Radim Vrbata

UFA Day 2: Who’s left?


The first day of the free agent frenzy certainly lived up to its name.

Even though the 2014 market was relatively thin, teams still handed nearly half a billion dollars to unrestricted free agents, based on Cap Geek’s estimate. The vast majority of the top talent available got scooped up in the process, but as we enter Day 2 of the open market, there are still some noteworthy players available.

Some of the biggest prizes left include:

Radim Vrbata — He scored 20 goals and 51 points in 80 games with the Coyotes. Arizona still wants him back, per Fox Sports’ Craig Morgan, but he’s got plenty of other options. He’s one of the few legitimate top-six forwards left on the market. (UFA of the Day Page)

Mikhail Grabovski — Grabovski got off to a great start with the Capitals in 2013-14, but he went cold and dealt with an ankle problem over the second half of the campaign. When the dust settled, Grabovski had 35 points in 58 games, which isn’t comeback numbers he was likely hoping for after the Toronto Maple Leafs bought him out in the summer of 2013. Still, those looking for a second-line center are running out of options. (UFA of the Day Page)

Martin Brodeur — Brodeur wants to extend his Hall of Fame career and there does seem to be a market for him. However, it’s primarily as a mentor and backup goaltender. His days of dominating the league are behind him, but he would make for an interesting addition to any team.

Daniel Alfredsson — He’s in the twilight of his career, but the former Ottawa Senators captain can still provide any team he joins with veteran leadership and secondary scoring. Is he willing to sign with any team other than Detroit though?

Mike Ribeiro — He signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Arizona Coyotes, but they bought it out after just one season over behavioral issues. It wasn’t that long ago that Ribeiro was a solid top-line center and those aren’t exactly easy to come by (unless you’re Stars GM Jim Nill). With that in mind, he’s an interesting diamond in the rough option.

David Legwand — Although his brief tenure with the Detroit Red Wings wasn’t great, he’s still a solid center and has recorded over 50 points in each of his last two 82-game campaigns. The New York Islanders appear to be in the running for him, according to WFAN’s Daniel Friedman. (UFA of the Day Page)

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick

Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.

Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.

Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).


A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:

Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.

It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.


After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.

Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.