After all that conjecture, Brad Richards will remain a member of the Dallas Stars. Well, he’ll be part of the team during the rest of the 2010-11 season, at least.
Obviously, this non-move unleashes a host of questions from both long-term and short-term perspectives. Will Richards be able to return from his concussion issues to help the Stars make sure they make the playoffs? Can the team make a legitimate playoff run and find a new owner to entice him to stay? Or will he bolt for New York, Toronto or some other sexy location?
While many have been negative regarding the lack of a trade, there are two things that must be noted. One is fairly obvious: it’s not outrageous to suggest that the Stars might be able to figure things out by July and retain Richards. If not, there’s one possibility that people overlook: what if the Stars did a sign-and-trade deal? Sure, they probably wouldn’t get the same kind of haul that they would during the deadline, but that option would allow the team to make a crucial playoff run to draw back fans and then get at least something back. After all, a team like the Rangers or Maple Leafs might pay a moderate premium to avoid an auction for Richards.
In an ideal world, the Stars would find new owners and Richards would play without a concussive fog, leaving everyone in a position of strength going into the summer. Reality is likely to complicate matters, so we’ll be there to highlight the bumps in the road and the silver linings alike.