Thursday, June 2, 2011
Stars, Brad Richards parting ways
By Mark Stepneski
The Dallas Stars will not make any further contract offers to center Brad Richards, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Richards has said that he would be unlikely to sign with the Stars until the team's ownership situation was resolved, and at this point that issue will not be settled until after free agency opens on July 1.
"There's really not any point because we know that he is not going to sign without an owner," said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, addressing a report by TSN that no offer would be made to Richards.
"We made a very serious attempt to get Brad signed prior to the trade deadline. We made a long-term contract proposal and it was rejected."
Richards told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that he was excited at having his first opportunity as an unrestricted free agent.
"Obviously I have to move on," Richards said. "I had fun in Dallas and I like the city. But the (ownership) situation is unclear so I really didn't have a chance to stay there. I will move on and look forward to the opportunity to being a free agent. I've never had that chance in my career. It's a real big moment in my life to say the least."
The Stars will now look to trade Richards' rights before free agency.
"We'll need Brad's permission to do that," said Nieuwendyk, referring to Richards' no-trade clause.
NHL sources told ESPN.com a few NHL teams have already inquired about Richards.
"It would be great to try and help Dallas out if something was reasonable and made sense for both sides," said Richards. "But we'll see what happens. You never know what will happen. I think my mindset right now is to see how many options I have."
Losing Richards will leave a big gap in the Stars' forward group. He led the team in scoring this past season and is one of the league's top playmakers.
"It's too early to tell [how we'll replace his offense]. Obviously he's a high-point guy," said Nieuwendyk. "We'll have to see what our team looks like once we put some pieces into it."
Options for filling the gap could come through free agency or trades. Nieuwendyk still doesn't have a budget for next season, but interim president Tony Tavares said a budget is expected to be in place later this month.
Mark Stepneski covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun contributed to this report.