[Update by Brandon Worley: Some quotes from Richards and Nieuwendyk after the jump.]
My initial knee jerk reaction to the title of this post would be to say: "Because it just is!", but I'm being told I need to be more through in my explanation than that, so here goes...
The Stars are in Ontario the next few nights to play the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators and of course since the hockey media in the so-called "middle of the hockey universe" can only write so many times about how somehow disappointing Leafs GM Brian Burke has been, they need new fodder to spend the next few days needlessly pounding into the heads of hockey fans desperate for any glimmer of hope for their team that hasn't seen a Stanley Cup championship since 1967. Cue rumor-monger and Eklund wannabe Bruce Garrioch with a typical Garriochian article where he throws out the idea that Toronto or the New York Rangers would be two teams first in line to acquire Brad Richards if (or if you're Garrioch "when") the Stars decided to trade him.
Stars fans are well versed in this story already. Stars ownership issues, Richards is a big ticket guy, might not be able to afford, yadda yadda and yadda. The possibility that at some point this season, Joe Nieuwendyk could pull the trigger on a trade sending Richards out of Dallas is very real and at this rate I'd say we're looking at about a 50-50 chance that it happens rather than him staying and signing a new deal with the Stars.
And that's being positive. If we're being realistic here, then yeah it's probably more like 60-40 that he gets traded. But to speculate right now that he'll be moved now near the end of November is, well it's stupid.
To his credit, Scott Lewis from The Score threw a little bit of cold water on the idea with some much needed reality pointing out that it's not like the Leafs have a bunch of stuff to offer in return for Richards:
He'd make for a great rental player on a contender that can afford to ship some prospects the other way - but he'd be a risky proposition for a club like Toronto that's light on blue chip prospects.
Then there is much more well respected hockey writer Mark Spector hitting Leafs fans (and maybe media alike) with even more reality on Twitter:
Just wondering: What are the Leafs giving up for Brad Richards? Pending UFA Kaberle? Draft picks? Oh yeah...
So yeah, stupid to talk about it now, stupid for Leafs fans to think their team could pull it off, and just stupid overall. But I suppose this is what we get for having our team play in Toronto on a Monday. Maybe we should just be thankful no one in the hockey media here in Canada has written about how the Stars with ownership, cash-strapped and falling attendance issues may be moved to Hamilton, Winnipeg or Moncton...
After the jump, Mike Heika has some quotes from Brad Richards and Joe Nieuwendyk on all the trade talk coming from Toronto.
With the Stars in Toronto for the game tonight, the team was able to feel the full force of the media frenzy that exists north of the border. The focus -- for some reason -- was on the possibility of Brad Richards being traded by the Stars at the deadline and whether that trade destination might be to Toronto.
Forgetting the fact that Toronto has absolutely nothing to offer in terms of a trade for a top ten talent, there were still a number of questions on Richards' future with the Stars. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News has a few quotes from Richards and G.M. Joe Nieuwendyk:
``I'm not going to lie to you, the situation is what it is,'' Richards said when talking to the media in Toronto this morning. ``It's not something that isn't talked about, and it's not something that Joe and I haven't talked about. We know a trade's not ideal for this time being ... but obviously, we're open and talking about it and giving the chance for ownership to come in. But I'm a Dallas Star, and that's where my focus is right now."
``For my part, I have tried to keep open communication with Richy,'' Nieuwendyk said. ``I know he likes it here, I know he likes playing with the young wingers he has, and I know he likes the core we have and he wants to build on a winner. And I also know that he understands the situation and where we are financially, and he understands we have to be patient.''
Heika would go on to discuss how the team is in constant communication with the lenders and the NHL and Nieuwendyk hints that if the lenders do decided to hold onto the team into next summer, there's a plan in place to possibly attempt to go ahead and work out a deal with Brad Richards -- new owner or not.
He also says we're looking at possibly 7 years at about $7M a year, which I think is certainly reasonable for a top ten offensive player in the NHL.
Brad Richards, every time he is asked about the situation and whether he'll be traded, obviously has no idea what's going to happen. Yet the sense you get is that Dallas is the team he wants to play for; he has a home here in Dallas, he is comfortable with his role on the team and he knows that Dallas has a very talented, young nucleus that's the Stars are building around.
However, this is the second time he's been in this situation of possibly being traded because of ownership and financial issues surrounding the team. You have to know he's frustrated.
But if you really listen to what Richards and Nieuwendyk are saying (and Heika has a number of quotes from both on his post) then you get the feeling that unless the Stars are sitting rock bottom in the NHL, the Stars are going to hold onto their star player with the hope of being able to re-sign him before July 1. With Richards being a pending UFA -- and a very, very expensive one at that -- the Stars are not going to get the King's ransom that fans would want and certainly won't get the sort of return that can boost a team that is in a bit of a rebuilding mode.
Here's the key that people forget: Richards has a no-trade clause. He won't go to just any team.
Combine that fact, and that Nieuwendyk won't just arbitrarily trade him for a bag of pucks, then a trade involving Richards at any point -- no matter what the financial situation is -- is still far from a certainty at this point.