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2011 NHL Trade Deadline: Brad Richards Skates, Getting Healthier

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One of the big sticking points headed into the deadline was the health of Brad Richards, as he has missed seven games with a concussion and teams were likely unwilling to make a signficant trade if his health was a risk. This past weekend, however, we've learned that Richards has indeed started skating on his own and skated for three days in a row without suffering any setbacks.

This morning, Richards skated for about 45 minutes on his own and reportedly looked good out on the ice. He's getting more and more comfortable and if he is able to continue to exert himself on a daily basis without having a setback then it's likely he's getting closer to return to actual game action. The fact that he hasn't gone through a team practice, however, says that he is still about a week from getting into a game -- but who knows with a concussion.

So how does this affect any trades? The Stars are much more likely to get their "astronomical" asking price if Richards is healthy and if he's getting better then I'd bet Nieuwendyk might even raise the price he'd want in any trade. Would the Rangers be more willing to make a trade if he's close to returning? We shall find out...