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 A Canadiens fan married to a Leafs fan, Lyle's Saturday nights during hockey season can get quite entertaining at his home.

Rumor Roundup: Plekanec’s contract status stokes trade rumors

Lyle Richardson
Tomas Plekanec (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

After playing without a captain through 2014-15, Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently announced a new one will be selected before the start of the upcoming season. The candidates could come from among last season’s four alternates, which include center Tomas Plekanec.

The Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd made the case for Plekanec as Habs captain, who he considers “arguably the most under-rated player ever to wear the CH”. There’s certainly merit to Todd’s suggestion, as the 32-year-old pivot spent his entire NHL career with the Habs and is clearly their best two-way forward.

However, Todd notes there’s some talk in Montreal claiming Plekanec might be traded to make room for youngster Alex Galchenyuk, who will start the season at center. Galchenyuk, 21, spent most of young NHL career at left wing. Given his offensive skills (20 goals, 46 points in 80 games last season), he will be centering one of the top two lines.

Suggestions that Plekanec should be moved are likely tied to his contract status. He’s an unrestricted free agent next July and is completing a six-year, $30-million contract with an annual average salary of $5 million. His recent comments claiming his agent hasn’t been contacted by management about a contract extension likely stoked the trade rumors.

However, it’s doubtful the Canadiens will shop Plekanec now. As Todd observes, if Galchenyuk struggles at his new position, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s back on the wing by Halloween. That will snuff out suggestions about moving the veteran center.

Bergevin likely intends to evaluate Plekanec’s performance this season before opening contract negotiations. If he’s named Canadiens captain, it’ll be an obvious indication Bergevin intends to keep him around for a while.


Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney spent the summer courting free-agent defenseman like Cody Franson, Christian Ehrhoff and Marek Zidlicky. However, with training camp opening soon, Sweeney has opted not to add a veteran blueliner.’s Joe Haggerty reports Sweeney was tempted to pursue Franson as his asking price dropped over the summer, but decided to give young defensemen like Zach Trotman, Colin Miller and Joe Morrow an opportunity to earn a spot. It also means Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid will be given a look as top-four defensemen.

If those youngsters struggle in training camp or early in the season, Haggerty believes Sweeney won’t hesitate to pursue some big-name rearguards who could become available, like Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien or Chicago’s Brent Seabrook.

It’s possible blueliners of that caliber might become obtainable, but Sweeney could be waiting a while. Given the value of Byfuglien and Seabrook to their respective club, the earliest they could hit the trade block this season – if at all – is near the Feb. 29th trade deadline. Of course, that will depend upon whether those clubs are in playoff contention by then.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, 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: Stamkos, Kopitar deals could impact Tavares contract talks

Lyle Richardson
John Tavares (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the start of NHL training camps fast approaching, the contract statuses of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar continue to dominate headlines. Both are unrestricted free agents next summer, and it is expected they’ll receive lucrative long-term deals, either with their current clubs or via next summer’s UFA market.

Whatever Stamkos and Kopitar receive will also significantly impact the UFA value of other top first-line NHL centers in the coming years.’s Craig Custance believes New York Islanders captain John Tavares will be most affected by those new deals.

Tavares, 24, has three seasons left on his current deal until his eligibility for UFA status in 2018. His current annual salary cap hit is $5.5 million, though he’ll earn $6-million annually over the remaining term.

Like Stamkos and Kopitar, contract extension talks for Tavares can begin one year from his UFA eligibility. Islanders management will likely waste little time getting negotiations rolling when that date (July 1, 2017) arrives. It won’t surprise anyone if the Tavares camp cites Stamkos or Kopitar as comparables. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Will Yandle last the season on Broadway?

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

The New York Rangers enter training camp having retained center Derek Stepan. Doing so, however, came at the cost of shedding salary by trading winger Carl Hagelin to the Anaheim Ducks for an inexperienced, but also affordable, Emerson Etem.

While the Rangers’ Metropolitan Division rivals in Pittsburgh, Washington and Columbus improved their rosters during the off-season,’s Arthur Staple notes the Rangers salary-cap issues prevented them from doing the same The Blueshirts’ cap issues will continue for 2016-17, with over $54 million invested in just 12 players.

Staple suggests defenseman Keith Yandle could become a salary-cap casualty by the Feb. 29th trade deadline, as the Rangers can’t afford to re-sign him beyond this season. Yandle, 29, becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency next July. His current annual cap hit is $5.25 million split between the Rangers and his former club, the Arizona Coyotes and he’ll likely seek a substantial raise. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Buzz surrounding Stamkos as season approaches

Lyle Richardson
Steven Stamkos. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

With training camp fast approaching, the contract status of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is garnering more media attention. In June, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman claimed re-signing the 25-year-old center was a top priority. However, Yzerman recently told The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson he had nothing new to report about the situation.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it could cost the Lightning around $10.5-million annually to re-sign their captain. He notes Stamkos’ role could be an issue, as the Bolts could prefer shifting him from center to the wing. Another factor is several key players (Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov) must also be re-signed over the next couple of years.

Friedman also reports a rumor recently made the rounds claiming there were trade talks involving Stamkos before the 2015 NHL Draft, but they didn’t go far. He says some sources claim a few teams made inquiries, while others believe the Bolts were testing his market value. Some of Friedman’s sources feel the Buffalo Sabres were among the interested parties. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Flyers not looking for big off-season move

Lyle Richardson
Ron Hextall won a Cup with L.A., but will he succeed as Flyers GM with owner Ed Snider influencing him? (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

For the past several years, the Philadelphia Flyers could be counted on to swing a major off-season trade. Since 2007, they’ve acquired such notables as Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Joffrey Lupul, Chris Pronger, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn and Mark Streit via summer deals.

It’s only natural to assume second-year GM Ron Hextall would continue the trend, especially since he swapped Hartnell for R.J. Umberger in one of last summer’s more puzzling moves. In June, Hextall made a salary-dumping deal, shipping blueliner Nicklas Grossman and the rights to the all-but-retired Pronger’s to Arizona for center Sam Gagner.

Since that move, however, things have been quiet on the Flyers’ trade front. That prompted some internet rumormongers to dream up trade scenarios for Hextall. The most recent claimed he was interested in St. Louis Blues captain David Backes, with the Blues seeking Brayden Schenn in return. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Are Bishop’s days numbered in Tampa Bay crease?

Lyle Richardson
Brian Bishop (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

While there’s considerable attention on the contract status of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, the Lightning’s goaltending could also be worth watching during the upcoming season.’s Corey Long wonders how long Ben Bishop will remain the Lightning’s starting goalie. While the 28-year-old enters this season as the top dog between the Tampa Bay pipes, Long suggests Bishop is among their most valuable trade assets.

Bishop’s stock certainly rose after backstopping the Lighting to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He’s currently entering the first season of a two-year contract worth $5.95-million annually. The deal also comes with a full no-movement clause.

Long, however, believes a new contract for Stamkos could force Lightning management to shed salary to ensure sufficient room to re-sign other notables in the near future. Those include defenseman Victor Hedman and forwards Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn. He believes Bishop could become expendable if backup Andrei Vasilevskiy shows sufficient potential in 2015-16.

Should Vasilevskiy blossom into a starter this season once he returns from a blood clot that will sideline him for 2-3 months, the Bolts will likely keep their goaltending tandem intact for the playoffs. Under that scenario, the earliest Bishop could be shopped is at the 2016 NHL Draft next June. Even then, it’ll depend up whether Stamkos is under contract by that point.


Recent rumors claiming at least five NHL teams are interested in Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane provided an early-September jolt to an otherwise slow NHL rumor mill. Kane, 26, is currently under investigation by Hamburg, N.Y., police for sexual assault, though no charges have been filed.

The uncertainty over this situation’s outcome leaves Kane’s immediate future with the Blackhawks murky at best. It’s unknown if Kane will attend training camp while the investigation is ongoing, let alone if he’ll be in the lineup when the season opens next month.

If the Blackhawks brass is thinking about trading Kane, they haven’t taken it up with him yet. He’s entering the first season of his eight-year, $84 million contract, which also contains a full no-movement clause.’s Scott Power reports a source close to Kane claims he hasn’t been approached about waiving that clause.

For now, it appears the Blackhawks are awaiting the outcome of the investigation before deciding on a course of action. Until then, don’t expect Kane to hit the trade block anytime soon.


During the summer of 2014, a feud between San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson and center Joe Thornton spilled out into the media. The spat reached its height when the Sharks announced Thornton was being stripped of the captaincy, fuelling considerable speculation over the big center’s future in San Jose.

Armed with a full no-movement clause, Thornton repeatedly stated he had no intention of requesting a trade. As last season began, the war of words between the two eventually died down.

CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz briefly revisited that squabble during a season-preview profile of the former Sharks captain. He points out the 36-year-old Thornton’s chance for winning a Stanley Cup are fading. With the Sharks missing the playoffs last season, Kurz wonders if the aging center might reconsider waiving that clause if the club falls out of postseason contention in 2015-16.

Thornton and his family have set down roots in San Jose. Earlier this year, he stated his wish to retire a Shark. If he still feels that way over the course of this season, he probably won’t accept a trade to a Cup contender by the trade deadline.


One of the most popular dates on the NHL calendar was revealed this week for the upcoming season. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reports the trade deadline for the upcoming season is Monday, February 29, 2016 at 3 pm ET.

Mark your calendars now and start planning your excuses for skipping work or school on that date, hockey fans. And don’t forget to follow for the latest rumors and trade news leading up to the big day.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, 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: Kane’s future with Blackhawks in question

Lyle Richardson
Patrick Kane (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The ongoing sexual assault investigation by Hamburg, N.Y., police involving Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane is raising questions in the Chicago media about his future with the team. Kane has yet to be charged, but uncertainty over his status has some pundits suggesting the Blackhawks might part ways with the troubled 26-year-old star.

If the investigation is still ongoing when the season opens in October, Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily-Herald reports it casts uncertainty over his availability for the upcoming season. It will definitely be an unwelcome distraction for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Rozner also wonders if the Blackhawks brass wants Kane back, pointing out they issued the winger a strict warning in 2012 regarding several alcohol-related off-ice incidents. He suggests trading Kane could be among their options, speculating they probably already received inquiries from some rival clubs about his trade status. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Lucic’s time with Kings could be short as Kopitar deal looms

Lyle Richardson
Milan Lucic (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings will have to pay big bucks to keep first-line centerman Anze Kopitar out of next summer’s unrestricted free agent market. However, he’s not the King who will prove costly to retain.

Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe speculates left winger Milan Lucic could have a short tenure in Los Angeles. Lucic, 27, was dealt to the Kings in June by the Boston Bruins. Like Kopitar, he’s slated to become a UFA next July. He’s completing a three-year, $18 million contract and it’s expected he’ll seek a significant raise.

The Kings currently have over $49 million invested in 15 players for 2016-17. That’s not including the potential salary-cap recapture penalty for center Mike Richards, whose contract termination is being contested by the NHLPA, or the $4.167-million salary-cap hit of currently-suspended defenseman Slava Voynov. Read more