Updates on Mike Richards, Dougie Hamilton and Phil Kessel, plus the latest on the Stars’ goaltending.
Updates on Richards and Hamilton.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings have talked to several teams about trade involving center Mike Richards, but so far nothing is imminent. The Kings would love to move Richards’ contract, which still have several seasons remaining at an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. To do so, however, LeBrun believes they need to add another asset like a draft pick of value, a player or a prospect. LeBrun also speculates the Kings could try to ship Richards to a club with sufficient cap space to buy him out.
LeBrun also reports it’s believed Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is tossing around internally the notion of pitching an offer sheet to Boston Bruins RFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Kings toss in one helluva sweetener in the deal, I have my doubt they can find a suitor for Richards. I don’t believe Richards can “regain his form” with another club and I don’t buy the argument that coach Darryl Sutter isn’t employing him properly. Put simply, I think Richards’ aggressive two-way style has physically taken its toll upon him. The fact nobody had any interest in him when he hit the waiver wire earlier this season speaks volumes about his declining value.
It certainly will be intriguing if Chiarelli pitches a significant offer sheet to Hamilton, but we have to remember that the young blueliner must be willing to field such offers from rival clubs. If his desire is to remain a Bruin, he can instruct his agent to tell those teams not to bother sending him an offer sheet. We’ll find out soon enough if the Oilers, or any other club, can sign him.
Kessel to the Capitals?
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley notes that if the Capitals “hope to trade for a top-line right wing before or during the NHL draft later this month – and the key word is hope –there’s a guy named Phil Kessel being dangled just north of the border.” While noting the Toronto Maple Leafs winger has scored 30 goals five times and reached 80 points twice, Gormley points out he’s got seven years left on a contract paying him $8 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect to see Kessel suiting up with the Capitals next season. For one thing, the Caps already have considerable payroll invested in Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom (over $16 million combined) and they’re going to re-sign goalie Braden Holtby to a considerable deal (Think at least $6 million per season, perhaps more). They can’t afford to add Kessel’s salary. For another, it could cost them defenseman Karl Alzner or John Carlson, promising center Evgeni Kuznetsov and either a top prospect or first-round pick to pry Kessel away from Toronto, and I don’t believe the Capitals make that deal.
Latest on the Stars goaltending.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports Stars GM Jim Nill said he is not shopping goalie Kari Lehtonen around the league, but admitted he and his staff are intensely studying their goaltending situation. “Reports came out Tuesday that AHL goalie Jussi Rynnas is considering a move to the KHL and that Nill was shopping Lehtonen around the NHL to see if there was interest in a possible trade. Nill said Rynnas is considering a move and that any decision to try to move Lehtonen would be a complicated one.” If Rynnas leaves and Jhonas Enroth test the UFA market, the Stars will have to find replacements. Heika also looked at potential goalies options via free agency , listing Enroth, San Jose’s Antti Niemi, Calgary’s Karri Ramo, Philadelphia’s Ray Emery and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk among those who could help the Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heika admits Dubnyk is a long shot as he’s likely to re-sign with the Wild, but if he becomes a UFA on July 1 the Stars could be among the suitors. Otherwise, Niemi is the best option if they’re seeking a starter. Ramo has yet to establish himself as a starter while Emery is merely a backup at this point in his career. As for trading Lehtonen, there won’t be many teams keen to pick up an inconsistent starter with an injury history who has three years at $5.9 million annually left on his contract.