5 Myths Surrounding Mike Richards to Toronto Trade Rumors

Richards AHL Manchester Monarchs by Rich TiltonEver since Mike Richards was first put on waivers by Los Angeles, we’ve been inundated with questions regarding the likelihood of where he would play his next NHL game. The latest round of questions came earlier today via Twitter after our writer in Manchester, Andy Tonge, tweeted this:

With that in mind, let’s try to clear up five common myths about recent talks between the two teams…

1. Toronto has no interest in Mike Richards.

Immediately following Richards going on waivers, several media outlets tried to deny Toronto had interest in the veteran center. Some softend it by saying the Leafs once had interest, but it had waned greatly in the weeks leading up to him being put on waivers by the Kings. That simply isn’t true. As we reported then – in this very detailed article – the Leafs made multiple offers to the Kings in an attempt to acquire his services. Since that time, talks between the two clubs have continued. Part of the issue remains the Kings’ lukewarm interest in what the Leafs have to offer in return, as explained here.

2. If Toronto wanted Richards, they would have simply picked him up on waivers – for free, without giving the Kings anything in return.

Rather than getting into some crazy scenarios here, let’s try to stay high-level and offer brief, but helpful answers. Toronto simply claiming Richards off waivers would have been nearly impossible because they have less than $2 million in available salary cap space. This really wasn’t an option for the Maple Leafs.

3. Toronto is insisting that Tyler Toffoli or Tanner Pearson are included in the deal.

This simply isn’t true, nor would it ever happen. First off, the Maple Leafs aren’t that crazy – although another Canadian team is, only they play further West. Second, Toffoli and/or Pearson aren’t being dealt for any player in the entire Toronto organization.

4. For Toronto to “take” Richards off Dean Lombardi’s books, L.A. will need to throw in another top level prospect (i.e. Adrian Kempe or Valentin Zykov).

Again, that isn’t happening. As noted in our latest edition of the Kings Top 10 prospects, those two players have been tagged as virtually untouchable by the organization. Another player on that short list is Nick Shore, who as the write-up stated, has become one of coach Darryl Sutter’s favorite prospects. Add in the fact that Richards doesn’t figure into L.A.’s plans next season and Jarret Stoll is set to become an unrestricted free agent, Lombardi would have to be blown away by an offer for his top prospect at center.

Further, No. 5 on that same list is defenseman Colin Miller. Although Lombardi has been desperate to find a defenseman to replace the hole Slava Voynov has created in the lineup, he most likely isn’t about to trade away one of his top two blueline prospects. That side of the puck has been a nightmare for him over the past 18 months, with the departure of Rob Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, and the absence of Voynov. Robyn Regehr is also set to become a UFA this summer, as well. To give up a prized defensive prospect, Lombardi would have to get a young, stud defenseman (preferably with years left under contract) in return. Again, Toronto doesn’t appear to have an asset that fits the bill.

Sources have told MayorsManor the Leafs are looking at center Jordan Weal. If true, this makes a ton of sense for a myriad of reasons. First off, he is a player that scouts have told us would already be playing for 15 other teams in the NHL right now.

Originally selected by the Kings in the third round (70th overall) at the 2010 NHL Draft, Weal is a former WHL scoring champion with the Regina Pats and led the Monarchs last season with 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists). More recently, with Maple Leafs scouts in attendance, his line led Manchester to victory last night, something he talked about with Tonge after the game.

Additionally, here is a small sample from the write-up included with our preseason rankings:

One of the things often noted is that he’s the second best player in Manchester nearly every night. The top player may rotate from game to game, but Weal just plugs along at a consistent pace. He possesses tremendous vision and hands capable of dazzling a crowd. While he is primarily a playmaker, don’t discount Weal’s ability to bury the puck himself. Another underrated aspect of his game is how competitive he is. The former Regina Pat has an endless motor and a penchant to deliver in clutch moments. While he isn’t a top defensive player, Weal is very shifty defensively and can often be seen lifting sticks, stealing the puck, and creating offense the other way for his team. He utilizes great skating to create offense on the rush.

Back in November, Weal was nearly called up to the Kings, but was blocked by salary cap issues surrounding the Slava Voynov suspension. He shared thoughts with MayorsManor about that experience here. With 36 points in 47 games entering today, Weal has been an important part of the Monarchs offense.

5. Toronto has demanded Dion Phaneuf be included in the deal, as they want to move one “bad contract” for another.

That isn’t true, although it would be the easiest deal to make from a financial standpoint. Phaneuf has a cap hit of $7M for six more years. Richards has a $5.75M cap hit for five more years. Right off the bat, that helps the Leafs salary cap. On the flip side, the Kings would be taking on more salary and more years. Plus, Phaneuf not only has a larger cap hit, he also has $19 million more “actual” dollars owed to him than Richards. However, the biggest challenge here is the Kings have been lukewarm to the idea of adding Phaneuf to their blueline. That’s a hefty contract for a guy who would play as part of the second or third pairing in Los Angeles. Also, keep in mind it was Darryl Sutter who had Phaneuf in Calgary before he traded him away in 2010 while serving as the Flames GM. If Sutter really wanted Phaneuf on the Kings, the trade would probably already be done by now.

Thus, talks between the two clubs continue.


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  1. “Second, Toffoli and/or Pearson aren’t being dealt for any player in the entire Toronto organization.” Pretty sure either would be dealt for Kessel, Rielly, or JVR in a hurry. And they say Leafs fans are delusional.

    • Per sources in the Kings organization, neither player would be dealt for Kessel or JVR. Confirmed.

    • Evan Reynolds says

      YES LEAFS FANS ARE DELUSIONAL. Especially if you think the Kings would trade away the future of their organization for one of those three players HAHA. Once the Kings get Voynov back, the only Kings I expect to be out the door is Stoll, Williams, and Regher. Possibly Clifford, I guess there are a few teams interested in him. And I will be amazed if someone takes Richards from us.

    • Canadian King says

      I live in the Toronto area and am forced fed anything Leafs related. I can tell you 100%, I would NOT trade Pearson or Toffoli for ANYTHING on the Leafs roster, especially Kessel and his $8 mill cap hit, for NEVER being a 40 goal scorer.

    • I think the last thing we need to do is take on 8MM and send away a player who is almost as good and on a ridiculously cheap contract and whose next contract will still be in RFA status.

      Morgan Reilly looks like a really good young defenseman and the only one I would honestly look at, but not for Toffoli. He shoots left and we already have Muzzin (crosi god also great eyebrows imo), McNabb (good possession D, underrated), Martinez and Regehr as left shot D. We don’t need another unless you want to take Regehr back with you and/or do us some other favors.

      Toffoli for JVR would just be swapping almost identical players at different ages. We don’t need the older, more expensive, and more likely to decline version.

      Out of your three suggestions, only 1 is really interesting, and he doesn’t really fit anywhere on our blue line right now. It doesn’t make sense to trade for him unless we’re sending Martinez and a lesser prospect back.

    • Jeff Duarte says

      The Kings trading Toffoli and/or Pearson for/or for any combination of Kessel, JVR or Reilly is laughable and a fool’s belief. Its just another sad example of a Leaf fan being desperately delusional after many years (a lifetime?) of following an organization with a losing mindset, environment and history (since 1967 at least). As someone who was born and raised about an hour outside of Toronto and have many friends, family and co-workers as die hard Leaf fans, I see this behavior time and time again and I can’t blame them really. One finds hope in a hopeless situation, even if it’s blind hope based on an unrealistic belief or ideal, as its better to believe BS than to suffer the pain by actually facing the soul crushing reality.
      There is no one on that Toronto Maple Leafs team that is worthy of being traded for a Toffoli and/or Pearson. That is fact and doing such a trade is against the known personality and work traits of GM Dean Lombardi. Someone who actually knows how to rebuild a team and get them to the promised land…TWICE! Sorry Leaf fan, look somewhere else to dump your garbage.

  2. Dean Lombardi would be stupid to let Toffoli or Pearson go! And we all know Lombardi is a genius so I don’t see this happening! Thank you very much!

    And I also believe Richards isn’t done with the Kings yet. If Kings make it to the playoffs, Mikey will be back in L.A. Just my humble opinion.

  3. Ryan O'Rielly says

    Did you make this up yourself?

    First, Dion Phaneuf still plays top line minutes against the leagues toughest competition. richards was a 4th liner and is now in the minors.

    How does a cap get worse when you are wasting over 4 million a year in the minors versus playing top line minutes?

    another myth: that you have any clue about what’s going on.

    • Phaneuf is not a top pairing D in LA. He might be in Toronto, but not for the Kings. That is the opinion of LA mgmt.

      As for the math, it is right in the article. Richards has a $5.75M cap hit in the NHL… Phaneuf has a $7M cap hit. Thus, if the Kings traded for Phaneuf, they would be using more of their salary cap now (and for more years, due to the length of the two contracts).

    • A mediocre 3rd/4th line center at 5.75MM is better than a borderline 2nd/3rd pairing D at 7MM, for 2 extra years (or is it 1?).

  4. Anyone can say ‘sources’ so that’s BS.

    Phil Kessel is a top 10 NHL scorer and a long per game nearly every season. He’s worth at least Pearson or Toffoli. Per sources in the Kings organization this is true.

    Damn that was easy.

  5. This was an entertaining read. I will add this myth: GM Dean Lombardi has gone insane and turned down an offer from the Toronto maple leafs that had Phil Kessel om his way for Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli.

    While I can understand Toffoli and Pearson are going to be solid NHL Players for a number of years, neither will ever put up Kessel numbers, especially consistently.

    • FWIW – Our sources have repeatedly stated the Kings aren’t interested in Kessel. It has nothing to do with his contract or the return (i.e. Toffoli or Pearson). They simply don’t believe he is capable of playing LA’s style of hockey.

    • Toffoli will be a 20 or 30 goal scorer on average.

    • Canadian King says

      hahaha, fyi Kessel has a whopping three goals more than Toffoli and that’s not even looking at what Pearson has and could have if he wasn’t injured. So lets do some simple math shall we, Toffoli + Pearson=30 goals, Kessel=21 goals, Pearson and Toffoli cap hit = $1.8 mill, kessel = $8 mill. And that’s not even considering being coachable, overweight/out-of-shape or defensive liabilities. So why don’t the kings do nothing and keep the young guns and continue to win Stanley cups, and the Leafs can keep kessel and continue to drive that 18 wheeler of the cliff, EVERY YEAR!

  6. curse of the Mayor says

    The last prospect the Mayor deemed untouchable was dealt a month after
    his mid season report. One of Kempe, Shore and Zykov is sure to be dealt now
    that he has put the jinx on them.

    • True, Fasching was dealt. If there was any defense on this one (and it isn’t a strong case), I did say “if” there was another player… http://mayorsmanor.com/2014/02/la-kings-2014-mid-season-prospect-rankings-the-countdown-begins/

    • The mayor also says Clifford is going to be dealt every season and Clifford is still with the team. must work both ways.

      • Now, now, let’s at least get it right. What I have said is that he is/was being shopped (which has been confirmed multiple times over). The most recent near-trade came last year when LA had a deal in place with EDM (and the Oilers changed the deal at the last minute, so Lombardi said forget it). Even though we had it way before anybody else, the rest of the media eventually caught wind of it … and even Bob McKenzie confirmed it.

        MayorsManor has the info. It’s up to you to accept it or not. What some fans can’t seem to understand is the difference between “involved in trade talks” and “he has been traded.” When a player is 100% dealt, we’ll tell you. When we have confirmed info from NHL team sources that the Kings are in active trade talks, we’ll tell you that too. As for Clifford, those talks have taken place multiple times. You are right, though – he is still a member of the LA Kings. We can’t make a trade happen. We can only report what is going on behind the scenes. One thing I firmly stand behind, MayorsManor has never reported any information for the sake of driving fake traffic or misrepresenting information. All of our stories are backed up by credible sources.

        Further, how about taking three steps back for a quick minute… weigh the countless stories we have broken here, rather than try to only nitpick on a trade that didn’t happen. Weigh all of those stories against each other. Pretty sure you’ll come away realizing the quality of our content.

  7. Lol @ this article says

    “Second, Toffoli and/or Pearson aren’t being dealt for any player in the entire Toronto organization.”

    LOL! That tells a lot about your organization. Rielly will be 10x the player Toffoli or Pearson can ever dream of being.

  8. There is no way the Kings trade Toffoli or Pearson for a has been defenceman or a lazy one way forward like Kessel. Toronto fans are delusional. Phaneuf may be a top six in Toronto but he would be lucky to even lace them up in L.A. Why would L.A. need a seven million dollar a year water boy.

  9. If Hoven is talking about sources and what they say, its wise to listen to him. They guy has serious connections to the team and knows whats going on.

  10. Add me onto the list of people who think it’s wise to listen to The Mayor on all things organizational with the Kings. He consistently is ahead of the curve on their organizations viewpoints of their young talent. Could you over it is overstated at times? Maybe. But When he says he has a source on the organizations position on a player (their own or otherwise) I’d take it as truth. The Kings are clearly in no rush to make a trade regarding Richards and Lombardi will happily hold all his cards until the right deal is found.

  11. GreedyBastard says

    Fine.. Leafs fans have it your way… Now you can’t have anybody behaving that way. You don’t even deserve our 4th line guys. Keeps those noses held high sitting in the basement.

  12. Kings fan from Toronto here.
    It’a hilarious to listen to how Leaf fans overrate their own players. It was funny to see how Franson and Santorelli, two of the Leafs best players this year, only fetched a late first rounder and a mid-level (at best) prospect. Not to mention Toronto now has Oli J on the books until the end of the year as a salary dump from the trade. It must have been sobering for Leafs Nation to get a dose of reality.

    Side note: Oli is actually a decent player that can help a team down a long playoff run, but that’s not Toronto.

  13. Haha! You leaf fans have every right to be delusional after the past decade you have endured. Your best player looks and aacts like a troll. And you can heap praise on Morgan Reilly…the same bunch who 2 years ago anointed Jake Gardiner as Niedermayer 2.0 and that he was “untouchable”… and how that work out?

  14. colo king fan says

    I love how fantasy GMs never value players as term & hit vs reward. Even with a pay bump next year, Toffoli and Pearson will still cost roughly equal to- or less- than Kessel. So you gain Kessel and you lose one of the kids (or both) as cap casualties. Leaving you with one top 6 forward instead of 2 – one of whom is already producing at Kessel type numbers in a highly defensive system for the same cap hit.

    And don’t even bring up Phaneuf. Dean brought 2 cups to LA in the last three years. You don’t accomplish that by paying your D4 7 million a year to play pylon-in-a-tire style defense.

    You guys must be on that Rob Ford crack coming on here questioning the Mayor. Now scoot on back to hockeybuzz. I’m sure Eklund put up a new click-bait blog about who is supposedly getting traded from the Leafs in the near future by now.

  15. Maple Leaf KoolAid says

    We haz duh bestest prahspeks n yung plehirz EVAR!!!


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