Tag: Michal Handzus

Brad Richards

Chicago signs Richards — one year, $2M — to solve 2C problem


Chicago’s lack of a second-line center has been well documented — often times by our very own Jason Brough — so it came as no surprise today when the ‘Hawks decided to address the issue.

How they addressed it, though, is a bit of a stunner.

The ‘Hawks inked ex-Rangers center Brad Richards to a tidy one-year, $2 million deal, one that comes with a no-movement clause, per CapGeek. Financially speaking it’s a major win for Chicago, a team that was pressed right up against the salary cap but still able to bring in a quality middle man… at a very affordable price.

Richards, who became an unrestricted free agent 10 days ago following his buyout from the Rangers, is coming off a solid-if-unspectacular campaign in which he finished third among all Blueshirts skaters with 20 goals and 51 points. While the 34-year-old was a lightning rod for criticism given his $6.6 million cap hit, Richards is now working under far better financial terms — just $2 million  — and should be thrilled at the prospect of playing with any one of Chicago’s talented wingers: Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa or Brandon Saad.

The move will also be good from a familiarity standpoint as it returns Richards to the Western Conference, where he scored a career-high 91 points with Dallas during the 2009-10 campaign.

As for the finances, it’s easy to see why Richards chose to go where he did. He’s going to make an awful lot of money from his Rangers buyout ($3.05 million this year) so the option to take less salary to join a winner was out there. Few Cup contenders needed help at center more than Chicago, especially after St. Louis inked Paul Stastny in free agency earlier today.

Looking ahead, few will argue Chicago didn’t upgrade the 2C position in getting Richards over Michal Handzus, but it’ll still be interesting to see how Richards fits. There’s no denying he’s lost a step (which was one of the criticisms of Handzus) and, given Chicago’s speed up front, the ability to skate is at a premium.

Richards does, however, buy the ‘Hawks at least one year for prospect Teuvo Teravainen to cut his teeth at the AHL level and learn the nuances of playing center. That’s an important aspect of this deal.

Patrice Bergeron wins second career Selke

Patrice Bergeron

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won the 2014 Frank J. Selke Trophy on Tuesday, his second such victory in the last three seasons.

The two-way forward continues to distinguish himself as one of the top defensive pivots in the game after gaining mainstream recognition as the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Bergeron, 28, also came in second place in Selke voting to Jonathan Toews in 2013.

Speaking of Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks star joined Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar as the other Selke nominees.

Here are the voting results for the award, cutting off at the top 10:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 1,283 (112-21-2-2-0)
2. Anze Kopitar, LA 840 (20-66-26-15-3)
3. Jonathan Toews, CHI 624 (2-36-57-20-7)
4. David Backes, STL 415 (3-5-31-59-18)
5. Marian Hossa, CHI 66 (0-5-2-2-15)
6. Ryan O’Reilly, COL 58 (0-0-3-10-13)
7. Tomas Plekanec, MTL 45 (0-0-4-5-10)
8. Joe Pavelski, SJ 32 (0-0-2-3-13)
9. Sean Couturier, PHI 30 (0-1-2-1-10)
10. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 22 (0-1-1-2-4)

As you can see, Bergeron received a significant portion of the votes. Here’s a list of the Selke winners and second-place finishers since 1990:

Year Winner Runner-up
2014 Patrice Bergeron, Bos. Anze Kopitar, L.A.
2013 Jonathan Toews, Chi. Patrice Bergeron, Bos.
2012 Patrice Bergeron, Bos. David Backes, St.L
2011 Ryan Kesler, Van. Jonathan Toews, Chi.
2010 Pavel Datsyuk, Det. Ryan Kesler, Van.
2009 Pavel Datsyuk, Det Mike Richards, Phi.
2008 Pavel Datsyuk, Det. John Madden, N.J.
2007 Rod Brind’Amour, Car. Samuel Pahlsson, Ana.
2006 Rod Brind’Amour, Car. Jere Lehtinen, Dal.
2004 Kris Draper, Det. John Madden, N.J.
2003 Jere Lehtinen, Dal. John Madden, N.J.
2002 Michael Peca, NYI Craig Conroy, Cgy.
2001 John Madden, N.J. Joe Sakic, Col.
2000 Steve Yzerman, Det. Michal Handzus St.L
1999 Jere Lehtinen, Dal. Magnus Arvedson, Ott.
1998 Jere Lehtinen, Dal. Michael Peca, Buf.
1997 Michael Peca, Buf. Peter Forsberg, Col.
1996 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Ron Francis, Pit.
1995 Ron Francis, Pit. Esa Tikkanen, St.L
1994 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Doug Gilmour, Tor.
1993 Doug Gilmour, Tor. Dave Poulin, Bos.
1992 Guy Carbonneau, Mtl. Sergei Fedorov, Det.
1991 Dirk Graham, Chi. Esa Tikkanen, Edm.
1990 Rick Meagher, St.L Guy Carbonneau, Mtl.

Welcome Patrick Sharp to the trade rumor mill

Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks on in the first period of Game Three of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
(June 3, 2013 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

A new name has surfaced in what’s shaping up to be a wild week of rumors and speculation — Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp.

“Chicago’s now looking for a centerman, and Patrick Sharp’s available,” Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said on Tuesday. “He’s out there.

“Patrick Sharp is out there right now and we’re going to continue to hear some big names that are available.”

Chicago’s desire for a second-line center is well documented, especially after Michal Handzus’ disappointing playoff run (followed by news that the ‘Hawks were parting ways with the veteran.) Ryan Kesler has been linked to Chicago and while he’d be a tremendous upgrade, getting him on the books would require some maneuvering.

Per CapGeek, the ‘Hawks have around $4.6 million in cap space for next season with the likes of Antti Raanta, Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith needing new deals. Those won’t be especially tough — all three are RFAs — but the real issues come in 2015-16, when Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are up. The pair indicated they’re ready to re-sign in Chicago but with hefty deals already in place for Corey Crawford ($6 million annually), Brent Seabrook ($5.8), Duncan Keith ($5.5) and Marian Hossa ($5.275), something has to give…especially with the likes of Brandon Saad and Nick Leddy going RFA in ’15-16 as well.

So, back to Sharp.

While a talented forward with pedigree — he registered his fourth 30-goal campaign last season, and won a gold medal with Canada at the Olympics — he could be expendable in Chicago’s quest for a legitimate 2C. Sharp carries an annual cap hit of $5.9 million for the next three seasons and while head coach Joel Quenneville has tried him at center in the past, the results haven’t been there. As such, there’s a case to be made that an in-house candidate (Andrew Shaw? Bryan Bickell?) could ascend to a top-six role on the wing and replace Sharp — not as effectively, but definitely more cost-efficiently.

The ‘Hawks will also have to look long and hard in the prospect cupboard. They’ve taken five first-round forwards at the last four drafts (Kevin Hayes, Mark McNeill, Phillip Danault, Teuvo Teravainen, Ryan Hartman) with the hope is that one will eventually be ready to fulfill a top-six role in the NHL.

If Chicago thinks one can, the idea of moving Sharp might become less daunting.

Report: Kesler only wants to be traded to Penguins or ‘Hawks (Updated)

Ryan Kesler

Ryan Kesler has requested a trade, but the 29-year-old center doesn’t want to go just anywhere.

Kesler, who has a no-trade clause, apparently wants the Vancouver Canucks to trade him to Pittsburgh or Chicago, according to the Ottawa Sun. Assuming the report is accurate (it was previously reported that Kesler has given Vancouver a list of six teams to which he’s willing to be traded), it wouldn’t be too hard to see why Kesler would want to go to either team, given the caliber of players he would be able to share the ice with. Still, it’s not a given that either squad would be willing to make a serious effort to get him.

Based on the their current roster, the Penguins seem the less likely destination out of the two. They already have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and restricted free agent Brandon Sutter as their top three centers. They could shift Malkin to the right wing, but the bigger issue is Kesler’s $5 million annual cap hit. Is it really worth it for Pittsburgh to take on that kind of salary to add to an area of strength, when it already has depth issues due to the top-heavy nature of its cap allocations?

Chicago is a bit of a different case, given that it does need a second-line center after parting ways with Michal Handzus. Andrew Shaw might fill that void, but Kesler would be a safer bet and it’d allow Shaw to headline Chicago’s third line.

That being said, the salary cap is an issue with the Blackhawks too, especially seeing as they need to account for the likelihood that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will get meaningful raises starting in 2015-16. Unless Vancouver is inclined to retain some of Kesler’s cap hit, that might ultimately keep him out of Chicago.

And of course, that’s just examining whether or not Kesler would fit into Chicago or Pittsburgh’s plans. It glossed over the issue of what Vancouver would want in return and factoring in that makes a move to Chicago or Pittsburgh more difficult to pull off.

Update: Kesler is also willing to go to Anaheim, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman. The Ducks are in a pretty good position right now from a cap perspective, so they wouldn’t have that complication to deal with.

Video: Kings’ Clifford rocks Blackhawks’ Handzus with heavy hit

Los Angeles Kings v Philadelphia Flyers
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Kyle Clifford, in an attempt to set a physical tone in Game 6 between the L.A. Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, made his presence felt in the first period.

Clifford rocked Blackhawks’ forward Michal Handzus, the overtime hero from Game 5, with a heavy but clean hit along the end boards in Chicago’s zone.

Have a look here: