June 30, 2008

Interview with Spector's Lyle Richardson

Lyle Richardson, better known as Spector of Spector's Hockey, is your main source for all things rumors and speculation. Lyle scours newspapers and websites everyday bringing readers the latest in player movement. As you can expect, he's very busy this time of year. In preparation of Free Agent Frenzy day tomorrow, Lyle was kind enough to answer some questions about this off-season.

Is Ryan Malone going to be the most overpaid player this off-season?
He could be. The deal over the seven years is $4.5million but it's also front-loaded and he'll be making between $7-$8 million the next two seasons. That's a lot of coin for a two-way second line forward.

Marian Hossa is the hottest commodity right now. Do you see the Penguins making a serious at him now that they've lost Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts? If not, where will he end up in your opinion?
The Penguins are trying like hell to retain Hossa but in the end he could follow the money to another potential contender (Detroit? Rangers? Canadiens?).

Brooks Orpik: staying in Pittsburgh or moving on to somewhere like say, the New York Rangers?
I think they can retain Orpik, although he will attract interest around the league.

After last summer's offer-sheet controversy with Kevin Lowe and Brian Burke, do you see any general managers shying away from that tactic?
No, the only thing that could prevent that tactic this summer is the lack of depth in the RFA market this summer (so many were re-signed last season).

What team(s) do you think will be the biggest players in free agency?
Those with cap space and the willingness to spend, spend spend! The Rangers, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Red Wings and now apparently (judging by their recent moves) the Lightning.

How much more "aggressive" do you expect the new Tampa Bay owners to be? They've already picked up Malone and Roberts as well as the rights to Brian Rolston. Are you drinking the "Koules Aid" as Greg Wyshynski puts it?
LOL, I must admit I'm surprised by the rapid moves of the Koules regime but also impressed, although they've yet to address their team's more pressing needs: lack of depth in goal and on the blueline.

Sean Avery. What is Glen Sather thinking by not talking to this guy before July 1? Ranger fans loves him and he obviously loves being in New York City. Match made in heaven, no?
Avery's a valuable and popular player but his act also has a short shelf life as it tends to wear thin after a while, and Sather has obviously had his fill.I don't think this'll blow up on them, depending of course on who Slats brings in to replace him as well as other moves that could alter the look of the team.

The biggest newsmaker this summer will be Mats Sundin. What the hell is he going to do so I can stop seeing his picture on the front of TSN.ca everyday?
For Sundin to finally make a decision on his future. I don't blame him though, I blame the overly-excitable Toronto media. No wonder Mats hightails it back to Sweden each off-season!

With the salary cap rising and the floor now above the original cap ceiling in 2005-06, what does the future hold? Will the owner's try and fight their own CBA that they supposedly "won"?
The league and the owners painted themselves into a corner with this CBA. The big market free spenders (which now includes Canadian franchises thanks to the strong loonie) don't care, it's the struggling American based franchises in markets like Phoenix, Florida, Atlanta, and Columbus that aren't pleased. Any decision to re-open the CBA rests with the players, who can do so after the 2008-09 season but they won't considering how much this CBA (as I anticipated) is benefitting them. The only way I see the players doing that is if the league and the owners come crawling with a much better offer, which I doubt will happen.

Thanks a lot Lyle. I hope you get some rest. You've got a big day ahead of you tomorrow!

Ballhype: hype it up!

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