NHL Rundown: Brodeur ‘unlikely’ to return to Devils, Richards considers Lightning comeback

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The NHL is starting to heat up as we inch closer to the opening of the  NHL Free Agency market. Here is a recap of some of the biggest stories over the last few days. 



Panthers looking for perfect deal

Right now the Florida Panthers are slated to pick first overall in Friday night’s 2014 NHL Draft, which would likely take defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts off the table right away for the 29 remaining clubs drafting.

The other option, which Panthers GM Dale Tallon has been speaking up about, is moving his first round pick in a package deal. Tallon knows his system is crawling with youth without adding another prospect to his pool this weekend, so why not deal if it means getting back ready-to-play players?

So far in the running for Florida’s  no.1 draft pick are three Canadian teams in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, all of which are slotted to take picks in the top-8, something that Panther GM Dale Tallon requires if he’s going to move his pieces around this weekend.

“Maybe it’s time to package some of our youth in a deal,” Tallon told the Sun Sentinel. “We have 12 kids over 6’3 who are under 23 in our system, so we have enough youth now that it won’t affect the future. We have 10 picks next year. We have the No. 1 and No. 32 picks this year.”

The Panthers haven’t made it out of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals since 1995-1996 when they lost to Colorado in the Stanley Cup Final.  They have made one postseason in the last 13 seasons, where they fell to the New Jersey Devils in seven games in 2012.


Brad Richards leaves Broadway–Tampa Bound?

Brad Richards is a free man…at least in the hockey world.

The New York Rangers did as expected over the weekend, using their final compliance buyout on the veteran forward to rid themselves of his contract, leaving Richards up for grabs for 29 other NHL clubs when the market opens on the first of July.

“Tough last few days,” Richards said as quoted by the New York Daily News. “ I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at MSG in front og great fans. I’ve met many new friends, excellent teammates and staff and I have memories I will cherish for a lifetime.”

While the Rangers can not sign Richards upon his return to free agency, there is another team from his past  that the 34-year-old has written off as a possible landing place.


Whether or not the Lightning are interested in bringing back Richards, who earned a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy with the club in 2004, remains to be seen.


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Tampa Bay, Ryan Callahan negotiations continue

While Brad Richards may be interested in returning to Tampa Bay, the same can’t necessarily be said about Ryan Callahan, who played a combined 24 games in the regular season and playoffs with Tampa Bay after a trade between the Lightning and Rangers landed the 29-year-old in Florida.

Callahan is set to become a free agent on July 1st, unless Steve Yzerman can convince him otherwise, and from what we learned last Spring when Rangers GM tried to extend his captain’s term in New York, Callahan could be asking for a lot. A lot more than many teams would be willing to give, which could chase him right back into Yzerman’s arms if he does reach and test the free agency market.

Steve Bartlett who represents Callahan spoke to the Tampa Bay Times this week, stating the separation between the two sides, but also adding that regardless how long it takes the Lightning will never be closed out of discussions.

“It’s a critical stage where we have to find a way to close the gap,” Bartlett told the Tampa based news outlet.

“We’re never going to close the door on Tampa.”



Martin Brodeur ‘unlikely’ to return to New Jersey Devils

Lou Lamoriello has many decisions to make this off-season to get his team back to the NHL Playoffs, an event they have been the last two seasons and it looks like he will be doing so without legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Lamoriello spoke to The Star-Ledger this week, admitting the return of Brodeur for the 2014-2015 season doesn’t look promising.

“It’s unlikely,” Lamoriello said. “ No decisions have been made yet. We still have time on our side, but it’s unlikely.”

After the season both the New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur had last year, the decision to finally cut the cord between the two may be a good idea. Some may even say it’s time for Brodeur to cut the cord to the NHL all together. Looking at his stats over the last few seasons, it may not be a bad idea.



Ron Hextall makes first big move with trade

 Ron Hextall made a splash on Monday, signing off on his first trade as the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers that sent seven-year Flyers veteran Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, Philadelphia received R.J. Umberger and a fifth-round draft pick.  THG’s John Saquella shared his thoughts on the move… and many others chimed in with their own thoughts on Twitter.   

There’s one thing we can probably all agree on, and it’s that we don’t want to see #HartnellDown end.


Anaheim Ducks hire Yawney

 Yesterday the Anaheim Ducks announced the hiring on Trent Yawney, former Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach, who will replace Bob Woods on Bruce Boudreau’s coaching staff. Yawney spent last season as the head coach of the Ducks AHL affiliate in Norfolk.

Before moving behind their bench for a short stint in 2005, Yawney played in the NHL until 1999 after being drafted by the Blackhawks in 1984. After missing the playoffs in 2005-2006, Yawney returned to the bench the following season but was fired from the organization after getting off to a disappointing 7-12-2 start.

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Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado Avalanche remain in limbo

Despite the circumstances in Colorado, where contract negotiations are on the rocks once again between the Avalanche and 23-year-old Ryan O’Reilly, the two sides are hopeful that a deal will get gone…and Patrick Roy isn’t letting it stand in between him and a good time in Las Vegas, where he is nominated to take home the Jack Adams award at tonight’s NHL Awards Show for his performance behind the bench during the 2013-2014 season.

Roy and O’Reilly were spotted at dinner on Monday and the Avs coach had this to say according to the Denver Post:

“At this time of the year, it’s no different for other teams. It’s an unpleasant time. It’s a negotiation, and Ryan has to do what he thinks is best. Obviously, as a team you always wish players were buying into your structure, buying into your plan, and Joe (Sakic) is doing a super job. He’s the one dealing with the contracts. From a coaching perspective, I don’t see it as a problem”

The Avalanche filed for salary arbitration against their Lady Byng nominee earlier this month, so if the two sides can’t meet each other on paper, a third-party arbitrator will settle the case for them.

“I have full confidence in my agent for getting things sorted out,” O’Reilly said according to NHL.com. “ All I control is really preparing for next year and letting the business side play out. When it’s over, it’s over.” O’Reilly was on the books last season for $6.5 million, which means if the Avalanche wanted to give him a qualifying offer they would have been digging deeper into their pockets than they wanted.


Have an opinion on one of the topics here, or another we didn’t mention? Leave your comments below, or tweet us @TheHockeyGuys

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