Video: Demers sends Stoll flying with massive open-ice hit


Welcome to the Dallas Stars, Jason Demers.

Talk about making an impression. Demers, acquired in a trade with the San Jose Sharks on Friday and caught off guard by the deal, threw an absolutely devastating open-ice hit on L.A. Kings forward Jarret Stoll in the opening period of Saturday’s game.

Stoll, cutting threw the middle of the ice, got his head up just in time but couldn’t avoid the hit and sent flying threw the air.


With Spezza signed, the list of UFA centers is looking pretty thin


Jason Spezza is no longer a pending unrestricted free agent. The 31-year-old center has signed a four-year, $30 million extension with the Dallas Stars.

With that, the list of pending UFA centers lost the only player who could be deemed elite. (Please, let’s not turn this into a discussion on whether Spezza is an elite center. That’s not the point of this.)

Who’s left?

Certainly some names you’d recognize, like Brad Richards, Mike Fisher, Antoine Vermette, Matt Cullen, Daniel Briere, Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll, Olli Jokinen, Derek Roy and Mike Ribeiro.

While some of those guys might have been elite in the past, they’re not anymore.

To be fair, Fisher, 34, and Vermette, 32, should garner considerable interest should they get to free agency. How the former comes back from his Achilles injury will be particularly interesting to watch given his contract status. The latter, meanwhile, could be one of the prize commodities at the trade deadline.

Still, those two are No. 2 centers, maybe even No 3s on a good team. If you’re the GM of a club that’s lacking a real impact player down the middle, don’t expect July 1 to be the day you solve your problem.

Stoll’s OT winner leads Kings past Ducks

Jarret Stoll scored for the first time this season tipping a Justin Williams feed past Frederik Andersen giving the L.A. Kings a 3-2 win Saturday.

It was Stoll’s first goal since April 9.

“I needed that one,” Stoll told the L.A. Times. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to help out and contribute and try to make sure other parts of my game were there. It always feels nice to score a goal and especially to get two points out of it.”

Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar scored in regulation. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves to improve to 8-3-4 on the season.

Defenseman Drew Doughty played a career-high 32:31 in the win.

Emerson Etem and Ryan Kesler scored for the Ducks. Kesler has three goals and an assist in his first two games in the battle between the two Southern California Clubs.

Andersen made 34 saves while seeing his record drop to 7-1-3 on the season.

Anaheim won the first game on Wednesday night 6-5 thanks to Kesler’s shootout winner.

“One’s a shootout game, one’s an overtime game, so it tells you how close they are,” Darryl Sutter said of the first two games between the clubs.

The third game of the season between Anaheim and L.A. goes Jan. 17.

Video: Lehtonen with an unbelievable save on Stoll


The Dallas Stars lead the L.A. Kings 2-0 after 40 minutes tonight at the Staples Center, but Jarret Stoll should have the hosts on the board.

With 6:44 remaining in the second, Dallas starter Kari Lehtonen robbed Stoll of a sure goal.

Take a look:

Stoll is still looking for his first goal of the season. He’ll have nightmares of this blown opportunity.

Welcome Mike Richards to the trade rumor mill


On Tuesday, Los Angeles center Mike Richards popped up on the ol’ trade radar.

The blip came courtesy a pair of radio segments from TSN’s Darren Dreger (see here) and Bob McKenzie (see here), in which both explained that Los Angeles’ ongoing cap crunch, depth down the middle and market value for quality centers all leads to one conclusion — Richards is a logical choice to be moved.

“I don’t think the notion they might be prepared to part with him is necessarily performance-related as much as it is reality-related,” McKenzie said on TSN 1050 radio. “And that is on a team that’s got Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll as your top three centers.

“Do you have room for a guy making that kind of money as arguably a fourth-line center?”

Richards is halfway through a monster 12-year, $69 million deal that carries a $5.75M annual cap hit. This summer, he was the subject of buyout speculation following a fourth-line demotion in Stanley Cup Final — a series in which he went up against another pricey, demoted center named Richards (Brad), who was eventually bought out by the Rangers.

Buyout talk was so feverish that Kings GM Dean Lombardi came out and said he wouldn’t amnesty Richards’ deal. Lombardi did so with the understanding that Richards would “make some adjustments in his offseason training,” alluding to the fact the 29-year-old wasn’t in tip-top shape a year ago.

“Essentially, I have to trust him,” Lombardi said prior to the June 30 buyout window closing. “Once that deadline goes, we’re locked in.”

As mentioned above, Richards hasn’t been bad this season. He’s scored seven points in 15 games but is playing even less than he did a year ago — 15:17 TOI per game, his lowest average since his rookie campaign in 2005-06. (And yes, part of that is due to the guys in front of him.)

At the end of the day, though, a move might be more about the money than it is about Richards. The Kings missed out on their first chance at financial relief when they balked on buying him out; now that they’re mired in salary cap hell, they might not pass on a second opportunity.