The Los Angeles Kings decision to terminate the remainder of Mike Richards’ contract rather than buy it out may have sparked a battle between the league and union, but the NHLPA isn’t ready to commit to anything yet.
“We are in the process of reviewing the facts and circumstances of this matter and will discuss the situation with the player in order to determine the appropriate course of action,” the players’ association said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott.
As previously noted Richards is now a free agent in the eyes of the NHL and the Kings are free of any buyout penalty. However, many expect the NHLPA to ultimately dispute that position. It can take months of even years for grievances to be settled, but an expedited hearing might lead to a resolution in a matter of days or weeks, per Bob McKenzie.
It’s also worth noting that even if it’s ruled that the Kings were allowed to terminate Richards’ contract, he might not be entirely off the books.
By contrast, a buyout would have cost the Kings roughly $14.7 million in total cap space over 10 seasons. At its peak, the Kings would have been saddled with a $4.2 million annual cap penalty for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.
Sam Gagner has demonstrated a high level of play at points in his career. He had four goals and eight points in a single game back in Feb. 2, 2012, and recorded 38 points in 48 contests during the lockout shortened 2013 season.
That sparked Edmonton to ink him to a three-year, $14.4 million deal, but the Oilers shipped him to Tampa Bay the following summer, which in turn moved him to Arizona. On Saturday he endured his third trade in less than a year as he was shipped to Philadelphia and while he hopes the Flyers keep him, he’s aware that the final season of his contract might be bought out.
“I still have a lot to prove and now obviously, it’s a little more heightened,” Gagner told CSN Philly. “I think that I have a lot of people to prove wrong.”
Coyotes GM Don Maloney can be counted as part of that list as he “didn’t think (Gagner) could play center at the National Hockey League level for us.”
If he does get bought out, that likely won’t be the last we see of him. Gagner will still be just 26 years old by the time the 2015-16 campaign starts and it’s not as if his performance was a disaster last season. He was adjusting to a new organization for the first time in his career and playing on an offensively anemic squad, but he still recorded 15 goals and 41 points in 81 games. No other Coyotes forward reached the 40-point mark.
“It’s not the easiest of times,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s going to make me stronger.”
Related: So, what happens if Philly buys out Gagner?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Despite not making the playoffs since 2006, the Oilers are upbeat this summer.
It’s certainly not a new sentiment, but perhaps this weekend signaled the end of Groundhog Day in Edmonton. After all they added top defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart, goaltender Cam Talbot, and, of course, Connor McDavid.
It doesn’t plug all the holes Edmonton has as the team’s defense and goaltending are still significant question marks at this stage despite the promising additions made. Still, it’s a big infusion of new talent and as a result Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli feels less pressure to make a splash during the free agent period.
“I’m actually pretty good with where we’re at now, so if we can’t get those things, I’m OK,” Chiarelli told Edmonton Journal.
It will be interesting to see if the Oilers have a bit of an easier time luring free agents this summer. The optimism that comes with getting McDavid combined with the team’s new look from a management level might lead to them being viewed in a different light.
Regardless of what they do between now and start of the regular season though, Edmonton will have a lot to prove going into the 2015-16 campaign. The young core can’t be expected to turn the team into a powerhouse over night, but it will be up to the Oilers to provide evidence that this is truly the start of a new era.
It seems very likely that forward Viktor Stalberg has played in his last game with the Nashville Predators given that he was waived on Wednesday.
Nothing is set in stone yet though.
“We’re talking to a couple teams about possibly making a trade,” Poile told the Tennessean. “Thought that if that was going to happen, it might have happened (Saturday) … there’s also the possibility that we could buy him out.”
Stalberg has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $12 million contract and given that he’s already cleared waivers, Nashville would presumably need to sweeten the pot in order to move him. A buyout would cost them roughly $4.7 million against the cap over the next four seasons, so the Predators should be motivated sellers.
One potential trading partner could be the Toronto Maple Leafs, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.
When Nashville signed Stalberg, it was with the hopes that he could bolster their offense while playing a bigger role than he had been in Chicago. Instead, Stalberg averaged just 12:35 minutes per game in 2013-14 and spent part of the 2014-15 campaign in the minors.
After trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames, Bruins GM Don Sweeney insisted he made the restricted free agent a “very significant contract offer.” Now we might be able to put a number to that statement.
Boston offered the 22-year-old defenseman a six-year, $33 million contract, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Hamilton then countered with an offer that was around $2 million per year higher.
That’s obviously a big gap, but as Friedman noted:
Sometimes, we get caught up in initial proposals. Any good negotiator will tell you to exaggerate your opening position.
All the same, this is in contrast to an earlier report that claimed Hamilton was seeking $5.5 million annually. If that was instead Boston’s opening position and it was rejected, then it becomes a bit more apparent as to why the Bruins felt the need to move him given the team’s cap situation. It also offers insight as to what it might cost Calgary to lock him up.
All the same, losing Hamilton could prove to be a serious blow to the Bruins next season, especially given that Zdeno Chara will turn 39 years old before the 2015-16 campaign is over.
Related: Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings