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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#51 Stockley
March 01 2013, 11:31AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

TSN reporting Daly confirming O'Reilly would have had to go through waivers.

Yeesh.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=417108

Words fail me at the moment. Inept just doesn't do this laughing stock justice at the moment. I don't know if there's a word that exists right now to sum up this entire mess.

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#53 fretsey
March 01 2013, 11:34AM
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The fact that ROR apparently played 2 games in Russia AFTER the NHL started has something to do with this,no?

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#54 Colin.S
March 01 2013, 11:36AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Im going to give Feaster the benefit of the doubt here I think. The rule is not only obscure and the situation exceptional, but the language of the rule itself is ambiguous. Im guessing if this all went down and O'Reilly got claimed the Flames would have filed a grievance with a chance of winning.

I'd put it as a certainty of winning, the language is so vague and obtuse that when I read it, there is no possessive language in that at all, meaning it doesn't specific the signing team has to be the team with the player on it's list.

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#56 exsanguinator
March 01 2013, 11:38AM
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http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/nhl-waiver-rules-explained/

A player who is playing in Europe, not on loan from an NHL team, who wishes to return to the NHL after the start of the season, must first go through waivers (e.g. Nabokov), unless…

…when that player left the NHL his rights were still controlled by an NHL team and at the time he left he still had waiver exemption remaining (e.g. Radulov).

For what it's worth. Either way it looks like according to standard waiver rules he would not have been exempt.

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#57 Stockley
March 01 2013, 11:38AM
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@Colin.S

It's still a big black eye for a franchise, GM and fan base that really doesn't need another punch in the face. When does it end?

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#58 TTT
March 01 2013, 11:41AM
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If this is true, we really have to question the entire management of the the Flames. Between the odd signing, bizarre demotions and this, I really have no faith in the current management.

Also, again if this is true, I am surprised that the Avalanche didn't stick it to the Flames by taking the draft picks and watching the Flames fall to last place without the help of ROR.

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#59 redricardo
March 01 2013, 11:47AM
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Colorado could bring him back without going on waivers since he was on their RFA list.

Since Calgary wouldn't be bringing him back without compensation (1st and 3rd) it could be argued that the first and third involved traded O'Reilly from Colorado's RFA list to Calgary's RFA list.

I think the most logical argument is Kent's, goes to limbo, Calgary files a grievance they most likely win. Although I am very curious to hear Feaster's take on this.

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#60 everton fc
March 01 2013, 11:49AM
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TTT wrote:

If this is true, we really have to question the entire management of the the Flames. Between the odd signing, bizarre demotions and this, I really have no faith in the current management.

Also, again if this is true, I am surprised that the Avalanche didn't stick it to the Flames by taking the draft picks and watching the Flames fall to last place without the help of ROR.

Perhaps the Avs will stick it to the Flames. They should.

No way management understood this, if true. What a circus!

Jason Botterill for GM.

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#61 fretsey
March 01 2013, 11:52AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yes, that's what it all rests on apparently.

Thanks Kent, I know it's all moot now..but had the Flames acquired ROR and had to sit him for the rest of the year I wonder how that would have affected ROR's Qualifying Offer? I thought there was a minimum # of games needed to be played the prior year...etc. Amusing musings...lol

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#62 the-wolf
March 01 2013, 11:54AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Im going to give Feaster the benefit of the doubt here I think. The rule is not only obscure and the situation exceptional, but the language of the rule itself is ambiguous. Im guessing if this all went down and O'Reilly got claimed the Flames would have filed a grievance with a chance of winning.

Flames should've done their homework first is the point.

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#64 rubbertrout
March 01 2013, 12:05PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The inclusion of "a club's reserve list" is the tripping point for me. Does that mean ROR would NOT have been on the Flames reserve/RFA list before being signed and therefore subject to waivers.

Strikes me as possible but, again, unlikely.

If they sign him as an RFA, and he is still an RFA for them (presumably because of the qualifying offer scenario) then how would he not be?

I guess the issue is how or when this changes depending on the "before" he signs.

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#65 Michael
March 01 2013, 12:07PM
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'The rule is not only obscure and the situation exceptional, but the language of the rule itself is ambiguous'

Feaster as a former Asst GM and current GM should know the rule book inside out. On top of that, he is a lawyer, obscure, exceptional situations and ambigous rules should be his norm. Luckily, they matched the offer and it didn't become an issue, but even so, this has to qualify as a big black mark against Feaster and the front office.

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#66 Stockley
March 01 2013, 12:09PM
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If anyone other than Bobby Mac were reporting on this I might still be in Feaster's corner. At this point I don't know what to believe. I'm sure we'll get a presser later on today about how the Flames interpretation of the rules led them to believe it would be in their favor, they were confident they would win a grievance if it came to that, etc.

The sad fact this has become a story this morning is just more heartbreak for we the faithful. Being a Flames fan just feels more and more like one of those friendships I had when in middle school. The sort of friend you never talk to anymore but hold onto out of familiarity and history. You can take it or leave it really, but at the same time it's just too hard to give up on it completely no matter how disillusioned you have become. I thought being a sports fan was supposed to be a pleasant distraction from the doldrums of every day life? How did it come to this?

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#67 Kevin R
March 01 2013, 12:18PM
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Wow! I'm speechless. What a freaking mess. The last thing we need is to have a new GM at this point of time but if this was the GM's oversite, it would have to be treated no different than Tallons fiasco. Dont know what to say. If Edwards puts up with this, Iwould be shocked, so I would imagine Weisbrod would take over asbeing the puppet. Jerome, waive your NTC as soon as you possibly can & GTF out of here as fast as you can!!!

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#68 Stockley
March 01 2013, 12:24PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Wow! I'm speechless. What a freaking mess. The last thing we need is to have a new GM at this point of time but if this was the GM's oversite, it would have to be treated no different than Tallons fiasco. Dont know what to say. If Edwards puts up with this, Iwould be shocked, so I would imagine Weisbrod would take over asbeing the puppet. Jerome, waive your NTC as soon as you possibly can & GTF out of here as fast as you can!!!

I think Edwards is part of the problem. This bunch is pathetic and doesn't care. We all have days where we don't feel like showing up to work and go through the motions; it's happening far too much in Calgary right now.

If I went to work several times a month and didn't pull my weight I would probably be fired. It's unfortunate sometimes you can't do the same with hockey players who stop showing up for work and are just there to collect their pay...

The organization is a damn mess from ownership right down to the clowns on the ice.

Welcome back to Calgary Mr. McGrattan. You'll fit right in.

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#69 beloch
March 01 2013, 12:26PM
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The regulations aren't voted on by parliament and written into the charter for Pete's sake! If they could be interpreted in such a way that a player signed to an offer-sheet has to pass through waivers before entering the league, they would have updated the rules. Not doing so would have made them look even more foolish than Feaster would have if ROR had to stay in the KHL for the rest of the season (Honestly, picking him up would have still been a smart move even if that were the case).

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#70 backburner
March 01 2013, 12:30PM
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Even if they were aware of this and did choose to sit him.. what would be the point in acquiring him?

I'm sure there is some wiggle room in that rule somewhere...

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#71 seve927
March 01 2013, 12:35PM
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I'm of the understanding that other offer sheets were given to O'Reilly (Vancouver, apparently, according to Steinberg last night). So I don't think the Flames were the only ones unaware. And the error made by Colorado in actually matching would seem to me to be much greater.

The whole thing is a bit of a joke.

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#73 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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#74 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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#75 Monaertchi
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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#76 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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#77 Stockley
March 01 2013, 01:03PM
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Monaertchi 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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#78 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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#79 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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#81 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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#82 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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#83 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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#84 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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#85 Monaertchi
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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#86 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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#87 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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#88 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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#89 seve927
March 01 2013, 01:28PM
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Monaertchi 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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#90 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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#92 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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#93 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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#94 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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#95 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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#96 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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#97 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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#98 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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#99 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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#100 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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