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2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Brad Richards Asking Price Too High?

[UPDATE:] According to Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports, Joe Nieuwendyk has denied discussing any specific players with the Rangers. Take that for what it's worth, but Nieuwendyk plays everything very close to the vest and likely won't confirm this rumored asking price even if it were true. The rollercoaster continues.... [END UPDATE]

Some interesting news this morning from the New York media -- specifically Larry Brooks of the New York Post -- as we've supposedly learned just what Joe Nieuwendyk might be looking for in return for trading Brad Richards. Nieuwendyk stated yesterday that while he not "shopping" Richards and says the first priority is to keep him long-term, he still has to weigh all his options and if the right deal does come along then he'd have to consider a trade.

What is really interesting is just what Nieuwendyk might have asked Rangers GM Glen Sather for when talking on the phone on Tuesday. According to Brooks:

The Post has learned Nieuwendyk told Rangers GM Glen Sather on Tuesday that it would cost the Blueshirts three young studs off the roster, believed to be Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan, for the privilege of renting Brad Richards.

I know we all love Brad Richards, but if the Rangers even contemplated making such a deal then I would fly to Dallas and pack Richards myself. While Richards is certainly a great center, being able to get Staal, Dubinsky AND Stepan would be the coup of the century and set the Stars up for many, many years to come. While Sather has certainly made his share of mistakes, I don't doubt for a second he had a hearty laugh at this request before politely asking, "Seriously, what would it take? Oh, you are serious. Call me when you're sane."

If this is true and this is what Nieuwendyk is seriously asking for in a trade, then it's obvious that he wants Richards in Dallas and only a trade of astronomical proportions will change his mind. We also have to remember that Richards has full control over who he is willing to be traded to, and according to Richards' agent the Stars have yet to ask for a list of teams for which he would be willing to waive his NTC. 

So right now, we have Nieuwendyk certainly open to hearing offers and only willing to trade Richards for a "king's ransom". If this story is true and this is indeed the asking price for a rental center that is currently suffering from a concussion -- then Richards will remain a Dallas Star after Monday.

The reaction, especially in New York, is one of complete incredulity. They want Richards very, very badly and they seem to think that the Stars should just accept whatever offer the Rangers make and be happy with it, since it's a foregone conclusion they're going to lose him anyways. That Neal was traded only fuels this speculation, because apparently Richards could never play hockey again in Dallas without his buddy Neal on the ice. It's almost as if they're insulted that the Stars would have a high asking price -- despite Nieuwendyk saying so for months now.

More reaction from the media after the jump.

The common theme in the media regarding this whole trade has been that the Stars are going to lose Richards this summer anyway, so why not just trade him now? At least get something for him, before the inevitable happens and he leaves anyway.

Here's this bold statement from Business Insider:

Dallas is going to lose Richards via free agency, so if the Stars want to get anything back for him before they lose Richards for nothing, they'd better get serious and make some realistic offers.

As a Stars fan, I'd saying getting Dubinsky, Staal and Stepan is a realistic offer. Of course, I'm biased.

We've said this many, many times but while the chances of losing Richards this summer is very, very high -- it's far from a certainty. The Stars are supposedly closer to a new owner now than they have been in quite some time. You'd also think that Nieuwendyk, who won't say a thing about it anyways, has some sort of idea about what the ownership situation looks like.

We all know that Richards won't sign unless ownership is in place and if Nieuwendyk is willing to take this risk then perhaps there's a good reason he thinks it's worth it. There's also the very real possibility that the Stars hold onto Richards for a hopeful playoff run, the if unable to sign him this summer they trade him before free agency for whatever they can get. 

Brooks of the NY Post makes the point that the Rangers would want to have some sort of agreement in place on a contract before making any trade:

But seriously, folks: The Rangers, who have no further information to share on Marian Gaborik, their own concussed star, are extremely interested in acquiring Richards, but ideally not as a rental.

Before striking a deal, the Blueshirts, who face the Capitals tomorrow night, would want permission to speak to Morris about a contract extension for the 30-year-old center who won the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy playing for John Tortorella's Stanley Cup-winning Lightning, and who has maintained an outstanding relationship with the coach.

He also goes on to make some sort of ridiculous claim that Nieuwendyk fielding offers has upset or "annoyed" Richards; at least, I think that's what he says because the wording is so horrible.

Richards could direct Dallas to deal only with the Rangers by informing Nieuwendyk, who said yesterday on NHL Live that he has talked to six clubs about Richards' availability. That admission he would not waive his no-move to go to any other team is believed to have annoyed the low-key center.

Puck Daddy is also incredulous at the asking price by Nieuwendyk, stating a number of reasons why this information is out there:

To summarize: That's the Rangers' leader in ice time, leading scorer and top rookie forward going for a rental that the Rangers can sign without giving up a player in July.

Now, this news could have been leaked for many reasons. As a public flogging of Nieuwendyk for his asking price. As a way for the Stars to set the price for all the teams, or for the Rangers to scare away other suitors by leaking an exaggerated version of it.

I will say one thing for certain: the Dallas Stars did not leak this information. They don't leak any information.

The national reaction to the news is, of course, to laugh at Nieuwendyk for even asking for this return in exchange for a concussed rental forward. What they need to remember is that Nieuwendyk has consistently said that it would take one heck of a deal to make him change his mind in keeping Richards, one that would knock him off his chair and force him to move the forward he's intent on keeping long-term.

Well, folks, there's your asking price. Take it, or leave it.