Brad Richards: 'Still kind of hesitant'

Dallas Stars center Brad Richards said he'll be patient now that the season is over and he mulls the possibility of becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I'll talk with my family and start figuring it out," Richards said as he cleaned out his locker. "It's a little too early to kind of process. I have lots of time. There's no deadline until obviously July. Lots of time to sit down and ponder what's going to happen."

Richards played 72 games this season and ranked 10th in the NHL with 77 points. He led the Stars with 28 goals on 272 shots, and he was second on the team with 49 assists. He missed 10 games during the second half of the season with concussion-like symptoms.

Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk has said that he would like to re-sign Richards if the price is right, but Richards is hesitant with the team's ownership situation still unresolved.

"There's been a little chatter, but it's always come back to if I am going to sign and there's no ownership, I am still kind of hesitant," said Richards, who made $7.8 million this past season. "And there may not be ownership by the time I have to make a decision.

"Right now, there's no rush. There's nothing that's pressing me. I am going to try to see what happens. If there is no change, it doesn't mean I am leaving. I'll have to make a different type of decision at that time. Right now it doesn't look like it's going to be in place but, like I said, there's no deadline right now, so I can sit back. I am sure I will talk with Joe here in the next day or two and get a better idea. Then we'll wait and see."

The Stars also fired coach Marc Crawford on Tuesday after the team struggled during the second half and failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

In March, The Hockey News reported that the Stars have lost between $26 million and $28 million over the past 12 months. Sources also told the publication that the Stars have used advances from television and revenue sharing to pay operating expenses as a new owner to replace Tom Hicks is found.

"We had discussions with Brad right up to the trade deadline and after," Nieuwendyk said. "I think things got quiet, obviously, with him trying to get back playing. Our position hasn't changed. We like Brad. I think when I look at the three years of work he's done with the Dallas Stars, it's pretty impressive.

"He's an important player on our team. Our position hasn't changed at all. Obviously, it has to make sense for Brad and it also has to make sense for us as well going forward."

Mark Stepneski covers the Dallas Stars for ESPNDallas.com.