The Colorado Avalanche have opted to match the Calgary Flames' offer sheet to restricted free agent forward Ryan O'Reilly.
The two-year offer carries an average annual value of $5 million. O'Reilly will make $1 million in base salary for 2012-13 with a signing bonus worth $2.5 million. His 2013-14 salary will be $6.5 million.
"This was a goal of ours from the outset, to get Ryan signed," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said. "That goal has never changed. Sometimes the process takes a little longer than you would expect or want, but he's staying with the Colorado Avalanche.
"Given the timeframe we moved on this, it's clear what our (objective) was," Sherman added. "We moved very quickly and efficiently to make a decision to match the offer."
The Flames announced they had signed O'Reilly to an offer sheet earlier on Thursday evening.Though thwarted in their attempt to sign O'Reilly, the Flames stood by their decision to offer-sheet the young centre.
"We believe Ryan O'Reilly is a franchise player," the Flames said in a statement released Thursday night. "While we attempted to acquire him via trade, we felt the asking price was too steep and would negatively impact our future. As such, we decided to tender an offer sheer and were very pleased to have the player accept our offer."
"We attempted to structure the offer so as to enhance our chances of getting the player. We attempted to improve our hockey team and will continue to do so going forward."
Colorado had a seven-day window to match the offer or accept compensation from the Flames. Had the Avalanche chosen not to match the offer sheet they would have received Calgary's first- and third-round choices at the 2013 NHL Draft.
With a second-year salary of $6.5 million, a potential qualifying offer for O'Reilly's next contract would have to equal that amount. Since Colorado decided to match the Flames' offer they may not trade O'Reilly within one calendar year.
The 22-year-old forward scored 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games.
Originally drafted in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, O'Reilly has scored 39 goals and 68 assists for 107 points in 236 career games with the Avalanchens.
The 2011-12 season was O'Reilly's final year on the three-year entry-level deal he signed with Colorado prior to the 2009-10 season.