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PHT Morning Skate: Penguins quest for top-six forward continues into UFA fenzy


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

With the free agent period about to begin, what players are the Pittsburgh Penguins likely to target to bolster their top two lines? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Philadelphia Flyers will hold Kimmo Timonen’s retirement ceremony on Oct. 14 when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. (Flyers.nhl.com)

Here’s a thorough look at the situation in Buffalo after GM Tim Murray’s flurry of moves. (Puck Daddy)

Expectations are high for Avalanche GM Joe Sakic going into the free agent frenzy. (Denver Post)

Calgary has Dougie Hamilton locked up, so now the focus will shift back to re-signing Mark Giordano. (Calgary Sun)

Could Matt Beleskey end up with Toronto? (Toronto Sun)

Wings buy out Weiss after two rocky seasons

Stephen Weiss

The Stephen Weiss experiment is over in Detroit. After completing just two seasons of his five-year, $24.5 million contract, the Detroit Red Wings have bought him out, per the Detroit Free Press.

At his height, Weiss enjoyed 61, 60, and 57-point campaigns over the span of a four-season stretch with the Florida Panthers from 2008-12. However, groin problems limited Weiss to just 26 contests in his first season with the Red Wings in 2013-14. To make matters worse, he only had two goals and four points when he did play.

Weiss averaged a mere 11:20 minutes per contest last season and finished with nine goals and 25 points in 52 games.

Despite his decline in the Red Wings’ depth charts, there was some debate about using Weiss to hedge their bets after Pavel Datsyuk underwent ankle surgery. However, Red Wings GM Ken Holland wants to give his younger players an opportunity.

“We want to see what (Dylan) Larkin can do,” Holland said. “Andreas Athanasiou had a good year, where is he at? We’re going with our own younger people who have put a resume together at the AHL level, and are on the verge of trying to establish themselves in the NHL. At some point in time this year, we’re hoping a lot of our young kids will be NHL players.”

Weiss’ buyout will cost Detroit roughly $10 million in cap space over the next six years. However, it will save the Red Wings about $3.8 million for each of the next two seasons compared to the full cost of his contract.

Trade: Oilers get Korpikoski from Coyotes for Gordon

Lauri Korpikoski

The Arizona Coyotes announced that they have traded Lauri Korpikoski to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Boyd Gordon.

Korpikoski set career-highs in 2010-11 with 19 goals and 40 points, but he hasn’t been able to replicate that level of offensive success in recent years. The 28-year-old forward was limited to six goals, 15 assists, and a minus-27 rating in 69 contests last season. At the same time, he averaged 1:41 minutes of shorthanded ice time per game and finished second among Coyotes forwards with 141 hits.

He comes with an annual cap hit of $2.5 million for the next two campaigns. Gordon will cost Arizona $3 million next season, although he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after that.

Gordon previously spent two seasons with the Coyotes before signing with Edmonton in the summer of 2013. The 31-year-old center has never reached the 30-point mark in a single campaign, but he does excel on the draw. He won 55.9% of his faceoffs in 2014-15 and has a 55.3% career record. He also led all Oilers forwards last season with an average of 2:24 minutes of ice time in shorthanded situations.

Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

After an earlier report from ESPN cited that Richards is part of an “ongoing investigation” by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, further details have come to light, according to TMZ.

It states:

NHL officials have been notified that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into ex-L.A. Kings player Mike Richards involves the prescription drug oxycodone … multiple sources tell TMZ Sports.

Our sources say Richards was stopped while crossing from the United States into Canada on June 17th … and we’re told he was questioned about oxycodone pills, a powerful painkiller.

Richards hasn’t been charged with a crime and Canadian officials aren’t commenting due to privacy laws. Additionally, the Los Angeles Kings haven’t offered any details on the situation, although they have terminated his contract due to a “material breach.”

Prior to his contract being terminated, Los Angeles was in trade negotiations with the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. When Kings GM Dean Lombardi became aware of the situation though, he brought those talks to an end.

“He came right over to me,” Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN. “He pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, Pete, this is going to come out. I had no idea. This is important you know so that talks [don’t go any] further.’”

The NHLPA issued a statement that they “are in the process of reviewing the facts” before they determine their course of action.

Report: Richards part of police investigation

Mike Richards

More details are coming to light in the Mike Richards situation.

One day after his contract was terminated by the Kings, ESPN reported Richards is part of an “ongoing investigation” by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


A spokesperson for the RCMP in Manitoba told ESPN that, as of Tuesday, no charges have been brought against Richards but declined to comment further.

The source said that Canadian Border Services is also involved in the investigation, but a spokesperson declined comment, citing Canadian privacy laws.

It’s the latest in what’s been a whirlwind 24 hours.

Yesterday, the Kings dumped Richards’ contract on the grounds of a “material breach.” Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced of an alleged incident involving Richards trying to cross the border from the U.S. into Canada.

Later, the NHLPA released a statement confirming a review the situation, while still determining what course of action it would take.

Before all that happened, of course, Los Angeles was in talks with the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in an attempt to move Richards’ contract — but once Kings GM Dean Lombardi became aware of the situation, he suspended those talks.

“He came right over to me,” Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN. “He pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, Pete, this is going to come out. I had no idea. This is important you know so that talks [don’t go any] further.'”

Flames GM Brad Treliving confirmed that he had a similar conversation with Lombardi.

Terminating Richards’ contract comes with more overall cap relief than a buyout, but as previously reported, it appears that it doesn’t completely rid Richards from their books. It’s believed that the Kings will be charged with a cap recapture penalty of $1.32 million annually for the next five seasons.