Brad Richards didn’t end up on Broadway at Tuesday’s NHL trade deadline.
However, that doesn’t mean he won’t relocate there eventually.
The Dallas Stars centre didn’t want to be dealt to any other team but the Rangers before the deadline, and although he was willing to waive his no-movement clause to go to Manhattan, the two sides couldn’t find a fit.
While Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk tried to sign Richards to a contract extension before the trade deadline, the two sides couldn’t agree on the length of the deal and never really got around to discussing money.
League sources say the Stars offered Richards a “fair market” contract, but it’s believed he and agent Pat Morris wanted a deal closer in the seven- to 10-year range.
There was talk Nieuwendyk was demanding a king’s ransom from the Rangers in exchange for Richards. Marc Staal, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky were among the players he was rumoured to be asking for in return. Nobody would do that deal.
If Richards does want a long-term contract, he won’t be a fit for the Maple Leafs. President/GM Brian Burke has said he won’t sign that type of contract with anybody, so Toronto is out of the mix.
The Rangers are willing to spend, which means Richards will likely be a good fit for the Blueshirts when he becomes a UFA in the summer.
Around the boards
Don’t rule out the NHL’s return to Winnipeg. The MTS Centre isn’t big enough to meet league standards with just over 15,000 seats and there’s concern about how much corporate support a team would attract, but better to have a full house in Winnipeg than crickets in Atlanta. The talk is the Phoenix situation will somehow work itself out, but the Thrashers’ problems are different and moving the franchise could be the only option ... The top three goalies on the NHL’s free agent market this summer could be Ilja Bryzagalov (Phoenix), Tomas Vokoun (Florida) and Craig Anderson (Ottawa). All three are hoping to re-sign where they are and not hit the open market. The belief is Anderson will sign a three-year, $3.5-million per-season deal with the Senators before April. Detroit G Jimmy Howard took himself off the market by signing a two-year, $4.5-million deal last week ... You have to wonder about GM Scott Howson’s future in Columbus if the club doesn’t make the playoffs. That wasn’t what Howson promised when he took over and the mistakes are starting to pile up on him. The signing of D Mike Commodore, currently playing in the AHL, could be the last straw for the people signing Howson’s paycheques. Maybe they should bring back Doug MacLean.
Off the glass
It’s almost certain Senators coach Cory Clouston won’t be back behind the bench next year. There’s nothing Clouston can do in the final 18 games to save his job with the club, which is among the leading contenders to win the NHL draft lottery. The consensus among league executives: Clouston either returns to the WHL or takes a job in the AHL to try to get his career back on track. If Clouston returns to the WHL, Seattle, Calgary and Chilliwack are considered possible landing spots by those who watch the league closely ... The Rangers did take a long, hard look at Ottawa D Filip Kuba before the trade deadline. But they couldn’t afford to take on the final year of his contract valued at $3.7 million next season, which is why they opted to acquire UFA D Bryan McCabe from Florida. Don’t be surprised if the Senators try to deal Kuba before the draft. He has a no-movement clause in his contract, but it only stipulates he can’t be sent to the minors ... A top candidate for the Norris Trophy: Boston D Zdeno Chara. The Big Z is back in form and should be a finalist for the award. Red Wings D Nicklas Lidstrom will likely take home the trophy, but Chara deserves consideration. Lidstrom should also be a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. Not many players mean more to their team than he does.
Rumours du jour
After failing in attempts to get RW Ales Hemsky from the Oilers, the Kings were successful in landing RW Dustin Penner. Many wonder how Penner is going to fit in with Los Angeles and how he’s going to play in a pressure situation. The Oilers didn’t want to trade Hemsky and asked for the moon in return ... Florida coach Peter DeBoer, who has one year left on his contract, likely won’t be back behind the bench with the Panthers next season. He wasn’t current GM Dale Tallon’s hire and the belief is DeBoer is going to be swept out in the house-cleaning in South Florida. “We haven’t accomplished what I feel we’re capable of,” DeBoer said last week. “It’s my job as a coach to get this team into the playoffs and get them to overachieve. I do believe they work hard almost every night. I believe we have buy-in as far as what we’re selling.” Nobody is sure what direction the Panthers will be taking, but league observers are privately questioning whether the franchise will spend any money on the free-agent market ... The Thrashers asked C Nik Antropov to submit a list of five teams where he didn’t want to be dealt before the deadline. GM Rick Dudley tried to move Antropov, but couldn’t find any takers for the centre, who has two years at a cap hit of $4.062 million a season left on his contract ... Just wondering: If Ottawa G Pascal Leclaire had been healthy, would he be dressing as a backup for an NHL team right now? Instead, Leclaire’s career is likely over and it’s doubtful he’ll even find a job in Europe next year.
Have a nice Sunday.