Tag:New York Rangers
Posted on: July 2, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: July 2, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

The biggest free agent is heading to the biggest market.

The front-runners all along, the New York Rangers won the race to sign former Dallas Stars center Brad Richards. Darren Dreger of TSN reports the deal is for nine years and $60 million, an average hit of $6.67 million.

"Very happy to become a New York Ranger today!!!" Richards wrote on his Twitter account. "Playing at MSG will be amazing and looking forward to working with a great young team"

Richards spent the opening day of free agency entertaining team presentations in his agent's office in Mississauga, Ontario. There he hosted the Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs (sans Brian Burke), L.A. Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames. It was expected Richards would make his decision late Friday but instead elected to sleep on it before deciding on the Rangers.

"You can find a player like this as a free agent or find a player like this in the top five [of the draft] and it takes a long time to develop," general manager Glen Sather said. "We needed somebody like this to take us to the next step. I think it's a great opportunity for us. I know he left a lot of money on the table by accepting the offer."

And what about that concussion he suffered near the end of the season? Richards says it's nothing to worry about.

"I have been training for six weeks, way ahead of any other training schedule I have been on because I was healthy after the season," Richards said. "My body felt great, my head felt great, so I got at it pretty quick."

For months it had been assumed the Rangers would be the ultimate winner of the Richards sweepstakes. The Blueshirts needed a top-line center, had the money to spend and Richards had said he wanted to play in a big market where hockey matters. Seems to be a natural fit. But it didn't stay that easy.

The Leafs, Kings and Lightning were not surprise suitors at all. And if any other teams were to be in the mix, it was assumed it would the Sabres in Buffalo and maybe even the Flyers in Philly. Instead, the underdog came in the form of the Flames, who gave Richards a lot to think about.

Dreger reported Saturday morning that the Flames actually offered more money than the Rangers, giving an offer at the same length but for $65 million total. In the end, Richards took less money to head to New York and reunite with his former coach in Tampa, John Tortorella.

The Kings also came to the table with an aggressive offer, trying to give L.A. perhaps the best collection of centers in the NHL with Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar already on the roster. Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Kings, was part of a group that included general manager Dean Lombardi and several others who went to Canada to meet with Richards. Not even video messages from Wayne Gretzky and Kobe Bryant won over Richards.

"We have a lot of respect for Brad and Pat Morris and the way they handled this," Leiweke said. "We understood his desire to play out East and did the best we could to overcome that. We wish him the best. Dean [Lombardi] and his team did a great job. We are focused on other options and are certain this team is going to be very good next year."

His contract isn't as high as I anticipated it might go. Considering some of the contracts that were flying around yesterday in the free-agent frenzy, it was reasonable to assume he would see a number around the $70 million-$75 million range. Instead, the Rangers get him at an average cap hit of $6.67 million -- still a lot, but a reasonable price for a player that had 77 points in 72 games last season. The Rangers could have done worse.

Now, the Rangers still have around $15 million under the salary cap ceiling, according to capgeek.com, which should be enough room to sign restricted free agents Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle.

Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 5:31 pm
 

Free-agent tracker: Leafs make move, add Connolly

It took more than 24 hours, but the Toronto Maple Leafs, no strangers to free-agent signings, spent their first dollars on a free agent, signing Tim Connolly for two years, $9.5 million, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

The Maple Leafs were among the favorites to sign Brad Richards, who ended up going to the Rangers. GM Brian Burke took some criticism for not being present at the presentation to Richards, instead spending Canada Day overseas with Canadian soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Leafs needed to find a center and wanted it to be Richards. Once they missed out, they turned their attention straight to Connolly, most recently with the Sabres. The 10-year veteran has spent the past eight seasons in Buffalo, notching career highs of 18 goals (in 2008-09) and 65 points (2009-10). He is coming off a 13-goal, 29-assist season.

It seems to be a bit high for Connolly, $4.75 million annually, but Toronto had money to spend and needed to grab a center. Plus, the risk is minimized a bit with just a two-year contract instead of something in the four- or five-year range.

This week's moves

Who ended up where
Anaheim Ducks F Brian McGrattan (1-year contract)
F Jean-Francois Jacques (1-year, 2-way contract)
D Bryan Rodney (1-year contract)
F Andrew Gordon (2-year contract)
D Kurtis Foster (trade)
Boston Bruins F Josh Hennessy (1-year contract)
D Joe Corvo (trade)
F Benoit Pouliot (1-year contract)
F Trent Whitfield (2-year contract)
G Anton Khudobin (2-year contract)
Buffalo Sabres F Colin Stuart (1-year contract)
F Derek Whitmore (1-year contract)
G Drew MacIntyre (1-year contract)
D Mike Webe (multi-year contract)
F Cody McCormick (multi-year contract)
F Ville Leino (6 years, $27 million)
D Christian Ehrhoff (10 years, $40 million)
Calgary Flames G Leland Irving (1 year, $600,000)
F Sven Baertschi (3 years, $2.775 million)
D Anton Babchuk (2 years, $5 million)
F Guillaume Desbiens (1 year, $525,000)
F Ben Walter (2 years, $1.075 million)
F Jon Rheault (1 year, $95,000)
D Clay Wilson (2 years, $1.05 million)
D Chris Butler (2 years, $2.5 million)
F Carter Bancks (2 years, $1.12 million)
D Joe Piskula (2 years, $1.05 million)
Carolina Hurricanes D Tomas Kaberle (3 years, $12.75 million)
F Anthony Stewart (2 years, $1.8 million)
F Justin Soryal (1 year, $525,000/$80,000)
F Alexei Ponikarovsky (1 year, $1.5 million)
F Jiri Tlusty (1 year, $525,000)
C Tim Brent (2 years, $1.5 million)
G Brian Boucher (2 years, $1.9 million)
F Jussi Jokinen (3 years, $9 million)
F Chad LaRose (2 years, $3.4 million)
D Joni Pitkanen (3 years, $13.5 million)
Chicago Blackhawks F Dan Carcillo (1-year contract)
D Steve Montador (4 years, $12 million)
F Andrew Brunette (1-year contract)
D Sean O'Donnell (1-year contract)
F Jamal Mayers (1-year contract)
F Brett MacLean (1-year contract)
Colorado Avalanche G Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2-year contract)
D Jan Hejda (4-year contract)
F Chuck Kobasew (2-year contract)
G Semyon Varlamov (trade)
Columbus Blue Jackets F Ryan Russell (trade)
D Radek Martinek (1 year, $2.2 million)
D Marc Methot (4 years, $12 million)
D Aaron Johnson (1-year, 2-way contract)
F Alexandre Giroux (1 year, $825,000/$325,000)
D James Wisniewski (6 years, $33 million)
G Curtis Sanford (1-year contract)
F Andrew Joudrey (2-year contract)
F Nicholas Drazenovic (1-year contract)
G Mark Dekanich (1-year contract)
D Dalton Prout (3-year contract)
Dallas Stars D Sheldon Souray (1 year, $1.6 million)
C Vernon Fiddler (3 years, $5.4 million)
F Radek Dvorak (1 year, $1.5 million)
D Adam Pardy (2 years, $4 million)
F Michael Ryder (2 years, $7 million)
C Jake Dowell (1 year, $800,000)
Detroit Red Wings F Chris Conner (1-year contract)
D Logan Pyett (1-year contract)
D Garnett Exelby (1-year contract)
D Ian White (2 years, $5.75 million)
D Mike Commodore (1 year, $1 million)
D Jonathan Ericsson (3 years, $9.75 million)
F Patrick Eaves (3 years, $3.6 million)
F Drew Miller (2-year contract)
Edmonton Oilers C Ryan Keller (1 year, $625,000/$225,000)
F Yann Danis (1-year contract)
D Theo Peckham (1 year, $1.075 million)
F Josh Green (1-year contract)
F Darcy Hordichuk (1-year contract)
D Cam Barker (1-year contract)
F Ben Eager (3-year contract)
D Andy Sutton (trade)
C Eric Belanger (3-year contract)
D Corey Potter (1-year contract)
Florida Panthers F Mike Santorelli (2 years, 3.2 million)
F Matt Bradley (2 years, $1.9 million)
F Sean Bergenheim (4 years, $11 million)
F Kris Versteeg (trade)
D Ed Jovanovski (4 years, $16.5 million)
F Tomas Fleischmann (4 years, $18 million)
G Jose Theodore (2 years, $3 million)
F Scottie Upshall (4 years, $14 million)
C Marcel Goc (3 years, $5.1 million)
F Tomas Kopecky (4 years, $12 million)
Los Angeles Kings F Simon Gagne (2 years, $7 million)
Minnesota Wild F Colton Gillies (2 years, $1.25 million)
F Jeff Taffe (1-year, 2-way contract)
F Darroll Powe (3 years, $3.2 million)
F Dany Heatley (trade)
F Jeff Taffe (two-way contract)
G Josh Harding (1-year contract)
D Drew Bagnall
D Kyle Medvec
C Jed Ortmeyer
Montreal Canadiens F Michael Blunden (trade)
F Brian Willsie (1-year contract)
G Nathan Lawson (1 year, $525,000/$105,000)
G Peter Delmas (3-year, 2-way contract)
F Brock Trotter (1-year contract)
F Erik Cole (4 years, $18 million)
G Peter Budaj (2-year contract)
Nashville Predators C Cal O'Reilly (1 year, $1.05 million)
F Nick Spaling (2 years, $2.1 million)
F Matthew Halischuk (2 years, $1.425 million)
F Chris Mueller (2 years, $550,000/$65,000)
F Zack Stortini (1 year, $550,000/$75,000)
C Kyle Wilson
F Niclas Bergfors (1 year, $575,000)
D Brett Lebda (trade)
F Robert Slaney (trade)
F Brodie Dupont (trade)
New Jersey Devils D Andy Greene (4 years, $12 million)
G Johan Hedberg (1 year, $1.25 million)
New York Islanders F Trevor Gillies (1-year, 2-way contract)
C Trevor Frischmon (1-year, 2-way contract)
C Marty Reasoner (2-year contract)
F Kiril Kabanov (3-year contract)
New York Rangers F Andreas Thuresson (trade)
C Brad Richards (9 years, $58.5 million)
C Mike Rupp (3 years, $4.5 million)
F Ruslan Fedotenko (1 year, $1.4 million)
Ottawa Senators F Erik Condra (2-year contract)
C Zenon Konopka (1 year, $700,000)
G Alex Auld (1-year contract)
F Francis Lessard (1-year contract)
Philadelphia Flyers F Wayne Simmonds (2 years, $3.5 million)
G Jason Bacashihua ($525,000/$125,000)
F Tye McGinn (3-year, 2-way contract)
F Jaromir Jagr (1 year, $3.3 million)
C Maxime Talbot (5 years, $9 million)
F Jakub Voracek (1 year, $2.25 million)
D Andreas Lilja (3 years, $5.1 million)
Pittsburgh Penguins D Alexandre Picard (1 year, $600,000)
G Brad Thiessen (1 year, $525,000)
D Boris Valabik (1 year, $550,000)
F Steve Sullivan (1 year, $1.5 million)
F Tyler Kennedy (2 years, $4 million)
F Colin McDonald (1 year, $525,000)
Phoenix Coyotes F Matt Watkins (1-year contract)
D Dean Arsene (1-year contract)
D Nathan Oystrick (1-year contract)
D Keith Yandle (5 years, $26.5 million)
D Tyler Eckford (1-year, 2-way contract)
G Curtis McElhinney (1-year, 2-way contract)
F Radim Vrbata (multi-year contract)
D Boyd Gordon (2 years, $2.65 million)
G Mike Smith (2 years, $4 million)
F Raffi Torres (2 years, $3.5 million)
C Alex Bolduc (1 year, $575,000/$105,000)
San Jose Sharks F Martin Havlat (trade)
D Jim Vandermeer (1 year, $1 million)
C Michal Handzus (2 years, $5 million)
St. Louis Blues C Jason Arnott (1-year contract)
F Jamie Langenbrunner (1-year contract)
G Ben Bishop (1-year contract)
C Scott Nichol (1-year contract)
F Brett Sterling (1-year, 2-way contract)
D Kent Huskins (1 year, $1 million)
F Matt D'Agostini (2 years, $3.3 million)
G Brian Elliott (1 year, $600,000/105,000)
F Adam Cracknell
F Cody Beach
Tampa Bay Lightning C Tom Pyatt (1-year, 2-way contract)
C Trevor Smith (1-year, 2-way contract)
D Richard Petiot (1-year contract)
D Matt Gilroy (1-year contract)
F J.T. Wyman (1-year, 2-way contract)
G Dwayne Roloson (1 year, $3 million)
G Mathieu Garon (2 years, $2.6 million)
F Michael Oullete (1-year, 2-way contract)
F Brett Connolly (3-year contract)
Toronto Maple Leafs D Matt Lashoff (1-year contract)
F Philippe Dupuis (1-year contract)
F Tyler Bozak (2-year contract)
C Clarke MacArthur (2 years, $6.5 million)
D Cody Franson (trade)
F Matthew Lombardi (trade)
C Tim Connolly (2 years, $9.5 million)
G Ben Scrivens (1-year contract)
Vancouver Canucks D Alexander Sulzer (
G Matt Climie
D Sami Salo (1 year, $2 million)
F Chris Higgins (2 years, $3.8 million)
F Marco Sturm (1 year, $2.25 million)
D Kevin Bieksa (5 years, $23 million)
F Mark Mancari (1 year, $525,000)
D Andrew Ebbett (1 year, $525,000)
Washington Capitals F Troy Brouwer (2 years, $4.7 million)
D Danny Richmond (1-year contract)
G Tomas Vokoun (1 year, $1.5 million)
F Chris Bourque (1-year contract)
F Ryan Potulny (2 years, $1.05 million)
F Joel Ward (4 years, $12 million)
D Roman Hamrlik (2 years, $7 million)
F Jeff Halpern (1 year, $825,000)
D Sean Collins (1-year contract)
Winnipeg Jets F Jason Gregoire
F Andrew Ladd (5 years, $22 million)
C Rick Rypien
D Mark Flood
D Randy Jones (1 year, $1.15 million)
D Derek Meech (1 year, $700,000/$105,000)
F Tanner Glass (1 year, $750,000)
C Aaron Gagnon

By Brian Stubits

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

Posted on: June 29, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Free agency: Richards cream of offensive crop

You ever see a fish feeding frenzy? When the fish basically jump on top of each other to get the food first? That's what free agency will look like because of the dearth of big fish to be found, to mix our metaphors.

There is no doubt who the most coveted free agent is this season. Brad Richards tops all names up for grabs and pretty much every team is likely to show some interest in signing the former Stars center.

NHL Free Agency

Richard expects to be a busy man come Friday, according to his agent, Pat Morris, who spoke to Buffalo radio station WGR 550 on Wednesday.

"If five teams call, I'd be shocked by the limited number. If 25 teams called, I wouldn't be shocked," Morris said.

Perhaps the first ring will come from the Rangers, who seem to be the team most coveting Richards. They would love to find a center who can score to anchor the first line with Marian Gaborik. Just a reminder, though: veteran newcomers don't always work out so well for the Blueshirts, just think of Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.

If Rangers GM Glen Sather isn't first to get in touch with Richards, then it could very well be Brian Burke and Toronto. The Leafs are hungry to get back to the playoffs after a lengthy drought by the organization's standards (six seasons). Richards grew up a Leafs fan, so that has helped drive speculation in Ontario. But honestly a massive chunk of the NHL players grew up Maple Leafs fans, so that means next to nothing.

His former team in Tampa Bay, the Sabres in Buffalo, and even the Flyers are potential suitors, too.

Frankly, any team that has enough room to sign Richards will probably be standing with food in hand, hoping to get the hook, line and sinker on the best player to be had.

Here are this year's best forward options (in alphabetical order).

Sean Bergenheim -- Lightning: Before the postseason, Bergenheim would have likely re-signed quietly with the Lightning after a modest 14-goal, 15-assist season. But he busted out in a big way during the playoffs, scoring nine goals in 16 games. Since then he has turned down an offer from Tampa Bay with GM Steve Yzerman commenting that the two sides obviously see Bergenheim's value a little differently. At this point it looks like he'll be playing elsewhere.


Erik Cole -- Hurricanes: Cole has been a near lifer in Carolina, spending all but a part of his nine seasons in the red of the 'Canes (he was sent to Edmonton and then promptly reacquired by Carolina). He enters free agency coming off a 26-goal, 26-assist campaign, more than attractive numbers. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford would still like to re-sign Cole and keep him around longer, but at this point they haven't been able to find common ground. Carolina is still the odds-on favorite, though.


Simon Gagne -- Lightning: Gagne is coming off a 17-goal, 23-assist season in Tampa Bay, his first with the Lightning. It wasn't long ago that Gagne was a 40-goal scorer for the Flyers, last hitting that mark in 2006-07. It isn't as if he's too old to still flash that form at 31, but the concern might be in the injury department, specifically concussion concerns. Could be worth a shot from a team looking for scoring on the wings.


Jussi Jokinen -- Hurricanes: Another player Rutherford has said he's not sure if he'll be able to re-sign but wants to, Jokinen should draw a good amount of interest if Carolina can't lock him up. The last two seasons for the 'Canes he has surpassed 50 points, highlighted by a 30-goal, 35-assist campaign in 2009-10. (June 30: Re-signed with Hurricanes for three years, $9 million)


Ville Leino -- Flyers: The 27-year-old Fin is coming off his best season in the NHL, scoring 19 goals with 34 assists on the heels of his 21-point postseason when the Flyers went to the Cup Finals. There is no question the Flyers would like to have him back, but it's a matter of if they can have him back. The Flyers are still reportedly eyeing RFA Steven Stamkos, so Leino could be left in the lurch and snagged by another team while Philly chases that option.


Richards -- Stars: Richards is a true No. 1 center. Last season in 72 games for the Stars he tallied 77 points on 28 goals and 49 assists. The mystery isn't who will be interested in Richards, it's who will Richards be interested in? He will likely have his pick of the litter, from his old stomping grounds in Tampa to New York or Chicago.


Michael Ryder -- Bruins: The 31-year-old Ryder hasn't made the best impression in the world in either Montreal or Boston, the two stomping grounds in his career. However, the guy has scoring ability, hitting the 25-goal plateau in four of his seven NHL seasons, including 38 as a rookie.



Maxime Talbot -- Penguins: Talbot isn't the highest-scoring center you'll find (just eight goals and 13 assists last season) but he has earned a reputation as a postseason performer, which never hurts. The Maple Leafs have shown interest in Talbot since it became clear he wouldn't be returning to Pittsburgh and seem the most likely destination at this point.


Scottie Upshall -- Blue Jackets: Smack dab in the middle of his prime at 27, Upshall has plenty of talent to draw interest. He hasn't found the perfect spot for himself in either Columbus or any of the spots before. But each of the past four seasons has seen his goal total rise, hitting 22 last season for the Jackets. Once concern is that last season was the first time he played 75 games (he played all 82).


Others of interest: Jason Arnott (WAS), Tomas Fleischmann (COL), Radim Vrbata (PHO), Joel Ward (NSH), Marcel Goc (NSH), Raffi Torres (VAN), John Madden (MIN), Andrew Brunette (MIN), Tim Connolly (BUF)

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: June 29, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Free agency: Ehrhoff atop veteran defenseman list

It wasn't long ago that we had a free-agent defensive class that was shaping up with names like Kevin Bieksa, Andrei Markov, Joni Pitkanen and Christian Ehrhoff.

NHL Free Agency

Now all of them are off the market before it even begins. Capped off by the Sabres signing Ehrhoff to a long-term deal, each has signed contracts to stay with their teams (except in Ehrhoff's case since his rights were traded).

As a result we're left with an overall veteran group with mixed-in youngsters.

The hard part is naming a defensive headliner. Is it Ed Jovanovski, the veteran who played most recently in Phoenix? Could it be Roman Hamrlik, a 17-year veteran that still has a few miles left on the tires?

Here are this year's best defensemen (in alphabetical order).

Jonathan Ericsson -- Red Wings: The 6-foot-5 Swede is just 27 and skates well, so he's an intriguing prospect, even if he has been playing mostly as a third-pairing defenseman. At this point there is no deal in place to keep him in Detroit, but that can still be done. If not, though, there will be some suitors intrigued by the big man with very modest offensive numbers (six goals, 15 assists last season). (June 30: Re-signed with Red Wings)


Ehrhoff -- Canucks/Islanders/Sabres: He rejected an offer from the Canucks that was reportedly the exact same as Kevin Bieksa's five-year, $23 million deal and has since been sent to Long Island -- for a few days, at least. Ehrhoff has plenty of offense, scoring 14 goals with 36 assists last season in Vancouver. It's likely the Red Wings will be hot and heavy to sign Ehrhoff to fill Brian Rafalski's void now that talks have broken off with the Islanders. (June 30: Signed with Sabres)

Hamrlik -- Canadiens: At 37, Hamrlik has already declined a one-year offer from the Habs, looking to get something for two or three years. He has taken a lot of heat from the fans in Montreal, but he's still a solid player on the blue line who helped cover for an injured Markov this season. A return to Montreal is still possible, but other teams will a shot, too.


Jovanovski -- Coyotes: He's 34 but can still be a nice addition as a top-two pairing defenseman. The big question is if he can stay healthy. He will surely have a pretty hefty pay cut coming his way after the five-year, $32.5 million contract he signed with the Coyotes, but could be a target for teams like Colorado or Florida looking for experience on the back end.


Tomas Kaberle -- Bruins: He wasn't a great fit in Boston this year, as his time diminished during the playoffs. The big bug-a-boo was not giving much life to the power play, which was a year-long struggle for Boston despite the team's success. The Bruins are still trying to figure out if they want him back, but it looks like the answer will be no. He still can be an offensive contributor, though; he had four goals with 43 assists last season.

Bryan McCabe -- Rangers: Acquired by New York midseason, McCabe's greatest attraction is the offense he provides on power plays. He is coming off a big contract that was big in his falling out with Toronto when the fans didn't feel he was living up to the money. That shouldn't be a problem this time around as he won't get the big bucks.


Wisniewski -- Canadiens/Blue Jackets: He is in the 20-something crowd at 27 and has plenty of offensive potential. After coming over to Montreal from the Islanders, Wisniewski actually put up the most points of any player on this list last season with 51 (10 goals, 41 assists). There are plenty of concerns about him as a defensive player and it looks like the Blue Jackets are going to try and lock him up after acquiring him Wednesday afternoon.

Others of interest: Andy Greene (NJ), Scott Hannan (WAS), Sami Salo (VAN), Brent Sopel (MTL), Steve Montador (BUF)

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: June 29, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Rangers buy out captain Drury's final season

For a few weeks, it has been clear the Rangers wanted to get rid of captain Chris Drury and his big contract. The only question was if they could, considering Drury is dealing with a knee issue that could keep him out all next season and CBA rules prohibit buyouts of injured players.

But Drury has elected to go along with the Rangers' plans, neglecting to apply for a medical exception, the New York Post reports.

That means Drury will become an unrestricted free agent up for grabs on Friday. You have to wonder how much interest there will be, but a reunion with the Sabres is a possibility, Larry Brooks of the Post suggests.

The Rangers, meanwhile, will be cap-charged approximately $3.717 million for the buyout this season and $1.667 million next year, though the obligation for 2012-13 could be erased pending negotiations of a new labor agreement.

Because Drury had a no-move clause in his contract, he was able to elect not to go on unconditional waivers preceding the buyout.

The captain was gracious in bowing out, responding to the Post with a statement via email.

"It was a great honor and privilege to be a New York Ranger for the past four years, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream," Drury said in a statement that was sent to the Post by email. "The Rangers are a first-class organization with great people in the hockey, public relations, team services and community relations departments.

"I would also like to thank Ranger fans. They always inspired me to do the best I could in whatever role I was asked to play. Playing before them in the Garden was a thrill of a lifetime. I wish all the fans and the entire Ranger organization the best of luck in the future."

Drury played very little for the Rangers last season, scoring just one goal with four assists in 24 games because of a broken finger and knee surgery.

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 6:28 pm
 

Stamkos atop restricted free-agent class

Here we are, just days away from July 1, and Steven Stamkos still doesn't have a contract for next season. Come Friday, he will be a restricted free agent if no extension is reached with the Lightning before then. Stamkos says they're close, but as of yet no deal is done.

So will there be a stampede for Stamkos, a young superstar who has been the NHL's leading goal scorer over the past two seasons? Don't hold your breath.

If Stamkos is still unsigned comed Friday, teams will have the option of extending him an offer sheet, at which point Tampa Bay would have the option to match. And make no mistake, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will match. He is indicated that there really isn't a level he won't go to to keep his star.

Perhaps you're thinking if a team has a ton of money, why not call Yzerman's bluff, see if he truly means it? If nothing else, you force Tampa Bay to handicap the rest of its roster by committing more than it had afforded to signing Stamkos. Take the Panthers, for example. GM Dale Tallon has to spend $26 million just to reach the salary cap floor, so he has a ton of money to throw around at this point. Couldn't he set out to damage his division rivals by either taking away their best player (and giving the Panthers a star of their own) or hampering Yzerman's efforts to build his roster by offering Stamkos, say $12 million annually?

The answer is of course he could, but it's unlikely he would. Or any other team for that matter. Why? In the hypothetical world where the Lightning don't match and let Stamkos go, they would still get compensation. For Stamkos, the going rate would be four first-round draft picks going back to the Lightning. Stamkos is elite, but that's a heavy, heavy price to pay, in addition to the money committed to paying Stamkos.

So there's a reason why nobody -- except Maple Leafs fans -- has their hopes too high for Stamkos. Then again, you never know what might happen.

Among the other top RFAs this season, both Nashville's Shea Weber and New Jersey's Zach Parise have dates with arbitration after the teams filed, meaning they are off the market while the teams try to negotiate contract extensions. It's hard to imagine either player going as far as arbitration, but if they do, it's even less fathomable the teams would decline to give the player the award. Point being, don't expect to see either guy in a new sweater any time soon, barring trade, of course. These are the types of guys that you imagine will do what they need to do so as not to lose such cornerstones.

Now just because Stamkos seems like a sure bet to remain in Tampa, that doesn't mean other RFAs can't be pried away from their current teams.

Here are the top restricted free agents (in alphabetical order).

Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky -- New York Rangers: The young Rangers all scored at least 18 goals for the Blueshirts last season, led by Dubinsky's team-high 24. The quartet could be described as the future of the franchise.

Drew Doughty -- Los Angeles: The 21-year-old defenseman has already reached All-Star status and is one of the better offensive defensemen in the league already.

Sergei Kostitsyn -- Nashville: The other RFA they have to deal with in Music City, Kostitsyn scored 23 goals and pitched in with 27 assists, having the best shooting percetage in the NHL out of those with at least 25 shots.

Andrew Ladd -- Winnipeg: Ladd was sent to Atlanta from Chicago after the cap-strapped Blackhawks couldn't retain him. In one season for the Thrashers, he had 29 goals, nine on the power play, and 30 assists.

Brad Marchand -- Boston: The rookie really broke out in the playoffs, when he scored 11 goals for the B's on their way to the Stanley Cup, the second most for a rookie in the postseason ever behind only Jeremy Roenick.

Keith Yandle -- Phoenix: A great puck-moving defenseman, he could perhaps be a target of the Bruins in his hometown of Boston. Yandle had 11 goals and a whopping 48 assists for the Coyotes last season.

Others to watch: Zach Bogosian (WPG), Troy Brouwer (WAS), Michael Frolik (CHI), Clarke MacArthur (TOR), Blake Wheeler (WPG), Mike Santorelli (FLA), Blake Comeau (NYI), Teddy Purcell (TB), Semyon Varlamov (WAS)

2011 Restricted Free Agent Compensation
Annual Cap Hit Compensation
Less than $1,034,250 None
$1,034,250 - $1,567,043 Third-round pick
$1,567,044 - $3,134,088 Second-round pick
$3,134,089 - $4,701,131 First- and third-round picks
$4,701,132 - $6,268,175 First-, second- and third-round picks
$6,268,176 -- $7,835,219 Two first-round picks, second- and third-round picks
More than $7,835,219 Four first-round picks

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: June 25, 2011 5:46 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 11:07 am
 

NHL Draft: Grading each team for the weekend

Anaheim Ducks: I like the move trading down in the first round to get another early pick in the second from the Maple Leafs, assuming they weren't absolutely in love with any prospect on the board at No. 22. With the additional pick in Round 2 they grabbed who many felt was the top goaltender available in USA's John Gibson. In time, he could be excellent. Grade: B

Boston Bruins: The Stanley Cup champions were very quiet, as you would expect. They were picking from a position of luxury at No. 9 in the first round to finally wrap up the Phil Kessel trade and had to be ecstatic that defenseman Dougie Hamilton fell to them. They closed out with a goalie in the sixth round, a good idea to grab one at some point. Grade: A-

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres only had one pick in the top 75, which they spent on Finnish winger Joel Armia at No. 16. From there they selected three centermen, in Rounds 3, 4 and 7. But their biggest move was trading for Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik for Chris Butler and Paul Byron. I think the move benefits Buffalo most with Regehr's physical presence. Grade: B

Calgary Flames: Out of just five players drafted, the biggest they picked was a goalie in the sixth round. Three of the other four picks are all less than six feet, including fourth-round choice John Gaudreau. Top pick Sven Baertschi could be a very nice pickup for offensive punch. The move of Regehr and Kotalik wasn't a great trade in its own right, but it was solid when you consider it allowed them to re-sign Alex Tanguay. Grade: C+

Carolina Hurricanes: The 'Canes weren't active shoppers, content to take their six picks in peace. Among them, they selected three centermen, two defensemen and a goalie. Would have liked to see a little more balance and somebody to play outside, but there's always a chance for position changes. Top pick Ryan Murphy is unquestionably most offensive defenseman in the draft, but he's allergic to defense. Grade: B-

Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago was incredibly busy, selecting 11 players over the weekend, including six of the top 80. First-round selections Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault are both high-character, gritty forwards, then in the second round they scooped up a slipper in winger Brandon Saad. The biggest move though was getting rid of big contracts in Brian Campbell and to a lesser extent Troy Brouwer, freeing up cap flexibility. Excellent weekend. Grade: A

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs did most of their heavy lifting on Day 1 of the draft, first sending John-Michael Liles to the Maple Leafs for a second-round pick. I don't like the move all that much, but it shows they are serious about rebuilding. But they had a big play in the first round, selecting Gabriel Landeskog at No. 2, and he'll step in right away. They also grabbed a few defensemen, including Duncan Siemens at No. 11, to fill the void. Grade: B+

Columbus Blue Jackets: Their biggest move came Thursday when they landed Jeff Carter from Philly. It did cost them a first-round pick and a Jakub Voracek, but they got a guaranteed top-notch contributor, so it's a good get. They also traded Nikita Filatov to Ottawa. Thought they might be able to get more for him than a third-round pick, but it was a good decision to move him as he was likely going to KHL instead of returning and it just wasn't working in Columbus. As for the draft, I like the pick of LW Seth Ambroz in the fifth-round best. He was the 31st ranked skater by NHL Central Scouting. Grade: A-

Dallas Stars: Everything really is bigger in Texas. The Stars' six draft picks average over 6-feet-3 and 201 pounds. The three defensemen have an average height of just over 6'5 and 212 pounds, highlighted by first-round selection Jamieson Oleksiak from Northeastern at 6'7. It will take a little bit of time, but they will soon could have the biggest blue line in hockey. Grade: B+

Detroit Red Wings: In classic Ken Holland fashion, the Wings weren't afraid to move back in the draft, trading out of the first round to grab three picks in the second. Their first selection was Saint John winger Tomas Jurco at No. 35. I'm a big fan of the kid and he is oozing with potential. They decided to get defenseman-heavy with five out of nine picks, but I'm not going to challenge Holland's track record in the draft. Grade: B

Edmonton Oilers: They came in to the draft in a great position, obviously holding the top spot, but also the 19th overall selection. Drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the easy, but right choice. With their second pick they grabbed Swedish defenseman Oscar Klefbom. While many point to his lack of offense as a concern, I'm very high on him as a project. They did draft two goalies, one in Samu Perhonen who most considered the top European goalie. Grade: A-

Florida Panthers: The first pick of Jonathan Huberdeau was a great selection as I will maintain he could be the best in this draft. The Panthers didn't have quite the same impact as last season, but still selected eight of the first 91 players, including 5'6 dynamo Rocco Grimaldi. The move everybody is talking about, though, is trading for Brian Campbell. It's not a bad move for Florida as it actually needs to take on salary just to get to the floor and he has some use for an inexperienced blue line. Grade: B+

Los Angeles Kings: They too hopped into the Philly salary shedding by snagging Mike Richards in exchange for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. I love the addition for the Kings as it gives them two elite centermen in Richards and Kopitar. They didn't draft until 49th overall when they grabbed who I thought was the best goalie in Christopher Gibson, but didn't get any defensive help in any of their six picks. Would have liked to see at least one D-man. Grade: B

Minnesota Wild: I thought they made the best trade of the draft itself with their deal to get Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and San Jose's first-round selection -- which they used to get centerman Zack Phillips -- for Brent Burns and a second-rounder next year. They had a big need in offense and they addressed it for the current time with Seto. They also traded up to grab local favorite Mario Lucia, one of two Minnesota high-schoolers they drafted. Grade: A-

Montreal Canadiens: They patiently waited until the 17th pick when, much to the surprise of most, puck-moving defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was still on the board. For a team that's a bit thin on the blue line, he was the first of five defensemen they brought aboard. But Beaulieu was the only pick they had until the fourth round began, so they got great value and somebody who could prove to be a great pairing with P.K. Subban down the road. Grade: B+

Nashville Predators: I like the player they drafted with their first pick, No. 38 overall, but I don't like the fit. Magnus Hellberg is a very intriguing goalie prospect who stands 6'5, but going goaltender with your first pick, and making Hellberg the top goalie selected, was a bit surprising, especially when they have a still-young Pekka Rinne. After that they added a few guys who are a bit more stout, toughening up for years of Barry Trotz hockey. Grade: C

New Jersey Devils: With their first pick they took top defenseman Adam Larsson, who became the highest defenseman they drafted since Scott Niedermayer. But that's partly because the Devils don't often draft this high. And here they got a guy who most years would have gone first or second, but offensive needs above them dropped Larsson to New Jersey and I'm sure the staff has no qualms about that. Thought this was one team that could have stood to grab a goalie late. Grade: A-

New York Islanders: A lot of smoke before the draft was that they were showing the most interest in defenseman Dougie Hamilton, but they instead went out to get a Ryan Strome, a centerman they hope can be the yin to John Tavares' yang. He has great playmaking ability so it could be a great complement down the line. They got their big-bodied D-man in the second round with a nice selection of 6'4 Scott Mayfield from St. Louis, Mo., after trading Bruno Gervais to Tampa Bay Grade: B+

New York Rangers: Another team that was very quiet in this draft, they went up the middle with centers in their first three picks, starting with American J.T. Miller at No. 15 overall. It will be interesting to see how their last two picks develop, two defensemen who stand at least 6'3 and both weigh more than 205 pounds, you have to like where those guys are starting for blue line bruisers. But all in all, not much was happening for the Blueshirts. Grade: B

Ottawa Senators: My favorite team in this draft. They had a ton of draft picks entering the weekend and they made the most of them, spending two second-rounders to move into the first round for a third pick. Their No. 1 selection of Mika Zibanejad should be a good one, he's got a lot of power and grit. They got a lot of potential scoring with the other first-round picks in Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel. They topped everything off by getting a talented but still unproven Nikita Filatov from Columbus for just a third-round pick. Grade: A+

Philadelphia Flyers: Philly did its work on Thursday with their three blockbuster moves. While they seem to have weakened the roster by getting rid of Carter and Richards, it allowed them to bring in Ilya Bryzgalov and clear some cap space to maneuver. And, the part many were forgetting on Thursday, gave them a high first-round selection, which they must be thrilled with. Sean Couturier was a preseason favorite as the best player in the draft class, so to get him at No. 8 was a great nab. Could help fill one of the holes that just opened. Grade: A-

Phoenix Coyotes: The pick of defenseman Connor Murphy in the first round carries with it plenty of risk. He missed a significant amount of time due to injury and he has a pretty long projection. This is another organization I thought would be well served to look at a goaltender, considering they are pretty thin all throughout the organization, including with the big club. It's a need they will certainly look to address via free agency. Grade: C

Pittsburgh Penguins: They really must have taken the best player available strategy as they went defense with their first two picks, starting with Joseph Morrow at No. 23. I thought they really could have used some forward depth in the organization considering they have seven defensemen under contract next year with the big club and a good amount more in the system. The last three picks (just five total) did go offense, though. Grade: C+

San Jose Sharks: I said it before and I'll say it again, I don't like the Setoguchi-Burns trade, and right after they signed Seto to a new deal? Ouch. Sure, the Sharks landed a great defenseman after losing Niclas Wallin from the back after last season, but the price is too steep for me. As a result of dealing their first pick, San Jose wasn't on the clock until pick No. 47, taking Boston University's Matthew Nieto. For a team that is in full-contention mode, the move addresses a need, but I just feel the cost was too high. Grade: D+

St. Louis Blues: The Blues sat out the first round, but had three selections to make in the second and came out alright. Their pick of Ty Rattie at No. 32 was a very good one, getting a first-round talent. He still needs to put on some weight, but I like his outlook. Their next two picks of winger Dmitrij Jaskin and 6'5 Canadian defenseman Joel Edmundson were solid. They were another team that spent two picks on goaltenders, but it's an organization that could use some reinforcement in the crease. Grade: B

Tampa Bay Lightning: With their first three picks (Rounds 1, 2 and 5) they went all Russian. In the first they grabbed Vladislav Namestnikov, a center who can also play wing and was projected by many to go a little higher. They followed that up with winger Nikita Kucherov then defenseman Nikita Nesterov. One thing is for sure, though, they didn't add much size in the draft with nobody over 6'0. They know something about short guys, though. Add a little something to the blue line now in a small deal for Isles D Bruno Gervais. Grade: B

Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke came out to make some moves, and he did. The first was landing John-Michael Liles from Colorado, a player he long coveted. While Toronto has a slew of defensemen already, Liles is still a solid addition. He then made a swap with Anaheim to move up for two picks in the first round, using one to grab defenseman Stuart Percy. I'm not terribly high on the guy, but he's somebody they saw a lot of in Ontario, so at least they have a conviction. The other first-round pick was Tyler Biggs, a true power forward. All in all, they added a lot of prospects to the system. Grade: B+

Vancouver Canucks: No team was treated more rudely in Minnesota than the Canucks, taking the podium each time to a chorus of boos and mocking shouts, many calling for a new goalie. I'm sure they are in no hurry to push Roberto Luongo away, but they did draft goaltender David Honzik with their second pick of the weekend. Their first selection of Dane Nicklas Jensen is a very nice selection as he possesses potential to become a potent scorer when his game is more refined. Grade: B+

Washington Capitals: Were the Caps even present in the Twin Cities? Aside from a move to get Troy Brouwer from the Blackhawks in exchange for Washington's first-round selection. Because of that trade, the D.C. brass sat on their hands until the fourth round when they spent their first pick on a goaltender. I do think the addition of Brouwer will be welcome as a power forward, but they leave the draft without taking home much in the way of restocking the system. Grade: B-

Winnipeg Jets: Well let's just start off by saying nothing is going to take away from the high in Winnipeg right now as the Jets are back and this was the first true hockey steps as a franchise in the 'Peg again. With that said, their pick of Mark Scheifele at No. 7 came as a surprise. With Couturier still on the board, they seemed to reach a little early for Scheifele, but they said after the pick they had done their homework on him. With the rest of their picks, they added great size. But we won't rain on any parades here. Grade: B+

--Brian Stubits

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

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


 
 
 
 
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