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Tag:2011 NHL Free Agency
Posted on: June 23, 2011 6:22 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Brad Richards not being traded, will become UFA

Brad Richards will become an unrestricted free agent after all.

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made it no secret that he was looking to trade Richards' rights to somebody hoping to sign the top free-agent center after it was clear Richards wouldn't be returning to Dallas. But on Thursday he told Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News that Richards won't waive his no-trade clause and thus will hit the open market on July 1.

"It's disappointing, but you move forward and work on the next issue," Nieuwendyk told Heika.

It was announced a few weeks back that Richards' time in Dallas was done as the uncertain ownership situation was unsettling to him. Considering he had a no-trade clause, it's not surprising that Richards elected to go the route of full-on free agent and take the right to pick his destination of choice. It's just that the Stars were hoping to get something in return for Richards.

So get ready for the Richards sweepstakes, because they figure to be the busiest of the offseason. Fans of the Rangers have been salivating at the opportunity to put Richards in blue, but his former team in Tampa Bay as well as Toronto figure to be in the thick of things, too. Up until today, the Kings were also believed to be coveting Richards, but they landed another center named Richards, Mike from Philadelphia, and that need was taken care of.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL


Posted on: June 23, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:42 pm
 

Busy Flyers ship Carter, Richards; add Bryzgalov


The Philadelphia Flyers afternoon of blockbuster moves has concluded. Maybe.

The Flyers made three massive moves in as many hours on Thursday, signing Ilya Bryzgalov for nine years, $51 million after trading captain Mike Richards to the L.A. Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets.

Before it could sign goaltender Bryzgalov to a new contract, the Flyers had to release some salary. Just nobody expected them to release THIS much salary.

The moves started when Philly sent Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jake Voracek, the No. 8 pick in Friday's draft and a third-round selection as well.

The Carter deal itself wasn't surprising. A few weeks ago we noted a report that the Flyers had been discussing trading Carter with the Blue Jackets, but the biggest obstacle was Carter's massive contract, both in length (through 2020-21) and in dollar figures ($5.272 million per season). But if they were to sign Bryzgalov, who's rights they obtained from Phoenix earlier this month, they would have to clear space to get under the salary cap.

The Blue Jackets are clearly pleased with landing a scorer like Carter. “The Columbus Blue Jackets are very pleased and excited to acquire Jeff Carter,” GM Scott Howson said. “Jeff is a proven number one center in the National Hockey League and we look forward to him having many productive seasons as a Blue Jacket.”

Rick Nash in Columbus is the biggest beneficiary, and is understandably excited, telling Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch "We needed a guy like this. [Opponents] can't just key on one guy. The best teams have two guys. This is a huge help, not just for me but for the whole team." That is a line now that could realistically provide 75-85 goals next season for the Jackets.

It was the second move that came as a surprise and left people wondering what was GM Paul Holmgren's plan. Richards isn't known for being the most captain-like guy in the NHL and has another hefty contract ($5.75 million until 2019-20), but it seemed like the Flyers could sign Bryzgalov in clearing just one player, specifically Carter.

But this was a team that seemed like it was just a goaltender away, so getting rid of two offensive standouts begs the question if they aren't swinging too far in the other direction. Only time will tell, but it sure is hard for me to see the Flyers improved today. They are certainly still a favorite to make it into the playoffs, but did they chances at winning the Stanley Cup go up? I'm not sold the answer is yes.

"I just got home and I was surprised. You wouldn't think that those two guys would be leaving any time soon," Flyers forward Claude Giroux told Frank Saravali of the Philadelphia Daily News. "But I guess it's just part of the business. It's going to be a fresh start for both of those guys. For the rest of us, it's going to be a challenge. We still have a lot of veterans but different young guys are going to need to step up now."

The Kings, however, just got a lot tougher in the already competitive Pacific Division.

“We felt at this stage of the franchise it was time to make a significant move for an impact player," Kings GM Dean Lombardi said. Mike Richards is not only one of the top players in the league, he’s also universally recognized as one of the finer leaders in the game and one of its elite competitors. Additionally, given that he’s only 26-years-old and he’s on a long-term contract, he fits our plan now and for the long-term future.”

Bryzgalov will make an average of $5.67 million per season (the presumably front-loaded salary will pay as much as a reported $10 million) over the length of the contract, but at this point it's unsure how much room the Flyers will have under the cap to find some help to fill the offensive void left by Carter and Richards.

Betwen Carter and Richards, the Flyers are losing a combined 59 goals (36 for Carter last season, 23 for Richards) and 73 assists (30, 43 respectively). However, in return they get Voracek (14 goals, 32 assists) from Columbus and then Schenn (young center with just nine career games) and Simmonds (14/16 for the Kings last season).

-- Brian Stubits (A.J. Perez contributed to this report)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: June 3, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Stars won't re-sign Richards, look to deal rights

Brad Richards, perhaps the best available player on what is a down unrestricted free-agent market, will not return to Dallas next season. That much we know at this point.

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said Thursday that the team is interested in trading the negotiating rights of Richards before the open season on free agents begins on July 1. Dallas is currently in the process of changing ownership groups, and Richards -- who went through the same thing in Tampa Bay -- isn't interested in sticking it out to wait for the new owners.

"We have had talks with Brad throughout the year, and he's not going to sign with us unless we have the ownership situation resolved, and it doesn’t look like that's going to happen by the start of free agency," Nieuwendyk said. "So while we could have discussions, it just doesn't make much sense right now. So we would like to see if we could get something for his rights and allow another team to have a chance to sign him, but a lot of that is up to Brad and his agent."

What's up to the agent is a full no-trade clause that Richards possesses. Naturally the Stars would like to get something in return for some team getting the exclusive rights for a few weeks. Courtesy of the Dallas Morning News:

"Accepting a move to another team creates an obligation, and you have to be pretty sure about that obligation. I think Brad has to do what's best for himself and keep his options open," Richards' agent Pat Morris said.

There were plenty of rumors around the trade deadline surrounding Richards, but obviously the Stars didn't find any to their liking. They also tried to give the centerman an extension a few months ago.

"We felt we made a very fair and honest effort to sign Brad before the trade deadline, but the ownership situation is a real sticking point, and so we have to deal with that," Nieuwendyk said.

Richards, a nine-year veteran, led Dallas this season in points with 77 that included 28 goals -- a career high -- and 49 assists.

Among the teams that will likely be interested in acquiring Richards will be the New York Rangers. If they aren't able to convince Richards to waive his control, then they will probably be waiting on July 1. The return value to Dallas wouldn't have to be much -- again, it is just looking for something -- but it's worth noting the Rangers do not have any second-round picks in this month's draft after this week's acquisition of Tim Erixon in a trade with the Flames.

His former team in Tampa could show some interest in bringing him back, too.

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: US Presswire

 
 
 
 
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