Welcome back to “The Buzz Between the Boards.” Sadly it has been a while since this great sight has seen a weekly post from TBBtB. That is might own fault, but don’t worry you can expect it again on Saturday. For any new readers or anyone that has maybe forgotten what I like discuss here, TBBtB is a look at trade, rumors, free agents, and other things along those lines on every Saturday. So let’s jump right into one of the constant trade rumor and possible player moves that has been talked about often over the last month.
Brad Richards is a highly talented center and powerplay leader that I have had the joy of watching regularly over the last couple of seasons here in Dallas (for those who don’t know, I cover the Stars for Fansided at BlackoutDallas.com). He is still in his prime years at the age of 30, and of course won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. So he is a player who had success and playoff success early in his career. After the 2006 playoffs, Brad got himself a pretty nice 5-year contract from Tampa for $39 million. Then just before the 2008 trade deadline, the Dallas Stars made a blockbuster move by sending young goalie Mike Smith, along with Jeff Halpern and Jussi Jokinen to the Lightning and getting the star center. Brad immediately impressed with five assists in his first game for the Stars. 2009 was a year of injuries for the Stars and for Brad. Despite a rough and bad year in 09-10 for the Stars, Richards was the shinning light on the team with 91 points and finishing 7th in the league in points.
So now Brad looks to have bounced back and is playing like one of the top players in the league ( 22 points in 15 games this season). But his contract is up after the current season and the Stars issues with ownership and money have created a tough situation all the way around. Richards is definitely wanted in Dallas, especially after the turn over of the team to its youth this last summer as Modano and Turco were not brought back. He leads what can be an impressive offensive unit with young studs Loui Eriksson, James Neal, and Jamie Benn coming up over the last two seasons to all be offensive weapons that are producing while still developing. He is an assistant captain on the team and part of what little leadership the Stars seem to have right now. But the Stars are currently up for sale and until new ownership comes in the Stars are under a self-imposed cap as close to $45 million as possible. While the Stars could try to sign him for $7 million or at what he is at right now for a new contract, they can’t make such a deal with the uncertainty about if new ownership would want to pay for and get behind such a deal. To me it makes more sense that new ownership would want a superstar like Brad here, sometimes such is not the case. Richards has said that he is waiting on the sale, and is not in a rush. He seems willing to stay in Dallas and continue to be a leader and star on this team as it develops. But at this point everyone here is just waiting to see what happens.
Now enter the rest of the hockey world. Richards is going to be a free agent if he does not sign a new deal, and rumors have begun to swirl that Dallas could try to move him if it gets close to the deadline and something has not been changed. While understandable, it is hard to consider Dallas just shipping out Richards if they want him here and he seems to be giving off the idea that he would like to stay here. Toronto is full of rumors and speculation. Teams like St. Louis, New York (both), and a few others have all been talked about as teams that might want him either in a trade or next summer. If the Stars get close to the deadline, and there is no sign of new ownership and a longterm being done, then they may have to consider it. But it is not inconceivable that the Stars just sit and see what happens. He could be this year’s Kovalchuk, and Richards has a strong playoff history that might make him even more valuable to teams trying to make a push for the Cup. But the vibe so far from the Stars is that they do not want to move him at all. We will see as the season progresses if anything changes.
For Dallas Stars news and talk, you can always find me at BlackoutDallas.com and find me on Twitter.com/Blackoutdallas. And for those who have Iphones or Android phones, you should be on the lookout for Fansided and Fansided team apps. Search for your favorite team or blog, or look for the Fansided network app that allows you to check in and read anything across the network.