Doug Armstrong AP

Blues may have to trade top-six forward to acquire defenseman


In speaking with the media prior to free agency, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong made it clear he was looking to add defensemen.

Specifially, one that’s left-handed (to fill out that side of his blueline) and one that’s more defensively inclined (to pair with Alex Pietrangelo.)

But with so many defensemen snapped up on the opening day of free agency, Armstrong might need to go another route — the trade route, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Blues have made inquiries about Ryan Suter, Jason Garrison and Matt Carle. Suter is reportedly not interested in St. Louis, Garrison signed in Vancouver and Carle’s believed to be waiting on what Suter does, positioning himself as “Next Best” for teams that whiff on the Nashville rearguard.

After those three, the UFA defenseman market really thins out — so much that Rutherford actually mentions the name of Toronto’s Jeff Finger, something I haven’t seen in quite some time.

Which brings us to the possibility of a trade. Both Phoenix and Calgary have expensive back ends (gotta be a better way to say that) after acquiring Zbynek Michalek and Dennis Wideman, respectively — moves that have put defensemen Keith Yandle and Jay Bouwmeester on the block.

If Calgary and/or Phoenix want to move their defensemen to acquire more scoring, St. Louis is a viable trade candidate.

More, from Rutherford:

All of which means that teams such as Calgary and Phoenix may have interest in the Blues’ forwards.

They have 14 in the picture: David Backes, Andy McDonald, Alex Steen, T.J. Oshie (restricted free agent), David Perron (restricted free agent), Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, Matt D’Agostini, Vladimir Sobotka, Ryan Reaves, B.J. Crombeen, Scott Nichol and Jaden Schwartz.

The team also has interest in re-signing unrestricted free agent Jamie Langenbrunner and depth in the minors with Evgeny Grachev, Adam Cracknell and Philip McRae.

Should be noted the Blues have a payroll projected to be $28 million under the salary cap for the 2012-13 season.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.

Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

And here’s a statement from TSN: