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Report: Dallas Stars sale progresses as potential owner Tom Gaglardi agrees to terms

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While the Dallas Stars don’t have the same do-or-die ownership situation as the Phoenix Coyotes, there is at least one reason for urgency: Brad Richards’ pending unrestricted free agent status.

Getting a new owner in place wouldn’t guarantee the return of Richards, but continued uncertainty would almost certainly prompt his departure. As silly as it might be to worry about one player in the complicated scope of ownership situations, Richards was a huge reason the Stars overachieved this season, even if they ended up just short of the playoffs.

The latest news is that potential owner Tom Gaglardi agreed to a price and “most of the terms” to buy the team, according to the Globe & Mail.

Former PHT writer Brandon Worley points out that this isn’t the end of the process, though. The Coyotes situation should be a good example of why these processes aren’t done until the new owner is confirmed. Worley points out that the Stars would probably need to go to bankruptcy court before the process can be completed.

Two very important facts to take note of from this report, if true: This is the closest we’ve been to the sale actually going through since the team was put on the market well over a year ago, and just because Gagliardi has agreed to terms doesn’t mean that the sale is anywhere near final. He still has, apparently, a 30 day window of exclusive negotiating to narrow down the price and terms of the sale and there’s also the very real chance this thing has to go to bankruptcy court first.

While not exactly a certainty, it appears that the sale getting done prior to the unofficial “deadline” of July 1st is getting closer to becoming a very real possibility.

Interestingly enough, the sale would include a 50-percent share of the American Airlines Center, home of the Stars and NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. The NHL is reportedly against the team going to bankruptcy court and only half-confirmed the story, according to the Globe & Mail.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to clarify the situation. He said in an e-mail message Monday the source’s information is “partially true and partially inaccurate. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to specify which is which.”

Gaglardi said he was “not at liberty to discuss” the situation.

The winning bidder over two Dallas groups – led by local oil men Doug Miller and Billy Quinn – Gaglardi is chairman of his family’s business, Northland Properties Corp., which counts a hotel chain, restaurants and ski resorts among its holdings.

Gaglardi, who in 2008 lost a court fight with Francesco Aquilini for control of the Vancouver Canucks, also owns the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in partnership with NHL players Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi.

The Stars have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and are in a period of uncertainty after firing head coach Marc Crawford. The Globe & Mail reports that the team probably lost about $15 million in the 2010-11 season, which isn’t a shocking estimate considering their attendance issues.

I doubt that the ownership issues made an impact beyond the team’s most passionate fans, but it couldn’t help being that the team is undergoing a playoff drought and also lost well-known players such as Mike Modano and Marty Turco.

That being said, if the Stars can bring back Richards and add some depth to a top-heavy team, they could be a serious contender next season. Whether it’s Gaglardi or someone else, they’ll need an owner with deep pockets to do so. We’ll keep you updated as the Stars try to beat that July 1st deadline.

Report: Bruins’ Khokhlachev to sign in KHL

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Alexander Khokhlachev’s time with the Boston Bruins is up, according to a report out of Russia that has the 22-year-old forward signing with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL.

The deal reportedly won’t be announced until after June 30; Khokhlachev is under contract with the B’s until then. But the fact he’s apparently decided to depart for the KHL should come as no surprise.

A second-round draft pick in 2011, Khokhlachev has spent the last three seasons piling up points in the AHL; however, he’s only appeared in nine NHL games.

Earlier this month, his agent told CBS Boston, “Alexander did not really get a chance for all the years that he signed a deal, for four years, the deals he signed with Boston, didn’t really get a chance to play in the National Hockey League, so he won’t stay in the organization.”

SKA acquired Khokhlachev’s KHL rights last summer.

Related: Khokhlachev just wants a chance

Jackets not expected to sign Quebec league prospect Pelletier

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28:  Julien Pelletier meets his team after being drafted #107 by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Day Two of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Julien Pelletier, the QMJHL Sherbrooke forward taken in the fourth round of the ’14 draft, is unlikely to receive an entry-level contract from the Blue Jackets, per the Columbus Dispatch.

The move would mean Pelletier could re-enter this year’s draft. The Blue Jackets have until Wednesday to decide if they want to sign him, or trade his rights to another team.

Taken five spots ahead of Viktor Arvidsson — who’s become a nice young player for Nashville — Pelletier had a solid season in Sherbrooke, finishing second on the team in goals (with 27).

This year, he was in training camp with the Jackets but sent home early.

Per the Dispatch, the Jackets are also unlikely to sign another ’14 draftee — Olivier Leblanc, who was taken in the seventh round.

‘Invigorated’ Hitch signs for one final year in St. Louis

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 21:  Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues walks on the ice in game four of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 21, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Ken Hitchcock is taking one last shot at winning a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues.

The club announced today a one-year contract extension for the 64-year-old head coach. Hitchcock then confirmed during a press conference that 2016-17 will be his final year. He plans to retire from coaching once it’s over.

“I just feel like I’ve got this really good year in me,” Hitchcock said. “This season has invigorated me like no season before.”

The Blues, of course, made it all the way to the Western Conference Final this year. The previous four postseasons under Hitchcock, they made it to the second round once, then lost three straight times in the first round.

“This group of players, their dynamic has changed, and it’s really exciting right now,” he said.

There will be at least one change to the coaching staff. GM Doug Armstrong said today that associate coach Brad Shaw will not be back. The rest of the staff has been offered one-year extensions to match Hitchcock’s.

Now that the decision has been made on the head coach, Armstrong can turn his full attention to the roster. Getting Jaden Schwartz, a pending restricted free agent, signed to a long-term deal will be his initial focus.

As for the captain, pending unrestricted free agent David Backes, there’s interest in bringing him back, but the numbers have to make sense. Forwards Troy Brouwer, Steve Ott, Kyle Brodziak and Scottie Upshall are also UFAs.

On the back end, Kevin Shattenkirk is probably the biggest wild card. He can become unrestricted next summer, and there has been speculation he could be traded this summer. But as of right now, Armstrong expects him to be back.

Armstrong also said there’s a chance Vladimir Sobotka could return to the Blues next season. Sobotka has spent the last two years in the KHL.

However the roster looks next season, it will be interesting to see what Hitchcock can get out of it. The Blues got over a big hump in 2016, but they only got halfway to winning it all.

One thing’s for sure, though, and that’s this:

Related: Parayko’s ‘memorable’ season has extended into the playoffs

NHL explains no suspension for Marleau, says he didn’t ‘pick’ Rust’s head

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PITTSBURGH — Shortly after reports surfaced that San Jose’s Patrick Marleau wouldn’t face supplemental discipline for his hit on Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety issued a series of tweets explaining their decision.

Following last night’s game, Marleau said he didn’t think he’d be suspended for the hit, explaining that he “kind of let [Rust] skate into me.”

“I just tried to keep everything down,” Marleau added. “I didn’t want to get too high on him.”

Marleau’s assessment was in direct contrast with Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan.

“It’s a blindside hit to the head,” he said. “[Marleau] gets a penalty and I’m sure the league will look at it.”

As for Rust, Sullivan listed him as day-to-day with an upper-body injury following the contest. The hit knocked Rust out of last night’s game, and the Penguins haven’t began their off-day practice yet.

More to follow…