Reading the different stories on the current so called asking price for Brad Richards, even I couldn't help but smile a little at how steep a price that is. However it did get me thinking about how much I would love to have Marc Staal on this team. So, looking down the Stars' lineup my eyes immediately went to Mike Ribeiro's name. I was a bit surprised to find out that despite his (and the whole team's) lack of production for the majority of this skid he's on pace for an 81 point season which is nothing to sneeze at by any means. If the Rangers are looking for a good playmaking center with playoff experience, amazing skating ability, and the capacity to freeze opposing defenses with slick puck handling, Mike Ribeiro would be a good pick up for them. The last time the Stars went to the playoffs Ribeiro had a team leading 17 points in 18 games so that would be very valuable for a post season run by the Rangers. On top of that Ribeiro wouldn't only be a rental; while the Rangers could and definitely would try to sign Richards at the end of the season, Ribeiro has two years left on his contract which would mean a safer deadline deal. That being said I'm not sure if the Rangers would be willing to part ways with Staal for Ribeiro so it would be more likely that any deal involving the Rangers and Ribeiro would probably involve Dan Girardi and a pick. And even that doesn't seem very plausible.
Now to the important part of this post. The Stars just freed up about 2.5M of cap space with the recent deal Joe struck with the Penguins and Ribby makes 5M a year. If you do the math that's 7.5M of cap space freed up for other contracts. Richards has been making 7.8M for the last few years and I'm assuming Joe could find 300,000 to at least match Richards' current salary for the first year of a potential new contract with more money coming in later years when ownership will be settled. Since Brad has already stated multiple times that his first choice would be to stay in Big D, I'm willing to bet he'd take the same salary for a couple years until Joe's hands are untied. In my version of the perfect world Richie would even be willing to take a pay cut a-la Joe Thornton, at least for the first year or two of a new contract.
So even if the two possible trades with the Rangers I mentioned above don't happen (they probably wouldn't), trading Mike Ribeiro could score a couple good players or a combination of a good player and a prospect/pick; but more importantly, it would score the biggest fish heading into the deadline: Brad "Obi-Wan" Richards