20 game mark key for Lou … Wang ordered Gordon firing … Canadiens could add a star player … Stars face troubles in trying to re-sign Richards
  • Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger: Lou Lamoriello will evaluate the New Jersey Devils after the 20 games mark, they’ve played 18 games so far. Firing MacLean is an option, or MacLean and assistant coach Larry Robinson switching roles. Some of the Devils struggles is due to the fact that 6 of their starting 18 players are injured.
  • Jimmy Murphy via twitter: Murphy was told that the Scott Gordon firing order came down from Charles Wang, GM Garth Snow reluctantly fired him.
  • Eric Engels of CTV.ca: If Andrei Markov is placed on the LTIR, the Canadiens could use his pro-rated $5.75 million to bring in a “star-calibre” player or a couple “good” players. Markov is in the final year of his 4 year contract with the Canadiens, and has suffered 4 major lower-body injuries, which could influence contract discussions between the 2 sides.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: The Dallas Stars are facing hurdles in trying to re-sign Brad Richards. The team is still looking for new owners and are controlled by the lenders. Heika doesn’t think the Stars want to go past 5 years. The Stars have back-loaded some contract to keep this payroll lower this year in hopes of attracting a new owner. If they have to stay on the $45 million self imposed cap next season, it will be difficult to keep Richards.
  • Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun: Keith Ballard will be back in the lineup when the Canucks face the Penguins. Dan Hamhuis didn’t practice yesterday but hopes to play. Andrew Alberts could be a healthy scratch.
  • Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun: Matt Stajan started both games over the weekend on the 4th line, though he eventually was moved up. He has only 1 goal in his last 32 games, though he has 10 points in 14 games this season.

By my calculation, Dallas has, at most, $5.5 mil available in next season’s budget for Brad Richards. They can address the short-fall with another back-loaded contract. But, does it make sense to give one to a 30-year old? Also, will Richards want a back-loaded contract?

In reality, they have less than $3 mil available to replace Brad Richards because two UFA defencemen must be addressed.

Unless Dallas dramatically increases it’s $45 mil budget, they must focus on acquiring under 26-year old players who can be controlled for a few years. Teams do not give up such players frivolously.

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