Monday, February 28, 2011
Thoughts on Brad Richards and the deadline
By Mark Stepneski
Despite all the rumors and speculation, Brad Richards didn’t go anywhere before the NHL trade deadline. Surprised? Not really. On board with how it all played out? I’m OK with it.
Let’s face it, some not so likely things had to fall into place for Richards to get moved before Monday’s deadline. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who didn’t appear keen on moving his No. 1 center in the first place, was going to have a great offer sitting in front of him to move forward on the trade front.
And, if he could find some team willing to make that offer, all Nieuwendyk could do was go to Richards and ask him if he was interested in waiving his no-trade clause. And then there was no guarantee that Richards, who seems to be happy where he is right now, was going to do that.
In other words, when you look at all the variables involved a deal seemed unlikely. That would have still have been the case even if Nieuwendyk had been willing to take less in a deal because there was still the hurdle of Richards agreeing to waive the no-trade clause.
All that said, I am still on board with keeping Richards regardless of the difficulty factor in moving him. I am more of a let’s deal with today and worry about tomorrow when it rolls around kind of guy. Focus on getting into the playoffs now and worry about Richards and his looming unrestricted free agency later.
There’s not much Nieuwendyk can do about Richards and any kind of contract extension right now because of the unresolved ownership situation. Richards made it clear today that he’d wants to know who the new owner is before he puts his name on any long-term deal.
There was something Nieuwendyk could do about improving this team’s playoff chances, and that meant keeping Richards. The Stars, who have missed the postseason two straight years, are in the middle of a tight playoff race and Richards is their top scorer and their best forward. He’s a big game player, the kind of guy they are going to need down the stretch. Chances are they wouldn’t get that in a deal, especially if it was a move to get something so you don’t lose him for nothing.
“I was not of the mindset that I should take what I could get,” Nieuwendyk said. “That’s not what this is about. I believe in this group. I’m about winning right now and making the playoffs. That’s very much an important thing for this franchise and Brad Richards gives us our best chance of doing that.”
And that’s where we are.
Are the Stars going to make the playoffs? Don’t know. Look at the standings. It’s pretty tight and there are a lot of good, competitive teams battling for a limited number of spots.
Are the Stars going to be able to re-sign Richards? Don’t know. The ownership issue is still up in the air and who knows when it will get resolved.
But keeping Richards to enhance his team's playoff chances and buy a few extra months to see if the ownership issue gets resolved seemed like the better option for Nieuwendyk.