BUFFALO, N.Y. - Jay Feaster said he spent far too much time over the past three days at the general managers meetings in Naples dodging cameras and reporters hungry for trade talk.
"It was like the locusts had descended," Feaster said.
Regardless, the Lightning GM said he conducted meaningful discussions, enough that he believes Tampa Bay will make a trade before Tuesday's 3 p.m. deadline.
"I would think there's going to be activity on our end," Feaster said Wednesday, shortly after meetings ended.
Feaster wouldn't talk specifics, but rumors circulated around Canadian media outlets. The one with the most legs has Tampa Bay trading Brad Richards and his annual $7.8-million over the next three seasons to free up space to sign puck-moving defenseman Dan Boyle to an extension. Feaster is trying to work out a deal with Boyle, who could command between $6-million and $7-million.
Richards, however, has a no-trade clause.
Potential unrestricted free agents Vinny Prospal, Chris Gratton and Jan Hlavac also could be dealt.
Meanwhile, Stars co-general manager Les Jackson and director of player personnel Dave Taylor attended Wednesday's Lightning game in Buffalo.
By Eduardo A. Encina, Times Staff Writer
Published February 21, 2008
This is from TSN:
An intriguing story continues to develop in Tampa Bay based on acknowledgment from league sources that the Lightning are discussing outside interest in Brad Richards.
Richards has a no-movement clause included in a contract that will pay him 7.8 million per season in each of the next 3 years.
While the salary is far more than some teams are willing to consider, there is a belief Richards wouldn't block a trade if asked, and the fit is right.
Wednesday night on Sportscentre and the NHL on TSN I suggested the Columbus Blue Jackets as the team considered to be the frontrunner.
Columbus has tons of cap space and a pressing need for a centreman. Adding Richards to the equation would help boost the Blue Jackets to the next level.
It's not known if offers have been tabled, but sources confirm teams have discussed the potential of Richards availability with Lightning management.
Although in the preliminary stages, if a deal gets worked out for Richards, its believed Tampa's asking price will include a defenseman.
Columbus may have an issue with that as next to a strong need for help at centre ice, the Blue Jackets are also in the market for a some help on their backend.
Columbus isn't the only team showing interest. As stated last night, the same group awaiting word out of Toronto on Mats Sundin have added Richards name to their list of options.
The Vancouver Canucks have the defensive assets to create an attractive package and should be considered among those teams keenly interested.
However, at the moment, with all of the uncertainty still hovering over the future of veteran defenseman Dan Boyle, it doesn't appear the Lightning are ready to make the move....yet.
From the NY Post:
By LARRY BROOKSSphere: Related Content
February 21, 2008 -- A week ago, the Rangers and every other interested party seemed to be out of the running for Dan Boyle, who at the time appeared poised to sign a long-term deal with Tampa Bay.
Now, however, the impending free-agent defenseman may be available, for The Post has learned that despite the Lightning's desire to lock up Boyle, little if any progress has been made toward that end.
Indeed, it is unclear whether Tampa Bay's incoming ownership will allow GM Jay Feaster to commit the $6-7 million per season Boyle is all but certain to command if the team can't first move Brad Richards and the final three seasons of his $7.8M per contract.
That's why Richards - who has a no-trade clause but seems amenable to waiving it under the right conditions - was dangled so aggressively at this week's GM meetings in Florida
Sources report Tampa Bay will seek to move Boyle if he is unsigned into Tuesday's trade deadline rather than allow him to bolt as a free agent while getting nothing in return. If that is the case, the Blueshirts will be first in line to acquire the multi-dimensional power-play quarterback who will turn 32 this summer.
The Post has learned that in addition to the Rangers, the Flyers and Sharks have been closely monitoring the situation, with the Penguins and Senators recently joining the queue. And while the Blueshirts may not offer the best package in terms of quality - their Type A kids are under quarantine - they do have a large quantity of Type Bs to offer a Tampa Bay organization whose cupboard is bereft of prospects.
The Blueshirts have one other thing going for them as well, and that's the no-trade clause that Boyle holds. Though nothing is set in stone, it is believed New York is Boyle's preferred destination if he doesn't remain in Tampa. Thus, Boyle has as much ability to drive the trade as does Feaster.
Again, Tampa Bay's strong preference is to keep Boyle, If, however, that is not possible, he may well be a Ranger in five days.