Hotstove panel discusses Ryan O'Reilly controversy

The Hotstove Tonight panel joined the discussion involving Colorado Avalanche centre Ryan O'Reilly, his offer sheet controversy and the Calgary Flames' failed attempt to acquire the player.

Panel believes Calgary Flames are not to blame

Colorado Avalanche centre Ryan O'Reilly scored 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games for the team last year. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Hotstove Tonight panel weighed in Saturday on the Ryan O'Reilly controversy and the Calgary Flames' unsuccessful attempt to acquire the restricted free agent.

The Colorado Avalanche centre has been in the spotlight after Colorado matched the offer sheet he signed with Calgary on Thursday. 

The Flames and general manager Jay Feaster have been the recent targets of criticism due to a report that indicated O'Reilly played games in the KHL after the NHL's shortened season began, and he would be subject to the NHL's waiver process.

However, the panel doesn't believe Feaster should be blamed.

"My take is  [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman and the NHL will make a clarification on this, but it's not Feaster’s fault," said Hockey Night in Canada commentator Ron MacLean. "It’s the CBA's fault and Gary will fix it."

Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman added the league will come out with a much clearer statement and explanation.

"When the CBA does come out, the language will be much clearer," Friedman said. "It will be much more understood about the way this is supposed to work…"

National Hockey League Players’ Association executive Glenn Healy believes Calgary misinterpreted the collective bargaining agreement and didn’t ask the right question which, according to Healy, should have been: "Did that player play after the start of the season?"

"After that is very clear that O’Reilly should have to go through waivers."

While his co-hosts centred the talk about the Flames, Kevin Weekes looked at it from the Colorado Avalanche's perspective.

"These guys had their own player… they don’t take care of business and it ends up costing them in the end," Weekes said. "They didn’t want to pay him what another team forced them to pay him."

Weekes is sure the situation will bring issues to Colorado's salary plan in the future.

"Had they handle this the right way within the organization, it would have not come to this," he said. "Now they’re on the hook for 10 million dollars and that’s gonna affect their salary structure going forward."