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Keep an eye on the Brad Richards situation in Dallas. He could very well be on the move this season, for a few reasons:
1) He’s on the last year of his current deal, and the Stars may want to get something for him if they don’t think he will re-sign.
2) Mike Ribeiro. Dallas has been unable to trade him, and they probably can’t afford both under their current budget (new ownership may clear this issue up).
3) Team success. If Dallas is out of the playoff hunt by the deadline, Richards is their most valuable asset to dangle at the deadline, and his monster $7.8 million cap hit would be a very reasonable $2 million (approximately) at the time of the deadline.
4) Jamie Benn. He was drafted as a winger and played most of last season on the wing, but the Stars have toyed with the idea of moving him to center. Like Giroux in Philadelphia, Benn is a good skater, solid defensively, and he makes great offensive plays with the puck on his stick.
There is a rumor circulating that Atlanta has signed prospect Andrei Zubarev to an entry-level contract. Zubaerev, a late round draft pick from 2005, had seven goals and 16 points last season in the KHL.
Atlanta is pretty set on defense from one through seven (Enstrom, Bogosian, Hainsey, Oduya, Sopel, Kulda, Valabik), and they also have a few prospects knocking on the door (most notably Paul Postma).
Bobby Ryan owners… time to get worried yet? I am 100% confident that Price will re-sign well before training camp, but not so sure with Ryan.
Ramblings are short and sweet for now – got home very late from the wedding I attended yesterday. I was on good behavior all night, until the dancing began.
Zac Dalpe or Riley Nash – who do you think earns the third line center position in Carolina? My money is on Nash (I think Dalpe may be shifted to the wing)
Tomas Vokoun is going to be traded at some point over the next year. He is in my top five for goalies in terms of talent/skill, and I can't imagine the kind of numbers he would put up on a contending team. A Markstrom/Salak duo is not very far away…
I mentioned this last week, but I'll do it again – I think any Kopitar-for-Art Ross talk is premature until the Kings add a winger or two. Smyth and Williams aren't long-term fits (William isn't a short-term fit either, for that matter).
Simmonds is a nice complementary player but ideally he isn't Kopitar's go-to winger.
Dustin Brown and Kopitar have zero chemistry.
Oscar Moller still needs to add size and strength, he got bounced around in the AHL last season.
Kyle Clifford is a wild card, but he may project as more of a two-way checking player.
More coming around 1pm EST… Only 48 hours to go until Koval-gate finally ends!