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: Lightning begin negotiating with Stamkos as Drouin sits and awaits trade

Lyle Richardson
Steven Stamkos (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

For most of January, the trade request by Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin and his recent holdout overshadowed the contract negotiations between the club and captain Steven Stamkos However, recent talk of a rumored offer by the Lightning pushed those negotiations to the forefront.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Lightning pitched a deal to the Stamkos camp worth $8.5 million annually. Stamkos subsequently told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he had no comment about the report, adding his contract discussions will remain strictly between himself and management.

Assuming that offer was the Lightning’s opening bid, the club’s fans probably shouldn’t worry that GM Steve Yzerman is playing hardball. As with most negotiations, the Bolts make a low opening offer. The Stamkos camp likely counters with something much higher, perhaps comparable to the $10.5-million annual cap hits of Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. After that, the two sides negotiate toward a more mutually beneficial number.

Drouin, meanwhile, remains the subject of ongoing trade speculation. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch lists  the Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens among the potential suitors. Garrioch also claims Yzerman’s asking price for the 20-year-old left winger has changed from a roster player to a couple of top prospects.

Friedman’s colleague Damien Cox claims the Senators and Lightning had discussions about Drouin. The Sens, however, aren’t parting with defenseman Cody Ceci.

One blueliner the Senators could move is the disappointing Jared Cowen, but don’t expect Yzerman to give up a prized asset like Drouin for an expensive under-achieving blueliner. Garrioch believes the 25-year-old’s actual salary ($4.5 million next season) makes him difficult to move.

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin last week publicly stood by embattled coach Michel Therrien and his staff, shouldering the blame for the club’s free-fall in the standings. Bergevin also noted the difficulty in trying to acquire some scoring punch for his anemic offense.

That doesn’t mean Bergevin stopped trying. Garrioch believes the Habs GM wants to add some size to his forward lines. So far, however, the asking price is young assets.

Center Alex Galchenyuk is attracting interest. Friedman reports a couple of teams made inquiries about the 21-year-old, but were told he’s not on the trade block.

Given the Canadiens’ plight, Bergevin isn’t dealing from a position of strength. His rivals hope he’ll succumb to pressure and try to make a big season-saving deal. While Bergevin has a reputation for pulling off surprising moves, he’s unwilling to sacrifice his youngsters for a quick fix.

BLUE JACKETS NOT DONE DEALING

The Columbus Blue Jackets surprised the hockey world earlier this month by shipping center Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones. Ongoing media chatter suggests Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could make other moves before the trade deadline.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculates the Jackets’ roster restructuring will continue through the trade deadline and into the off-season. Garrioch claims Kekalainen is working the phones seeking a center to replace the departed Johansen.

Recent Jackets’ speculation suggests they could move out a couple of veterans with term remaining on their contracts. Left winger Scott Hartnell ($4.75-million annually through 2018-19) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin ($4.5 million through 2017-18) recently surfaced as possible trade candidates.

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.)

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Rumor Roundup: Leafs looking to shop pending free agents

Lyle Richardson
James Reimer. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL trade deadline a little over a month away, Toronto fans and pundits are speculating over which Maple Leafs could hit the trade block. Much of their focus is upon the Leafs’ pending unrestricted free agents.

The most notable include goaltender James Reimer, defenseman Roman Polak and forwards P-A Parenteau, Shawn Matthias, Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes. Anyone expecting a big return for those players, however, will be disappointed.

Sportsnet’s Jonathan Willis speculates each could fetch a draft pick, though he doesn’t anticipate any first-rounders coming to the Leafs. The Toronto Star’s Mark Zwolinski was a little more optimistic about Reimer’s value, believing a first- or second-rounder was possible.

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Rumor Roundup: Kessel, Eriksson potential deadline scoring options, Ducks still looking for help

Lyle Richardson
Loui Eriksson (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s suspension of unhappy left wing Jonathan Drouin has observers wondering about the effect this will have upon his trade value. Prior to suspending the 20-year-old over his refusal to play in the AHL until his trade request is honored, between 12 to 15 clubs reportedly had varying degrees of interest in the youngster.

Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh claims the Lightning informed them a trade was close to completion, prompting their request that he no longer participate in AHL games to avoid injury. According to The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson, that drew an icy denial from GM Steve Yzerman. “We never said that there was a pending deal or a deal close,” said Yzerman.

The Lightning GM still claims trading Drouin is a priority, but it doesn’t put additional pressure upon him to get a deal done. Yzerman didn’t rule out a reconciliation, but that appears remote right now.

Staging a holdout is the only card the Drouin camp has to play. He’s in the midst of an entry-level contract through 2016-17. However, his actions could hurt his trade value, raising questions about his character. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Struggling Predators looking for even more offensive help

Lyle Richardson
Ryan Johansen (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Over two weeks ago, the Nashville Predators surprised the hockey world by shipping promising young defenseman Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen. While the 23-year-old Johansen had seven points in his first six games with the Preds, they’re still struggling to win games.

Since acquiring Johansen, the Predators enter their Jan. 21 tilt against the Winnipeg Jets with only one win in their last six games. They also fell out of a playoff berth, as offensive depth remains an issue.

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Rumor Roundup: Byfuglien and Ladd draw trade interest as Jets struggle to gain ground in standings

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

As the Winnipeg Jets struggle to gain ground in the Western Conference standings, there’s growing interest in GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s contract talks with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and left wing Andrew Ladd. The duo are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, prompting questions over their future with the franchise.

Of the duo, the 30-year-old Byfuglien could attract the most interest. With his offensive skills and physical presence, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound blueliner could fetch a quality return if Cheveldayoff decides to trade him.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie claims Cheveldayoff’s fellow GMs anticipate Byfuglien could be available before the trade deadline. They doubt the Jets can afford to re-sign him and promising blueliner Jacob Trouba.

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Rumor Roundup: Blues seeking hockey trade for Shattenkirk

Lyle Richardson
Kevin Shattenkirk (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

For several weeks, the St. Louis Blues have regularly appeared in the trade rumor mill. There’s talk defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s UFA status in 2017 could force GM Doug Armstrong to move the skilled blueliner this season. Among the clubs believed pursuing Tampa Bay Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin, the Blues are said to be the front-runners.

Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Blues need an offensive jolt, as they’ve dropped to 21st in scoring. They also began this week with 167 man games lost to injury. However, Armstrong tells Rutherford he doesn’t expect any trade activity until after the upcoming NHL All-Star break, possibly not until closer to the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

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Rumor Roundup: Oilers still shopping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Lyle Richardson
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Since last fall, Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was suggested as possible trade bait to address their need for a skilled top-four defenseman. On Friday, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector cited multiple sources claiming the Oilers offered up the 22-year-old center to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones before he was eventually dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Leon Draisaitl has emerged as a first-line center for the Oilers while promising rookie Connor McDavid is set to return to action following the All-Star break. With that much depth down the middle, it’s not surprising Nugent-Hopkins could be available.

Having failed to land Jones, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will likely set his sites elsewhere. Nugent-Hopkins was recently linked to the Minnesota Wild, who are seeking a boost at forward and have plenty of depth on defense. There’s talk Jonas Brodin and his $4.16-million annual cap hit could be available.

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Rumor Roundup: Rangers want to ship out Yandle for forward

Lyle Richardson
Keith Yandle. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle remains a central figure in the trade rumor mill. There’s growing speculation the Blueshirts could shop the pending unrestricted free agent before the Feb. 29 trade deadline in hopes of landing a scoring forward.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes Yandle’s usage by Rangers coach Alain Vigneault suggests he doesn’t have a long-term future on Broadway. Despite the 29-year-old’s offensive skills, Brooks suggests he’s now being used more as a sixth defenseman.

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