Ryan Getzlaf vs. Ryan O’Reilly: two centers, two contracts, and two very different stories.
Sorry if you thought this was the third part in the Ryan vs. Ryan videos, (where Ryan Getzlaf one-ups Bobby Ryan with his Gold Medal, as can be seen via YouTube). No, this is a tale of how Ryan O’Reilly’s numbers and contract may have very well impacted the contract that Ryan Getzlaf signed this past Friday.
First, let’s take a look at the contracts both centers signed.
For those who may not know the full story, the Colorado Avalanche were at a stalemate in their negotiations with center Ryan O’Reilly just two weeks ago. After not playing for nearly the first half of the season, O’Reilly, (a restricted free agent), signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames which guaranteed him 12.5 million over the next two years. The Colorado Avalanche wasted no time and matched the offer sheet thus retaining O’Reilly’s services, but are now forced to pay O’Reilly an amount they previously had been unwilling to negotiate to.
This season O’Reilly will be making 3.5 million plus a 2.5 million signing bonus, with a cap hit of 5 million for the season. Next season his salary jumps up to 6.5 million, with the cap hit remaining at 5 million.
No one has seemed to argue that O’Reilly was worth more than what the Avalanche were hoping to pay him, and most in the hockey world, (myself included), are simply happy that O’Reilly has returned to the ice.
Getzlaf signed an 8 year contract, (the maximum allowed under the new CBA), at 8.25 million dollars per year. The contract includes a no trade clause, and the cap hit will be exactly what Getzlaf is getting paid: 8.25 million/year.
Getzlaf’s contract seems to have come under more scrutiny then O’Reilly’s. While Getzlaf is considered an elite center icemen, most hockey pundits seem to believe that Getzlaf would have come in at about 6.25 – 6.75 million/year, about 1.5 – 2 million less then where he ended up.
Many were stunned at the money in Getzlaf’s contract, myself included. But after considering more of the details and comparing Getzlaf’s contract to the recently signed Ryan O’Reilly, it started to make more sense.
Ryan O’Reilly led the Colorado Avalanche in points last season, playing 81 games and totaling 55 points. Not too shabby. 55 points last season put O’Reilly in the realm of players like Jonathan Toews, (57 points last season), David Backes, (54 points), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, (52 points). 55 points was also a career high for O’Reilly, who had failed to get more than 30 points in his previous two seasons with the Avalanche.
At 22 years old, O’Reilly certainly has a bright future in Colorado. His decent size, (6 foot, 200 pounds), combined with his strong faceoff percentage, (52.8% last season), make him a force to be reckoned with. His 37 assists last season had him tied with Steven Stamkos and Jamie Benn. No doubt, O’Reilly is a special player.
Despite having a terrible season last year Getzlaf still managed to tally 57 points last season. That’s right, a terrible season yielded him two more points than O’Reilly. In Getzlaf’s first “full season” with the Ducks, (he only played 57 games), he totaled 39 points. His next season, (in which he played all 82 games), he totaled 58 points. After that the numbers only grew to a season of 82 points, followed by an 91 point season. When Ryan Getzlaf had down years it was largely due to injury with the exception of last year, where, (as previously stated), he still posted 57 points.
At 27 years old Getzlaf has built himself quite the resume´. He has won a Stanley Cup, a Gold Medal, and is the current captain of the Anaheim Ducks, who are having a franchise record of a season. Getzlaf is 4 inches taller and about 20 pounds heavier than O’Reilly as well. Getzlaf’s size, skill, past numbers and current play all indicate he is one of a kind. Simply put: Getzlaf is a beast.
Nothing here is meant to put down Ryan O’Reilly, but to instead put things in perspective. O’Reilly is a stud and any team would be lucky to have him, but he simply is not Ryan Getzlaf.
What’s the point of this comparison? To establish why Getzlaf got paid big time. If Ryan O’Reilly is worth 6.5 million a season, how on earth is Getzlaf not worth 8.25? Ok so Getzlaf had a bad season last year, and yes he’s older than O’Reilly. But his resume´, numbers, size, skill, leadership, etc. all prove he’s worth it, (not to mention Getzlaf’s strong rebound this season). And at 27, Getzlaf certainly has plenty left in the tank.
Do you think for a minute that Getzlaf and his agent didn’t see the kind of money O’Reilly got paid and know Getzlaf is worth much more? It may not be much of a coincidence that Getzlaf’s contract finalized a week or so after O’Reilly’s. If the Calgary Flames were willing to pay O’Reilly 6.5 million, what would they, (or any team), have paid for Getzlaf had he hit the open market this summer? Would it have been in the realm of 8.25, or maybe even higher? There’s no way to actually know, but the Ducks may have got Getzlaf cheaper than what he could have got on the open market.
So yes the price was high but it had to be. Rather than bemoan the money spent, let’s all instead be thankful that Getzlaf wanted to stay, and that he’s staying in Anaheim for the next 8 years.
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