Should the Leafs pursue Brad Richards? What’s the latest on Jaromir Jagr? Are the Blues planning off-season moves? What does the future hold for Steve Bernier?

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox recently reported Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke would like to get into the bidding for Dallas Stars center Brad Richards if he becomes available as a UFA, and Burke might be willing to offer up a seven-eight year deal. It’s expected Richards “will go north of $7 million, and possibly $8 million, on his new deal”. Cox however suggested Richards might not get as far as July 1st, as the Stars could try to re-sign him if new ownership is in place by late-June. It’s also possible the Stars could trade his right before July 1st.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke would also need permission to speak to Richards’ agent to determine if his client would be willing to play for Toronto, otherwise it would be a waste of assets to acquire his rights if he has no intention of playing there.

NBCSPORTS.COM: James O’Brien recently reported Jaromir Jagr’s agent claims his client isn’t entertaining offers from NHL teams at the present time. It’s believed Jagr would prefer to remain in the KHL, as he’d make more money there and wouldn’t face as much physical play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. Jagr isn’t coming back to the NHL. He’s rumored close to signing with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Jeremy Rutherford reports Russian prospect forward Vladimir Tarasenko has decided to play one more season in the KHL, while David Perron’s recovery from an early-season concussions remains slow, leaving Blues management potentially thin at forward. They have five forwards – TJ Oshie, Patrik Berglund, BJ Crombeen, Vladimir Sobotka and Matt D’Agostini – who are restricted free agents. Blues GM Doug Armstrong has hinted he could package one or more of his three second-round picks in this year’s draft for an established forward. He could also perhaps pursue one via free agency, though with the club currently up for sale it remains to be seen how active they’ll be via trade or free agency this summer. The Blues currently have just over $32 million invested in next season’s payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong will re-sign all his key free agents, and with the cap rising to potentially over $62 million, if he needs to remain near the cap floor, he’ll have just over $14 million to work with, but obviously he’d prefer to have new ownership in place and more budget flexibility. Regardless, I don’t expect Armstrong to just stand pat, and believe he’ll make a trade plus a free agent signing, though he’ll try to keep it affordable.

SUNSENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reported Florida Panthers forward Steve Bernier is hoping for a bounce-back performance next season but it remains to be seen if he’ll get an NHL contract, as he’s bounced between four teams (Panthers, Canucks, Sabres and Canucks) over the past three seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bernier has good size (6-2, 216) but has never played up to expectations as a power forward. He might get another NHL contract but it could be for the league minimum, possibly a two-way deal.

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15 Responses to NHL Rumors – May 25, 2011.

  1. DurtMCHurt says:

    If Brad Richards wants a 7 year deal I would be wary of paying him more then 7 mill per. The contract would take him till he’s 37, and would be on the tail end of his respectable (not overly fantastic) career. Even though he is hands down the best fa in this years crop, he’s had his ups and downs. Injuries have resulted in a few 70 point seasons. I think if healthy he can be a force, but the only way I would give him 8 mil is if it where a 2 year deal, or a front loaded contract that would bring his overall cap hit closer to 6.5-7.
    8-8-8-7.5-7.5-6-6-5 seems fair, maybe a ntc clause for the first few years followed by a limited one in his last 3 years.
    If that’s his price I would love the Leafs to make a run at him, anything more would make me nervous.

  2. northby9 says:

    Sounds like a reasonable contract to me, Durt. Mind you, I never count on these players signing reasonable contracts. I feel like it might be 7 yrs, 7.5M cap hit and a full NTC – but I think he should get a contract like the one you suggest for those reasons (injuries, some sub-par years). Nobody wants a Gomez/Lecavalier contract that they can never get out of, if things turn sour.

    And I can see the Habs signing Bernier in the role Pouliot couldn’t fill. If he can be a big body that scores 15 goals and can play decently defensively, he’d be a good addition to a team with overly small forwards. Two-way deal would be perfect.

  3. Sandy says:

    Teams can pursue Brad Richards all they want but HE decides where he wants to go. There will be a bidding war, no doubt.
    This could be his last contract — so he will go where he feels is best suited to him and where he can be happy. He will want to win a Cup again as well, (what player doesn’t) BUT you are never guaranteed that any team will win the Cup in any given year. It took Hossa 3 teams before he got it right.

  4. DurtMCHurt says:

    RE: “Teams can pursue Brad Richards all they want but HE decides where he wants to go.”
    Thank you captain odvious. Lol!

  5. Cowtown75 says:

    I wonder if Calgary could swing a deal with St.Louis. Maybe Stajan for one of those second round picks would be nice and would help St.Louis get closer to the cap floor and would help Calgary shed some money.

  6. Wingman says:

    Sounds like a good trade, if St. Louis’ general manager is a complete moron I could see that happening.

  7. Cowtown75 says:

    lol- I am hoping he is….

  8. Wingman says:

    Hahaha, yeah one can hope, I don’t see anyone taking that contract from Calgary but stranger things have happened

  9. Cowtown75 says:

    Yeah well, if Burkie could pull it off when we all knew he was an under-achiever back then, then anything can happen- but it was easier I suppose cause he didn’t have that retarded contract back then- thanks Darryl…..

  10. Bern16 says:

    I have a good buddy on the panthers, and when i’m down there hanging ot with the boys, one thing is for sure, Bernier is a good guy, but he is DEFINITELY NOT 6’2 216 lbs.lol more like 6′ 190 soaking wet and because i’m a leaf fan, I sure hope mtl takes him as their PFwrd.

  11. Aj says:

    @Cowtown75
    Calgary would be better off getting a time machine and going back to 2000 where they could block giving St. Louis up for nothing. Personally I think Tampa will be holding onto him unless they get some blowout deal (Iginla for St. Louis for example) which is not going to happen. If you want to move Stajan, your best bet is to roll the dice on someone like Perron with St. Louis who is out with a concussion still. He has potential, decently priced, high risk of concussion but someone St. Louis might look to move for less.

  12. MC says:

    @AJ – Pretty sure he meant deal Stajan to the Blues, not to Tampa for Martin St. Louis.

  13. DurtMCHurt says:

    Aj, did u just suggest a stajan for perron trade? Lmfao!

  14. [...] analysis is beginning for those hockey clubs no longer in the NHL playoffs. Scott Cullen of TSN and Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey made mention of the Blues this [...]

  15. [...] analysis is beginning for those hockey clubs no longer in the NHL playoffs. Scott Cullen of TSN and Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey made mention of the Blues this [...]

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