In asking the proper authorities tonight, it is confirmed: talks are still ongoing with Ryan O’Reilly. There was little to no contact for several days, but O’Reilly’s agents – Mark Guy and Pat Morris of the Newport Sports Agency in Ontario – did speak with Avalanche management today – presumably Greg Sherman.

That’s all I have for now. Don’t know if it was positive or negative, the talks. But I don’t think there’s any question that it’s a positive that talks are still happening at all. By my accounts, they had been very chilly previously. They still may be. Obviously, there is no deal yet.

I reported a couple weeks ago that the Avs’ offer to O’Reilly on a five-year deal was $17 million. That was true. Has it come up any? Not sure.

But the reason why O’Reilly wants more than that is because year 5 of any deal he might sign would include his first year of unrestricted free agency eligibility. At an average of $3.4 million on such a deal, it is argued on the O’Reilly side that that number doesn’t adequately address that first year of UFA. In effect, they say, the Avs need to recognize that there is a premium to be paid for that first year of UFA. And I think that argument is fair.

I think the Avs’ two-year offer – the last one I knew about anyway – of $7 million is actually a much more “fair” offer to O’Reilly, therefore, than the five-year deal. The Avs don’t feel they should pay O’Reilly any more than Matt Duchene on a two-year deal. His current deal is two years, $7 million. And I think that is fair too. While it can argued, and certainly is by O’Reilly’s agents, that O’Reilly brings other, more valuable things to the table than Duchene, I don’t think, at this point, O’Reilly should be paid more than Duchene on a TWO-YEAR deal.

But on a five-year deal, I don’t think Duchene or any other Avs player would have any problem at all with O’Reilly making more than him on a cap hit. Because, Duchene would know that the fifth year was a UFA premium year. And he knows that in two years, he’ll be able to negotiate a bigger deal probably than O’Reilly, assuming he plays well and produces until then.