Reaction to the Brandon Saad, trade, NHL denies Coyotes-to-Las Vegas rumor plus  updates on Mike Richards, Vladimir Tarasenko and more. 

Saad trade reaction.

Blackhawks fans aren't happy about the Brandon Saad trade.

Blackhawks fans aren’t happy about the Brandon Saad trade.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The combination of Chicago Blackhawks salary-cap constraints, Brandon Saad’s salary demands and the threat of an offer sheet resulted in Saad’s trade yesterday to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a multi-player deal.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: If Twitter is anything to go by, Blackhawks fans weren’t pleased with the news of the Saad trade.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The acquisition of Saad by the Blue Jackets not only gives them one of the NHL’s most promising forwards, but also relieves their glut of forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on that stunning trade here

Update on Mike Richards.

ESPN.COM: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in conjunction with Canadian Border Services, are investigating Mike Richards regarding a recent incident at the US-Canada border in Manitoba. No charges have been filed against Richards, whose contract with the Los Angeles Kings was terminated because of this incident.

NBC SPORTS: cited a report from TMZ claiming Richards was stopped on June 17th from crossing into Canada and questioned about oxycodone pills, a power prescription painkiller.

FORBES.COM: Sports legal analyst Eric Macramalla on the difficult task the Kings face upholding their termination of Richards’ contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, there is a quick rush to judgment by some fans regarding this incident. It’s important to remember that Richards has not been charged with any crime. The NHLPA is currently investigating the situation and could file a grievance against the Kings on Richards’ behalf. As Macramalla suggests, the Kings could face a tough battle fending off that challenge. If they lose, Richards’ $5.75 million annual cap hit will still count against their cap. If they’ve invested that money in other players, it will create a cap payroll nightmare for Kings management. 

Other notable NHL headlines. 

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: There will be considerable interest in Steven Stamkos’ contract talks with the Lightning. Stamkos is a year away from unrestricted free agency. As of today, the Lightning can negotiate a contract extension with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer Stamkos goes unsigned this summer, the more conjecture there will be over his future with the Lightning.

STLTODAY.COM: As free agency opens, the focus of Blues management is on re-signing restricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko, who could be targeted for an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone will successfully sign Tarasenko away from the Blues. Unlike the Boston Bruins with Dougie Hamilton and the Blackhawks with Brandon Saad, the Blues have sufficient cap space to match a significant offer. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators await a decision from unrestricted free agent Mike Ribeiro.

PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers decided not to buy out recently-acquired center Sam Gagner.

TSN: The NHL has issued a stern denial regarding a report in yesterday’s New York Post claiming the league was preparing to relocate the Arizona Coyotes to Las Vegas.

NBC SPORTS: A Seattle group is formally applying for an NHL expansion franchise.