The NHL’s 2011 trade deadline brought an end, at long last, to the trade rumors swirling about Dallas Stars center Brad Richards for this season, though undoubtedly his name will return to the mill in June if he’s still unsigned.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk maintained in the days leading up to the deadline that he wanted to retain Richards in the hopes of getting ink on an extension, but admitted all options were being considered, including a trade.
However, that didn’t mean he’d simply give Richards away, as the Rangers reportedly discovered. The New York Post claimed Nieuwendyk’s asking price from the Blueshirts for the pending free agent center was one or two core players, a top prospect and a first round pick, while the Ottawa Sun claimed one of those roster players was Brandon Dubinsky.
Nieuwendyk would love to re-sign Richards as soon as possible and it’s believed Richards would love to remain with the Stars, but the continued uncertainty over the status of the club’s ownership remains the prime reason the two sides haven’t reached a deal yet.
One rumor floating around the Internet had Nieuwendyk rejecting an offer from Richards to re-sign a one-year extension to allow the Stars more time to get new ownership in place. That seems far-fetched as one has to believe Nieuwendyk would’ve acted on that opportunity.
CATS STILL IN THE CRADLE
As expected, the Florida Panthers were amongst the busiest teams around the deadline period, shipping out veterans Bryan McCabe, Dennis Wideman, Chris Higgins and Radek Dvorak for draft picks and prospects and Bryan Allen for the expiring contract of Sergei Samsonov.
Yet when the dust settled following the 3 p.m. trade deadline, goaltender Tomas Vokoun and forwards Stephen Weiss and David Booth were still Panthers.
In Vokoun’s case there simply wasn’t a market for starting goaltenders, plus his $5.7 million cap hit was tough for most teams to absorb even at this time of year.
The Panthers reportedly never got an offer they liked for Booth, while Weiss denied a rumor out of Toronto he’d only waive his no-movement clause to join the Maple Leafs.
Given Vokoun’s UFA status this summer it’s possible Panthers GM Dale Tallon will shop the goalie’s rights in late-June in hopes of landing something rather than lose Vokoun for nothing to free agency on July 1.
Booth and Weiss still have a couple of seasons remaining on their contracts and could remain part of the foundation around which Tallon rebuilds the floundering club.
HEMSKY NEVER CLOSE TO LEAVING EDMONTON
Edmonton Oilers right winger Ales Hemsky was a hot topic leading up to the trade deadline, but management decided to retain him and instead dealt Dustin Penner.
GM Steve Tambellini told the Edmonton Sun Hemsky “was never in play” on deadline day, adding he never received a single offer that would’ve convinced him to part with what he called “my best player.”
That suggests there’s a future for Hemsky beyond next season with the Oilers. He currently has one additional year at a cap hit of $4.1 million remaining on his contract and Tambellini’s decision to retain him will fuel speculation he’ll try to re-sign Hemsky to an extension.
LILES STILL WITH AVALANCHE, BUT RUMORS WILL RETURN
Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles was another notable fixture in recent trade rumors who wasn’t moved on deadline day.
Liles expressed his relief to the Denver Post following the deadline, while Avalanche GM Greg Sherman claimed he felt no pressure to make any moves, having already made significant trades (Craig Anderson to Ottawa, a four-player swap with St. Louis) earlier in the month.
However, if Liles believes he’s heard the last of the trade rumors, he’s mistaken. He has one more year remaining on his contract with a $4.2 million cap hit and if the Avalanche struggle again next season his name will pop up again as a trade candidate.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.