Latest on Brad Richards, Mike Richards. Ryan Kesler, Keith Yandle, Ales Hemsky, Anton Stralman and more.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports the Kings aren’t buying out or trading Mike Richards but they aren’t happy with his performance. They’ve also offered Marian Gaborik a three-year, $15 million contract. Retaining both could mean parting with Willie Mitchell or Matt Greene…Simmons expects someone will pay Anton Stralman a lot of money via free agency and will be disappointed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several observers, notably The Score’s Justin Bourne, recently wondered about the decline this season in Richards’ performance. The center has acknowledged he must change his off-season training. For his sake and the Kings, hopefully that improves his play. Stralman might indeed be overpaid this summer, but as analytics blogger Tyler Dellow notes, they might not be as disappointed as Simmons suggests.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the savings the NY Rangers received from their compliance buyout of Brad Richards will go toward re-signing their key players, rather than adding new ones. He claims the Rangers have allotted $4 million to re-signing Anton Stralman, likely on a three- or f0ur-year term. They’re expected to let Justin Falk depart.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes Ales Hemsky could cash in big via free agency…He also speculates new Penguins GM Jim Rutherford could sign pending UFA center Manny Malholtra.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtles lists this summer’s top free agent goaltenders. It’s a short list, led by Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, Martin Brodeur and Tim Thomas.
CSNCHICAGO.COM: Tracey Myers notes the Blackhawks are among Ryan Kesler’s preferred trade destinations, but cites his salary ($5 million per), injury history, asking price and the ‘Hawks intention to re-sign Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as reasons why he won’t land in Chicago.
SPECTORS NOTE: The ‘Hawks would have to shed at least $4 million to make this work, and even then it wouldn’t leave them much available space to work with heading into next season.
NBC SPORTS: Brad Richards’ agent isn’t ruling out his client returning to the Tampa Bay Lightning as a UFA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning are deep at center with Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula and Calder nominee Tyler Johnson. Richards isn’t a fit there.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James believes the Red Wings would have to pay a hefty price to land Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes need scorers, so they’ll want at least one of the Red Wings promising young forwards as part of the return.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports NY Islanders GM Garth Snow is willing to trade his first-round pick (fifth overall) for an NHL-ready player who can help the club now.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater speculates over which pending UFAs the Colorado Avalanche could pursue this summer. The focus will likely be on defense. Targets could include Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Dan Boyle, Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan reports the soon-to-be Arizona Coyotes will have a higher budget to work with for next season. They could have about $4.6 million to address their offense.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis doesn’t anticipate making any sweeping changes to his roster this summer. It’s possible they could look at trading goalie Cam Ward.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports Blues management had hoped to re-sign pending UFA Steve Ott but that’s not a guarantee. The club doesn’t intend to spend to the cap ceiling, and finding a No. 2 center via trade or free agency won’t be easy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blues acquire either Jason Spezza or Ryan Kesler they’ll have to free up about $5 million in cap space if they intend to remain a non-cap ceiling club.