Antoine Vermette

We have a trade to announce: Jackets send Vermette to Phoenix for picks and McElhinney


The Columbus Blue Jackets have unloaded a sizeable contract, trading center Antoine Vermette to Phoenix for a 2012 second-round pick, a conditional 2013 fifth-rounder, and 28-year-old goalie Curtis McElhinney, who had abdominal surgery in January after spending most of the season in the AHL.

Vermette, 29, is signed until 2014-15 with a cap hit of $3.75 million. Like most of the Jackets, he’s underachieved this season, scoring just eight times in 60 games. In 2009-10, Vermette had a career-high 27 goals with 38 assists.

For the potentially (if not likely) playoff-bound Coyotes, the trade nets them a proven two-way center that went to the Cup finals in 2007 with the Sens and should theoretically fit the team’s style. Plus they didn’t have to give up a roster player.

For the Jackets, it nets them cap space. And if Jeff Carter is eventually traded as well, it leaves a more prominent role for their two young centers, Derick Brassard and Ryan Johansen.

“This is moving forward,” Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson told the Columbus Dispatch. “We have to move forward. It wasn’t working this season as we expected. We’re going to move forward and this is part of the process of reshaping the team.”

Howson added: “This gives us more flexibility. It’s never fun trading anybody. I don’t think any GM enjoys that. But this is about us moving the team forward.”

In conclusion, the Jackets are moving forward.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension

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Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.