Jun 2, 2011, 3:55 PM EST
Not too long ago, there was plenty of optimism that the Dallas Stars sale could be completed in time to retain their best player. That optimism seems scarce now, though, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the team’s shaky ownership situation won’t allow them to extend a contract offer to Brad Richards after all.
Apparently the team’s pending sale probably won’t be settled in time to negotiate a new deal with the premier playmaker, so he’ll likely find a new home once the unrestricted free agent market opens up on July 1.
How the Stars could make the best of a bad situation
No doubt about it, losing Richards would be a huge blow to what was a very top-heavy Stars roster. He scored 77 points in 70 games in 2010-11 and 91 in 80 games in 09-10. Then again, he’s already 31 years old and he suffered from some worrisome concussion issues late in this season. Maybe Stars fans can cope with this announcement by acknowledging the risky nature of wrapping up an aging (though supremely talented) forward?
McKenzie reports that the Stars might arrange a trade for his exclusive negotiating rights before July 1, although Richards would need to waive his no-movement clause for that to happen.
The 2010 off-season featured at least two prominent examples of teams trading for exclusive negotiating rights, with one situation working out and the other falling through. Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers failed to convince Dan Hamhuis to sign with them before he hit the market and eventually joined the Vancouver Canucks. On the other hand, Jaroslav Halak signed with the St. Louis Blues after the team traded for his restricted free agent negotiating rights.
With all due respect to Halak’s outstanding ’10 playoff run, Richards would obviously be a bigger fish than either of those two players, so the Stars could conceivably wring a nice package out of an antsy suitor if Richards complies. It would be surprising if he refused to waive his clause since he wouldn’t be required to sign with that seeker, anyway.
Looking ahead for Richards and the Stars
If this report is accurate, then Richards will be this year’s Ilya Kovalchuk: a big-time free agent that success-starved fans hope their team will acquire. He is older than Kovalchuk and is a premium passer while Kovalchuk is an elite goal-scorer, but Richards should generate similar attention. In fact, with a Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup on his resume, he might actually receive more offers (at least from quantity standpoint).
No doubt about it, we’ll be all over Richards’ pending free agency this summer – from news to rumors and analysis – so stay tuned.
In other Stars-related rumors, McKenzie reports that the team’s head coaching position could be filled by three prime candidates: Montreal Canadiens assistant Kirk Muller, Nashville Predators assistant Peter Horachek and Glen Gulutzan. Gulutzan is the head coach of the Texas Stars’, the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate. The team will likely choose their next bench boss by the start of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, according to McKenzie.
Whoever that coach is, it looks that lucky guy will face the added challenge of succeeding without Richards’ elite offensive abilities in the mix.
- Firing Dallas Eakins ‘would be so unfair,’ says Taylor Hall 27
- ‘It sucks for us, it sucks for the fans’: Oilers losing skid hits six games 14
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ 82
- ‘We did not want to disrespect our fans’: Leafs salute supporters after beating Red Wings 4
- Video: Demers sends Stoll flying with massive open-ice hit 8
- Don Cherry on Leafs not saluting fans: ‘I couldn’t believe these guys would do something like this’ 15
- Report: Dan Hamhuis’ injury is significant, but not season-ending 5
- Been there, done that: Oilers lose five straight for second time this season 10
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ 86
- Video: Prout drops Lucic with one punch 43
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (86)
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (82)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (78)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)