Lyle Richardson

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.

Rumor Roundup: With nine UFAs, Leafs aren’t done dealing

Lyle Richardson
Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer.

The Toronto Maple Leafs trading defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators served to stoke speculation over which Maple Leafs could be next out the door. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail notes the Leafs have nine players — goaltender James Reimer, defenseman Roman Polak and forwards P-A Parenteau, Michael Grabner, Shawn Matthias, Brad Boyes, Nick Spaling, Marco Arcobello and Rich Clune — eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer.

It’s expected Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello will try to move as many as he can for prospects and/or draft picks. Mirtle believes Reimer and Parenteau hold the most value, suggesting they could fetch second-round picks or prospects.

Lamoriello could also try moving a player with term remaining on his contract if there’s a decent returnn to be had. Mirtle claims the Leafs discussed moving goaltender Jonathan Bernier and center Daniel Winnik. He also suggests center Tyler Bozak could hold interest in the trade market, but left winger Joffrey Lupul’s injury history makes him difficult to move.

Mirtle doubts Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner will be shopped. He considers them part of the young core the Leafs wish to build around.

The Phaneuf trade also increased anticipation the Leafs are preparing to pursue Tampa Bay Lightning center Stephen Stamkos if he becomes a UFA in July. Having traded away their captain in Phaneuf, the Leafs will be lacking experienced leadership and star presence. Stamkos could fill both roles.

But as Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times points out, there’s no guarantees the Leafs can land Stamkos, who wants to win a Stanley Cup. Smith believes the Lightning captain could receive lucrative offers from clubs in better position to win than the Leafs.

SENATORS FRONT RUNNERS FOR DROUIN?

Having bolstered his blueline with Dion Phaneuf, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray could turn his attention toward adding a top-six forward. TVA Sports reporters Louis Jean and Renaud Lavoie claim the Senators are now the front-runners for suspended Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin.

The Senators surfaced last month among the suitors for the 20-year-old Drouin, who struggled to establish himself as a playmaker with the Lightning. Murray is also interested in adding a player with term left on his contract. Drouin is in the second season of a three-year entry-level deal, making him quite affordable for the cost-conscious Senators.

For weeks, the St. Louis Blues were considered the prime candidates to land Drouin. However, it seems their interest has faded, especially with left winger Jaden Schwartz returning from a fractured ankle. The Senators also have depth in young players and prospects to dangle for Drouin. It’s believed the Lightning seek either a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot or a couple of top prospects.

KINGS EYEING JETS’ LADD

In the wake of the Winnipeg Jets re-signing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to an expensive new contract, there’s increasing chatter over pending UFA left winger Andrew Ladd’s future. Consensus among the punditry suggests the 30-year-old Ladd will be playing elsewhere by the end of the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

If the Jets shop Ladd, they won’t lack for suitors. Teams in need of scoring depth, like the Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, could come calling soon.

Prior to Byfuglien signing his new deal, there was talk the Los Angeles Kings were interested in him. NBC Sports’ Mike Halford cites a Winnipeg Free Press report claiming the Kings could shift their interest to Ladd.

Their rumored interest in Byfuglien was to fill the gap left by the departed Slava Voynov on their blueline. If so, it’s odd that they would suddenly go after Ladd, especially when they’ve got Milan Lucic and Marian Gaborik on the left side. Gaborik, however, has struggled offensively this season, so perhaps the Kings see the need to bolster their left wing if they can’t land a top-four blueliner.

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Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

Rumor Roundup: Teams looking for blueline help should look to Yandle, Hamhuis

Lyle Richardson
Keith Yandle (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the Winnipeg Jets re-signing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien earlier this week, teams that were interested in trading for him must look elsewhere for blueline help. Their focus could shift toward pending unrestricted free agents like the New York Rangers’ Keith Yandle and the Vancouver Canucks’ Dan Hamhuis.

Yandle’s been the subject of considerable trade speculation this season. There was talk of the Rangers peddling him at the trade deadline for a top-six forward. However, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports a suspected concussion suffered by blueliner Ryan McDonagh could force the Rangers to hang onto Yandle for the remainder of the season.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings had internal discussion about the 33-year-old Hamhuis. He also suggests the Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals could be interested.

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Rumor Roundup: How Byfgulien deal, Phaneuf trade impact NHL trade market

Lyle Richardson
Dustin Byfuglien.

The ripples from the Toronto Maple Leafs shipping defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators, and the Winnipeg Jets re-signing blueliner Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year deal will be felt upon the NHL trade and free-agent markets.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli believes the Leafs, by shipping out Phaneuf’s long-term deal with its $7-million annual salary cap hit, are clearing cap room to pursue Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos via free agency. While the contracts of new Leafs wingers Milan Michalek, Colin Greening and defenseman Jared Cowen (combined salary-cap hit of $9.75 million) stretch into next season, Seravalli wouldn’t be surprised if none of them start next season in Toronto.

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Rumor Roundup: Expensive backup Jimmy Howard likely to hit trade market

Lyle Richardson
Jimmy Howard (Mike Stobe/National Hockey League)

With Petr Mrazek having displaced Jimmy Howard as the Detroit Red Wings’ starting goaltender, questions are being raised over the latter’s future in the Motor City. Howard is under contract through 2018-19 at an annual cap hit of $5.29 million.

Now an expensive backup, the 31-year-old netminder could become the subject of trade speculation in the near future. He carries a full no-trade clause, but could waive it for an opportunity to become a starting goalie elsewhere.

Responding to a question from a reader regarding Howard’s trade status, MLive.com’s Ansar Khan speculates the Wings will wait until the offseason to move him. Khan believes they must either pick up part of Howard’s cap hit or take back someone else’s unwanted contract, preferably one not as expensive or as lengthy as Howard’s.

Noting there’s not much of a trade market for goaltenders, Khan suggests the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets or Buffalo Sabres as possible destinations for Howard. The Jets face a similar problem as the Wings, as promising Connor Hellebuyck could make it difficult for veteran Ondrej Pavelec to regain the starter’s job. As for the Sabres, they seem wedded to oft-injured Robin Lehner as their top netminder.

The Flames could be a better destination for Howard, as Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo are eligible in July for unrestricted free agency. However, if Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer becomes available via free agency, the Flames could consider him a more affordable option.

OILERS READY TO BECOME SELLERS

As the Edmonton Oilers’ playoff hopes continue to fade, there’s increasing speculation over which players GM Peter Chiarelli could ship out before the trade deadline. For months, it’s been rumored Chiarelli might deal one of his scoring forwards to bring in a top-four defenseman.

Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was considered the most likely trade candidate. Following the Nashville Predators’ trading defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen, a report emerged claiming Chiarelli offered Nugent-Hopkins to the Predators for Jones. With the 22-year-old center currently sidelined until March by a hand injury, it’s unlikely he’ll be moved by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Michael Traikos of the Toronto Sun includes Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle among his list of top players who could move by the trade deadline. However, he acknowledges it might make more sense to wait until season’s end to move a player like Eberle.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports there’s plenty of interest in defenseman Justin Schultz if the Oilers want to move him. The 25-year-old is on a one-year deal paying him $3.9 million and slated to become a restricted free agent in July.

Schultz has struggled to establish himself as a top-four defenseman, but could improve on a deeper roster. Chiarelli could wait until the off-season to peddle Schultz, but the blueliner’s also eligible for arbitration rights and only a year away from qualifying for unrestricted free agency. Rather than deal with that headache, Chiarelli could opt to deal him at the trade deadline.

MORE RUMOR ROUNDUP:

 

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

 

Rumor Roundup: Bruins may deal Eriksson rather than lose him to free agency

Lyle Richardson
Loui Eriksson. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson remains a hot topic of NHL trade speculation. Eligible for UFA status in July, recent reports claim the 30-year-old could seek a five-year deal worth over $6 million per season. That’s too expensive for the Bruins, who could trade Eriksson rather than lose him to free agency in July.

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports the Bruins could try moving Eriksson for a defenseman. While that deal would address a pressing need for the Bruins, it will be difficult replacing a reliable two-way right winger. Indeed, trading Eriksson could adversely affect their playoff hopes.

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Rumor Roundup: Canadiens GM Bergevin looking for offensive help

Lyle Richardson
(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/GEtty Images Sport)

As the Montreal Canadiens continue to plummet in the standings, calls are rising for GM Marc Bergevin to do something to save their dwindling playoff hopes. As Bergevin has publicly stated he won’t change the coaching staff, his only option is the trade market.

The more the losses pile up, the more the trade rumor mill buzzes in anticipation over Bergevin’s plans. There’s been talk of pursuing Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels recently reported right winger Dale Weise and defenseman Tom Gilbert could be shopped if the losing continues.

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Rumor Roundup: Deal brewing between Lightning and Blues for Drouin

Lyle Richardson
Jonathan Drouin (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been a month since the agent for Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin revealed his client’s trade request. While the 20-year-old remains suspended indefinitely by the Bolts for refusing to play for their AHL affiliate in Syracuse, GM Steve Yzerman continues fielding trade offers.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes a deal could be “percolating” between the Lightning and the St. Louis Blues. Friedman originally speculated Blues rookie Robby Fabbri could be part of it but has since changed his mind. He also notes the Blues want to see how sidelined left wing Jaden Schwartz performs when he returns later this month.

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Rumor Roundup: Trade dominoes will fall once Jets decide what to do with Byfuglien, Ladd

Lyle Richardson
Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the Feb. 29 trade deadline looming, many observers are focused upon what the Winnipeg Jets will do with pending free agents Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, whatever decisions the Jets make with those two will directly affect the trade market in the coming weeks.

The duo have become the most-discussed players of late in the rumor mill. Byfuglien, 30, has already been linked to the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers. USA Today’s Jimmy Hascup lists the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins as additional possible trade destinations.

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