Richards to Maple Leafs Becoming More Likely Each Day; Ribeiro Also a Possibility

For months now, people have been talking about a potential trade between the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs that would see Stars’ centre Brad Richards become a Maple Leaf, possibly in return for Tomas Kaberle.

However, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has yet to speak publicly about a trade involving the two teams, and has not yet been spotted at a Stars game, not that it really matters anyways.

But even though Burke hasn’t been speaking of a trade, does that mean it won’t happen? Of course not. As everyone knows, Burke is the kind of general manager who likes to keep his mouth shut, and give very little information involving transactions.

With that being said, the chances of Richards becoming a Maple Leaf could be increasing each day, given the way he has been playing, his contract situation, and the Stars’ ownership/revenue situation.

Richards, 30, is off to a blazing start this season. In 18 games, the former Tampa Bay Lightning forward has nine goals and 15 assists, a total of 24 points, to go along with a plus-10 rating. He is earning $7.8 million in this, the final year of his contract with the Stars.

Also well-documented has been the Stars’ current ownership situation, which will make it extremely hard for general manager Joe Nieuwendyk to re-sign Richards. Stars owner Tom Hicks has reportedly set an internal budget that is well below the league mandated $59.4 million salary cap, meaning it will be next to impossible since Richards will likely want about $8 million per season.

That’s not to say the Maple Leafs will want to pay him that much, although their salary cap room next season may allow them to.

Richards would be a nice addition to a team that does not currently have a top-six centre.

The addition of Richards could also mean good things for the development of Nazem Kadri, who, with three assists in four games, appears to be becoming more of a play maker than a goal scorer, although his career is only five games old.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported on Saturday not only that the Maple Leafs are interested in Richards, but Mike Ribeiro as well.

Ribeiro, a three-time 20+ goal scorer, is currently the Stars’ second line centre. He is earning $5 million per season, but still has two more years left on his contract following this season. With that and the fact that the Stars would get a greater return for Richards in mind, Nieuwendyk would likely rather trade Richards over Ribeiro.

However, Garroich said the New York Rangers are also interested in both Richards and Ribeiro. Both have a no-trade clause, meaning they can block any trade they’re involved in. Unfortunately, for the Maple Leafs, that could be a problem, as the Rangers have four more wins in two more games this season.

**Follow Buds In Blue on Twitter @BudsInBlue for frequent blog updates. You can also follow Lukas on Twitter @SportsHazeLukas for breaking hockey news and rumors, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs game updates. You can contact him at lukas.hardonk@gmail.com.

NHL Rumors and Rumblings: Kaberle Trade Imminent, Blue Jackets No Longer Interested

Tomas Kaberle

Andy Sutton, Glenn Metropolit, Marty Turco, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrew Ladd, Domonic Moore and Shaone Morrisonn all found new homes during the week that was, while Todd White was traded to the New York Rangers and Erik Johnson re-signed with the Blues for two-years.

Despite all of that, the Washington Capitals remained the busiest team. It all began when Maxime Talbot fired shots at Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. “I just hate the guy” said Talbot. “He’s a real (expletive).”

The team also re-signed 26-year-old, 23-goal scorer Tomas Fleischmann before acquiring tough guy D.J. King from the Blues for prospect Stefan Della Rovere.

Yes, it was another busy week in the National Hockey League. Here is a look at some of the things that could go down in the coming seven days.

Tomas Kaberle trade imminent?

The National Post (via Montreal Gazette) is reporting that a Kaberle trade could be imminent, but Brian Burke says that part of the delay is due to the Ilya Kovalchuk situation. Once Ilya Kovalchuk officially signs with a team, Tomas Kaberle will be the most sought after player available. Kaberle’s no-trade window ends August 15th.

Sharks, Bruins want to bring back Thornton, Chara

The Boston Globe is reporting that the San Jose Sharks would like to re-sign Joe Thornton before the end of the 2010-2011 season. In the same report, the Globe’s Craig Custance says that the Boston Bruins would also like to re-sign their star player, Zdeno Chara, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Blue Jackets no longer interested in Kaberle?

The Toronto Sun’s Dave Fuller is reporting that the Columbus Blue Jackets will most likely stop pursuing Tomas Kaberle. The re-signing of Anton Stralman may have something to do with that.

However, the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline is reporting that the Blue Jackets are still looking at adding another defenceman to the team.

Richards likely staying in Dallas

Mike Heika from the Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Stars want to keep Brad Richards and he wants to stay in Dallas. Richards has been linked to trade talks with the Maple Leafs and is in the final year of his contract.

Aaron Asham’s status

PortageOnline.com has reported that Vancouver and Edmonton have shown interest in Aaron Asham. The 31-year-old wants to return to Philadelphia, but the Flyers have very little cap space remaining.

Detroit, Maltby still talking

The Detroit News is reporting that the Detroit Red Wings and Kirk Maltby are still talking. Maltby’s agent Anton Thun told the news “It’s been a phone tag. At this point, Kirk’s preference is clearly to play for the Red Wings.”

Avalanche negotiating with Mueller, Stewart

The Denver Post is reporting that the Colorado Avalanche are still in talks with young forwards Peter Mueller and Chris Stewart. Mueller and Stewart are both 22 and both made $850 000 last season. Mueller scored 13 goals while adding 24 assists in 69 games last season, while Stewart scored 28 goals and assisted on another 36 in 77 games.

Information from TheFourthPeriod.com, SpectorsHockey.com and TSN.ca was used in this post.

If you don’t want to wait until Tuesdays to find out all the latest rumors, follow Lukas on Twitter @lukas_bib for rumors and news as soon as they’re reported.