Rumor Roundup: How will the Blackhawks, Flyers and Capitals deal with their cap crunch?

Mike Green (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks addressed their need for an affordable second-line center by signing Brad Richards to a one-year, $2-million contract. The signing, however, means they’ll have to shed salary before the season opens in October.

CSNChicago’s Tracey Myers reports the Richards signing (as well as Peter Regin’s one-year, $650,000 contract) pushes the Blackhawks above the $69-million cap by more than $2 million. Under CBA rules a team can spend up to 10 percent over the cap ceiling during the off-season but must become cap compliant when the season opens.

GM Stan Bowman told Myers they had some ideas how to address the issue, believing it will “play itself out over the summer as we prepare for training camp.” Read more

Ottawa Sun source says Claude Giroux allegedly arrested for grabbing a male officer’s butt

Rory Boylen
Giroux

While Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik were signing big-money deals and Dave Bolland was planning a move down to Florida, Claude Giroux was enjoying his Canada Day in Ottawa. Funny, it seems NHLers are trying to get out of there these days.

Also funny is why Giroux was allegedly arrested outside The Great Canadian Cabin, a bar in the city. The Ottawa Sun reported a source said Giroux was arrested for “repeatedly grabbing the buttocks of a male police officer.” Tee hee, buttocks. Tee hee, repeatedly. Read more

Rumor Roundup: UFA interviews begin…who’ll stay and who’ll go?

Stastny (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The window for NHL clubs to interview free agents on rival teams opened on Wednesday. Though actual contract negotiations are prohibited, the interview period is a great opportunity for teams to woo prospective free agents before the unrestricted free agent market opens on July 1.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector observes the Calgary Flames hope to re-sign left winger Michael Cammalleri while the Boston Bruins want to retain Jarome Iginla. However, this interview period provides players an opportunity to gauge interest from other clubs.

That’s why Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny is going to test the market, even though his agent claims he’s had good contract conversations with Avalanche management. The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater notes the Stastny camp intends to circle back to the Avalanche to give them an opportunity to retain him. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Where will Ryan Kesler be traded?

Ryan-Kesler-VAN

With the Vancouver Canucks having hired a new GM (Jim Benning) and coach (Willie Desjardins), the focus returns to center Ryan Kesler, who remains the target of recent trade speculation.

Earlier this month it was reported Kesler informed Benning he still prefers a trade. There’s been some recent confusion, however, over where the 29-year-old prefers to be dealt. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are Kesler’s only preferences, prompting The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek to note the difficulty that would create for the Canucks to move him.

The Blackhawks have limited cap space ($4.6 million) for 2014-15 and restricted free agents (Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Antti Raanta) to re-sign. They’ll have to either do a dollar-for-dollar swap with the Canucks or convince them to pick up part of Kesler’s salary to squeeze him under their cap. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but Sharp has a modified no-trade clause, meaning he’ll have to agree to the deal. Read more

Behind the scenes: How the Philadelphia Flyers landed the 2014 NHL draft

Alan Bass
Wells Fargo Center (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Since the 1970s, Philadelphia has been a hotbed for NHL hockey. Arguably the most successful of the six expansion teams from 1967, founder Ed Snider and the current ownership group, Comcast-Spectacor, are always looking for new ways to hop into the spotlight.

Having hosted such national hockey events as the Stanley Cup final (2010), the Winter Classic (2012) and the NCAA’s Frozen Four (2014), the organization felt it was a natural move to make a bid to host the NHL draft.

The process started just before the 2012 Winter Classic. Senior director of marketing Joe Heller and his team began an open dialogue with the NHL’s front office and expressed an interest in hosting both the All-Star Game and the draft in upcoming years. Almost immediately, they began bidding against multiple other NHL cities. Read more

Would a more open Hockey Hall of Fame include Eric Lindros?

Ken Campbell
Eric Lindros

I must admit that after the smoke rose from the chimney of the Hockey Hall of Fame where the conclave gathered Monday to choose the 2014 inductees, I was surprised at the amount of love that was being shown to Eric Lindros for not being among them.

This column will not debate the merits of Lindros as a Hall of Famer. I see him as a borderline candidate and would not have strong feelings one way or the other if/when he finds his way in. But far more fascinating were the machinations that revolved around the Lindros debate.

And almost none of them have anything to do with his performance on the ice. There are those who truly believe Lindros is being punished for his off-ice comportment over the course of his career – spurning the Soo Greyhounds in junior hockey and the Quebec Nordiques in 1991 and engineering a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers, having a mother and father (who later became his agent) having an enormous amount of influence during his career and generally being a player who didn’t sit down, shut up and play by the rules. Read more

Flyers trade Scott Hartnell to Columbus for R.J. Umberger, reinforce their status as NHL’s Game of Thrones franchise

Adam Proteau
Scott Hartnell R.J. Umberger (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are a few things you can count on in every NHL off-season: GMs and team officials will step to the entry draft podium and thank the host city (as well as their fan base watching the proceedings back at Jimmy Bob Jesse Joe’s Alabama Steakhouse and Cheesecakery Grill); players will be overpaid in free agency; and the Philadelphia Flyers will conduct major surgery on their roster.

The first two of those summertime staples will take place in the next week or so, but the Flyers got a jump-start on their end Monday afternoon by trading heart-and-soul left winger Scott Hartnell to Columbus for left winger R.J. Umberger and a fourth round draft pick. And once again, Philly’s ever-spinning personnel carousel unsettles a roster that probably just needed to be left alone.

Both Hartnell and Umberger are 32 years old and both make close to the same money – Hartnell has a $4.75-million cap hit, while Umberger has a $4.6-million hit – and while the Flyers save on contract term length in the transaction (Umberger has three years left on his deal and Hartnell has five), there’s little doubt the Blue Jackets are getting the better player. Read more

Detroit has the easiest schedule, Columbus and Toronto the hardest

Kronwall-Johansen

The NHL schedule has been released and the number-crunchers have already put in some great work in breaking it down. As always, there are fun match-ups to kick off the season, such as Los Angeles hosting San Jose and Montreal visiting Toronto. But which teams will really be grinding through 82 games and which ones get more of a cozier ride?

Read more