Tor Star reports that Leafs are in retreat mode NBC – Richards to Calgary?

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Brad the lad! Photo by Vince Washington.

By Terrance Gavan – Sports

Printed in the Toronto Star recently some hither, dither and yawn about the Leafs struggle in the free agency puddle.

The prices are rocking the chandeliers here peeps.

Fleischman is now gone. What a connection he made with Matty Duchene in Colorado this year before succumbing to injury. No fear. The Haliburton Hurricane Matty Duchene will have a plethora of promising players to hook up with for 2011-12.

Here’s some schmooze from Tor Star’s Paul Hunter on the Leaf’s bundle of woes. Worries. And wonder.

You go Paul:

On a frenetic, some would say foolhardy, opening day of NHL free agency, the Maple Leafs held on to both their dollars and their sense.

Though they had vowed to be active when the marketplace opened at noon, as prices started escalating, the Leafs retreated, backing off on their interest in as many as 10 of the players who signed on Friday.

“There were players we could have signed today. We quite easily could have signed several of them, but the dollar or term went into an area we felt wasn’t appropriate,” said senior vice-president Dave Nonis, Toronto’s point man in negotiations while general manager Brian Burke was a phone call away with Canada’s troops in Kandahar.

The Leafs queued up with the likes of the Los Angeles Kings to make a one-hour pitch to Brad Richards, this year’s top free agent, and are now waiting to learn who will be the successful suitor. The Kings’ presentation apparently included a video clip of Wayne Gretzky extolling the virtues of playing in L.A.

The Flames and Rangers later hooked up with Richards in a conference call — with Jarome Iginla joining in on Calgary’s pitch — and there is a report that the Rangers will get a chance to match the best offer the centre receives. Tampa, saying the offers were too rich, later pulled out of the Richards sweepstakes. Buffalo has spent its way out of contention.

A decision from Richards is expected Saturday.

Otherwise, a whole bunch of middle-of-the-road players signed king-of-the-road contracts with more than $270 million (all figures U.S.) spent on Friday.

I have no idea yet what Richards is up to.  Hunter has some inside skinny on other deals and wheels.

However the most recent report from NBC sports says he may be on the way to Calgary.

From the “where the heck did this come from” file, there are reports that the Calgary Flames have made a late push to lure Brad Richards to Alberta. Even though they weren’t one of the teams to make an in-person pitch to Richards, reports tell us thathe Flames extended a 9-year deal worth $64 million. For the first time, we have an idea of the money and terms that teams are throwing at the prize of this year’s free agent class.

We knew it could get out of control, but $7.1 million per season will undoubtedly put some of them out of the running. The Tampa Bay Lightning said they were out of the running and the Buffalo Sabres decided not to make their scheduled pitch to Richards after they landed Ville Leino from the Flyers. Richards said he’s narrowed it down to 4 or 5 teams—which is better than the 30 teams that were in the mix at the beginning of today. Straight from the source, Tony Ambrogio (freelance reporter for SportsNet) learned that this won’t turn into an Ilya Kovalchuk situation like last year.

Whoo wee. I don’t know. I’m off to the dump.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]