Author: Ryan Dadoun

Lauri Korpikoski

Trade: Oilers get Korpikoski from Coyotes for Gordon


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.

Lightning, Sustr agree on two-year extension

Andrej Sustr

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have signed Andrej Sustr to a two-year contract extension.

Tampa Bay didn’t release the financial terms of the deal other than to confirm that it’s one-way, but the contract is worth $2.9 million, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. That’s up from his 2014-15 salary of roughly $874K.

The 24-year-old defenseman participated in his first full NHL campaign last season and registered 13 assists in 72 contests. He also blocked 84 shots and logged 17:42 minutes of ice time per game, including an average of 1:28 shorthanded minutes.

He went on to participate in all 26 of Tampa Bay’s 2015 playoff games during its run to the Stanley Cup Final. He had a goal and an assist and averaged 15:14 minutes per contest.

Tampa Bay now has seven defensemen inked to one-way contracts worth more than $1 million annually, although that includes Mattias Ohlund who hasn’t played since 2011. Ohlund just has one more campaign left on his contract before he’s off the books.

The Lightning didn’t give Mark Barberio a qualifying offer so the 25-year-old blueliner is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. However, they still need to re-sign RFA Luke Witkowski.

Lehtonen, Niemi see benefit in splitting goalie duties

Kari Lehtonen

Kari Lehtonen ranked eighth among goaltenders in total minutes last season while Antti Niemi was ninth. If everything goes according to plan, neither of them will be in the top-10 next season and that’s something the 31-year-old Finnish goaltenders are comfortable with.

“My year was disappointing, so I want to fix that, and I’m open to doing anything I can to do that,” Lehtonen said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We are adults and we are older in our careers, so I think we can work through anything that comes up. Goalies have a certain friendship and Antti and I are friends, and I think that helps a great deal.”

He added that he thinks he plays better when rested, so he sees the advantage to his playing time being reduced.

Niemi was obviously aware of the situation before inking a three-year, $13.5 million contract on Monday, so it’s no surprise that he’s open to it. He did point out though that this will provide him with more time to recover between starts and work with goalie coach Jeff Reese.

It should help that the duo is familiar with each other. Lehtonen still remembers splitting ice time with Niemi for a game when they were both 10 years old. Much more recently, they were roommates during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

This will be an expensive experiment for Dallas as the two netminders have a combined $10.4 million annual cap hit for the next three seasons. That means the Stars will be paying more for its goaltending than even the New York Rangers, which carry the current cap hit leader among netminders in Henrik Lundqvist ($8.5 million annually).