Being the top point man on the Dallas Stars gives Brad Richards a tough job of having to do his part in keeping the tough, but young, Stars afloat in the tough Western Conference. With Richards in the final year of his contract, he’s focused on doing what he can to show that he continues to be one of the NHL’s top playmakers and point producers.
Unfortunately, with the Dallas Stars ownership situation hanging in limbo and the team unable to make any major financial moves (like a contract extension for example) Richards is a prime suspect for trade rumors and speculation. With the Stars playing in Toronto tonight, talk picked up about Leafs fans daydreaming of having Richards centering Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg and how well those three could work out.
Sure, it’s a pipe dream for now, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie says that trade talk to Toronto and elsewhere might get fired up again in the future if things in Dallas’ front office don’t get straightened up.
And there’s no question the Maple Leafs will be knocking on that door in a big way. But so will the centre-starved New York Rangers and the Blueshirts’ trump card could be that Richards loved playing for coach John Tortorella during their halcyon days in Tampa.
So even if Richards does move, and smart money is he will be on the move at some point, it will be a lot closer to Feb. 28 than now and the Leafs will have plenty of competition.
There’s a lot of “what if” type of talk to this and there’s obviously nothing at all imminent or even likely going on with Dallas regarding Richards in either trade talk or contract discussions. For Dallas fans, they’re not at all excited about the possibility of moving Richards as he’s proven to be Dallas’ top player since arriving from Tampa Bay in the 2007-2008 season.
This year, Richards is Dallas’ top scorer again after being their top man last year by 20 points over Loui Eriksson. It’s safe to say that if the Stars don’t have Richards, they become a woefully inept offensive team and that if a team were interested in making a deal for him it’d have to be a whopper. But if the ownership situation doesn’t improve in Dallas, GM Joe Nieuwendyk would lose trade leverage later in the year when the Stars might have to make a really hard decision whether or not to keep Richards in the fold or risk losing him for nothing.