Lyle Richardson is a contributing writer to THN. His Rumor Roundup has been a regular feature since 2007. He also runs the website spectorshockey.net. A Canadiens fan married to a Leafs fan, Lyle's Saturday nights during hockey season can get quite entertaining at his home.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch lists the San Jose Sharks, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames “and possibly” the St. Louis Blues as teams that could seek goaltending this summer.
Free agency is one reason these clubs could be shopping for depth between the pipes. San Jose’s Antti Niemi, Buffalo’s Anders Lindback, Edmonton’s Viktor Fasth and Calgary’s Karri Ramo are eligible to become unrestricted free agents in July. If they test the market they’ll have to be replaced. Read more
Though there’s over two weeks remaining in the NHL regular-season schedule, it can’t end soon enough for the moribund Toronto Maple Leafs and their disappointed fans. The Leafs have slid to 27th overall, entering Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers having won only six games since Jan. 1.
The National Post’s Michael Traikos reports attendance at the Air Canada Centre has declined to the lowest levels in the arena’s 16-year history. For the first time since 1972, Hockey Night in Canada booted the Leafs off a recent Saturday-night telecast.
Toronto fans are left wishing for the Leafs to win the 2015 NHL Draft lottery and the right to select future NHL superstar center Connor McDavid. Pundits, meanwhile, continue to speculate over which members of the current Leafs roster won’t be around when training camp opens in September. Read more
With Viktor Fasth seemingly assured of departing via free agency in July, the Edmonton Oilers will be in the market for someone to share the goaltending duties with Ben Scrivens.
In recent weeks, there’s been speculation over Cam Talbot‘s future with the New York Rangers. Talbot, 27, has a one-year contract beyond this season and is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2016. Despite his stellar play filling in for the sidelined Henrik Lundqvist, there’s no way Talbot will supplant “King Henrik” as the Rangers’ starting goalie. Read more
Since last season, the Dallas Stars’ fortunes have risen or fallen based upon the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen. In 2013-14, Lehtonen’s solid performance (33-20-10, 2.41 GAA, .919 SP) was instrumental in the Stars reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The 31-year-old’s struggles this season (30-14-10, 2.87 GAA, .906 SP) put the club’s playoff hopes on thin ice.
It’s also prompted some questions over Lehtonen’s future in Dallas. There’s been speculation Stars GM Jim Nill could consider finding a more reliable starter, but replacing his current one (who’s earning $5.9 million annually for three more seasons) won’t be easy. Lehtonen also has a partial no-trade clause. Read more
Despite considerable speculation this season over forward Ryan O’Reilly‘s future with the Colorado Avalanche, the 24-year-old was not among those on the move at the recent trade deadline. While he’ll finish this season with the Avalanche, it remains to be seen how long he’ll remain in Colorado.
O’Reilly’s $6-million annual cap hit and eligibility for unrestricted free agency in July 2016 makes him a frequent subject for trade rumors. The Denver Post’s Terry Frei praises O’Reilly as a well-respected and terrific two-way player who could be the final piece of the championship puzzle for an elite team but notes the decline in his production makes it difficult to justify his expensive salary. Read more
Prior to this season, Joe Thornton‘s future with the San Jose Sharks came under question when GM Doug Wilson stripped him of the captaincy. This followed a summer of speculation over whether the 35-year-old center might be pressured into waiving his no-movement clause.
Scrutiny over Thornton’s relationship with Wilson recently flared up again. The San Jose Mercury News’ David Pollak reports Wilson’s recent remarks to a group of Sharks season-ticket holders suggesting the stress of the captaincy got to Thornton prompted a terse reply from the latter. “He just needs to stop lying, shut his mouth,” said Thornton. Read more
For several weeks during the summer of 2011, Steven Stamkos‘ contract negotiations with the Tampa Bay Lightning were a dominant topic among NHL followers. With the 25-year-old Stamkos eligible for unrestricted free agency in July 2016, he could become a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill.
The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson reports the Lightning can open negotiations with Stamkos on July 1. If the Bolts don’t have their captain under contract in early-July, speculation will begin over his future in Tampa Bay. Erlendsson believes most of it will emanate from Toronto, as Stamkos is a Markham, Ont. native. Read more
Throughout the summer of 2012, the status of Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan dominated the NHL rumour mill. Doan was an unrestricted free agent and spent the summer being courted by several teams (including the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks) before re-signing a four-year deal with the Coyotes.
At the time, the Coyotes were coming off a run to the 2012 Western Conference Final and seemed to have a bright future. Nearly three years later, however, the Coyotes are poised to miss the playoffs for the third straight year, prompting management to begin a roster rebuild.
That’s cast some question over the 38-year-old Doan’s future with the Coyotes. He has only a year remaining on his current contract with a full no-trade clause. Doan recently told The Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan a rebuild wasn’t an ideal situation for player of his age. Though he has long maintained his preference is to remain with the Coyotes, NBC Sports’ Jason Brough wonders if Doan might be open to an off-season trade. Read more