The summer of 2014 is months away, but that’s not preventing speculation over Brad Richards’ future with the New York Rangers.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun and Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal recently suggested Richards could receive a compliance buyout in June, freeing up cap space for the Rangers to re-sign free agents like Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.
Richards – the Rangers’ leading scorer with 23 points in 31 games – is in the third year of his nine-year, $60-million contract, so his $6.7-million annual cap hit takes a huge chunk out of the Blueshirts’ payroll.
The Rangers have more than $39 million invested in just nine players next season. Even with the salary cap projected to be above $70 million, they will be pressed for space to re-sign key players and still have enough to pursue top free agent talent in July.
Goaltender Ryan Miller’s future with the Buffalo Sabres remains a hot topic in the NHL rumor mill.
Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News reported Miller’s performance has made him an asset for the Sabres, as well as a valuable trade chip. Interim coach Ted Nolan called the 33-year-old netminder the type of player around which to rebuild.
Late last week Miller had a brief “exploratory” meeting with Pat LaFontaine, the Sabres new president of hockey operations. Though Miller’s heard the Sabres could accelerate their rebuild, he said he won’t be swayed by talk, preferring to see actual results.
Re-signing Miller would be costly for the Sabres. He believes the new seven-year, $59.5-million contract Henrik Lundqvist recently signed with the New York Rangers “sets the standard” for NHL goaltenders. Given Miller’s age, the Sabres could balk if he seeks a comparable deal.
If the Sabres trade Miller, the move could happen close to the March 5 trade deadline. Thanks to the high number of teams (23) with limited cap space, there’s not much of a market right now. Read more
Sometimes men have a little trouble remembering things. Anniversaries and birthdays, for example, have a history of being bumped in the male brain for things such as which weekend the Super Bowl is being played on and how many paychecks have to be sacrificed in order to obtain that new set of golf clubs.
Mike Sillinger, who suited up for an NHL-record 12 teams, could be forgiven if some of the finer details of his family life have been lost in a haze of boxes and moving vans. But if Sillinger ever is asked to recall where each of his three sons was born, he’s got a visual reminder to rely on: the NHL jersey he was wearing at the time.
“One was born in Vancouver, so we have the Vancouver jersey in his room,” Sillinger said. “My other boy was born in Regina, but I played in Florida at the time, so he picked the Panthers along with my Team Canada (1991 world junior) jersey because he wears 16 (one of his dad’s old numbers) when he plays.
“And my other boy was born in Columbus, so he’s got the Columbus one in his room.”
With Kevin Kennedy
I grew up in Welland, Ontario and played my first game in the local youth hockey arena. I played there all the way up until I got drafted to the OHL and had to move to Toronto. Growing up, it wasn’t just about hockey; I was also in to baseball, golf and volleyball, but after around 16 when I got drafted, it was all hockey. I’d say that both my parents are responsible for getting me into hockey since my dad was always with me at the rink and because my mom took me out skating a lot when I was really young.
As a teenager, I worked at Sport Chek part-time for a bit in Niagara Falls and I also worked as a call center operator for MasterCard when I was around 17 or 18 years old. Read more
Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is the hot topic in the NHL rumor mill. The news he was a healthy scratch from Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators prompted speculation a trade was close, though the Panthers claimed it was a product of recent poor play.
Despite a recent report from the sun-sentinel.com denying the Panthers were trying to move Kulikov, TSN’s Bob McKenzie and the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported the 23-year-old is being aggressively shopped.
McKenzie claimed GM Dale Tallon hopes to stoke a bidding war for Kulikov, though the blueliner’s slow development and the possibility of him heading to the Kontinental League as a restricted free agent could hurt his trade value.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported the Toronto Maple Leafs could reignite trade talks with the Panthers about Kulikov. Friedman claimed the two clubs came close to a deal last season, but one of them backed out. The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox claimed the Leafs have had interest in Kulikov for some time, but are wary of his RFA status and the threat of the KHL.
It’s tough to believe Sidney Crosby has as many detractors as he does. His mannerisms may not be your cup of tea, but when Crosby makes incredible plays look routine – as he did in scoring the overtime goal in a 3-2 Pens win over the Isles – year after year, if you don’t give him his due, you’re a due-hoarder and I’m here to tell you it’s unhealthy.
But here’s what makes Crosby’s game-winner so beautiful to hockey people at the NHL level: the hardworking start of the play, not the spectacular end to it.
Many, if not most people will focus on the Pittsburgh superstar splitting through two Islanders and batting around a bouncing puck through goalie Anders Nilsson to end a game the Isles had led 2-0 for nearly 40 minutes. However, look closely at the beginning of the play:
The NHL’s Christmas trade freeze period (Dec. 19 to 27) is fast approaching and the GMs of several struggling clubs hope the trade market improves before then. With 22 clubs possessing less than $5 million in cap space, it’s difficult to find willing trade partners.
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is among those trying to find help for his floundering team. Entering this week, the Isles are 11 points out of a post-season berth, winning only two of their past 10 games. Snow must address their dire need of an experienced starting goalie and blueline depth soon to prevent his club sliding further out of playoff contention.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported two league sources claim Snow was shopping for a goalie. Garrioch suggested Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller as the best target, though he admitted convincing Miller to waive his no-trade clause to join the Isles was a long shot. Garrrioch also considers the Islanders a potential trade destination for Washington Capitals right winger Martin Erat and his $4.5 million annual cap hit.
Snow has the cap space ($16.6 million) to take on a big salary. Having already acquired Thomas Vanek, Snow’s probably not keen to pursue Miller, especially as the Sabres will squeeze him for young assets. As for Erat, he won’t resolve the Isles’ defensive problems. Read more
On December 4, 2009, the Philadelphia Flyers were in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, struggling to win games, and looking lost. GM Paul Holmgren, without warning, gives the boot to coach John Stevens, and immediately hires Peter Laviolette. The Philadelphia media howls, the fans protest, and the players seem confused to be losing a leader that they loved and respected. After the first few games under the new coach, the results are the same, and Philadelphia begins to lose patience with their team’s management. Fast forward five months, and captain Mike Richards is lifting the Prince of Wales Trophy as the Eastern Conference champions, and bringing his Orange and Black to within an overtime goal of Game 7 of a Stanley Cup championship. Read more