As we've been speculating all season long the Dallas Stars held on to Brad Richards at the trade deadline, choosing to keep the best player on the team for the remainder of the season -- and hopefully beyond. While trading Richards was always a possibility, as the deadline neared it became increasingly apparent that the Stars would only take a significant return in order to contemplate making a trade.
While the rumors spread throughout the day that the New York Rangers were working hard to land the Stars' center, it appeared to be nothing more than the Rangers fighting hard for Richards and the Stars only listening -- and never seriously considering. Based upon the trades made today, the market was extremely high for any significant player and while Richards would only be a rental the Rangers would never be able to afford the minimum of what the Stars would be willing to accept.
At the end of the day, all we know is that Joe Nieuwendyk and the Stars never approached Brad Richards about any possible trade and he was never asked to waive his NTC for any team -- nor was he asked for a list of teams. For now, Richards is focused on recuperating from a concussion and working on returning to the ice for the Stars sometime soon, which appears would happen no earlier than next week.
What was interesting to see was the media across the nation adamant that the Stars would absolutely have to trade Richards, based on the fact that he is sure to leave via free agency this summer. Despite many believing there is zero chance the team is sold a contract signed before July 1, the fact is that Nieuwendyk would not take this risk if he felt it was not worth the gamble that he could sign Richards sometime over the next four months. While the media will certainly question the motives of holding onto Richards, the simple fact is that Nieuwendyk never wanted to trade him and was never given an offer that made him even consider any such deal.
For now, the Stars will be attempting to fight through the mess of the Western Conference and claw their way into the playoffs. The Stars made no other trades on Monday and with Richards and Nicklas Grossman ready to return (hopefully) sometime soon, the Stars should be getting healthy and back on track right as the toughest part of the season begins.
The Stars will take on the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow night at 8 p.m. CST in Glendale, Arizona, kicking off a four-game Western Conference road trip. This four games are incredibly important for the course of this season, and every game after that will only become more important as the playoffs draw near. Go Stars!!