oilersfanincalgary wrote:

If that's true, how do you reconcile that with the Flames statement that "the player's representative shared our interpretation and position ..."?

Heh, because they called the player's representative earlier this morning and asked.

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#100 negrilcowboy
March 01 2013, 02:50PM
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thank god we traded for mcgratton. whats the backlash going to be. yep i trust feasta and company with a rebuild

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