I'll be honest with you. I wanted to write the headline "Speculation on trading of Brad Richards rights continues despite complete lack of evidence," but I thought it was a bit too long. The fact is that the Dallas Stars have already asked Richards and his agent once to waive the no trade clause and they said no. That's about the only fact there is, and it joins logical reasoning that Richards will not waive his no trade clause and will listen to multiple offers on July 1st as the only reasonable places to start such a conversation.
That won't stop the media. No, sir.
Joe Nieuwendyk's popularity in Boston after the General Manager meeting yesterday had less to do with his role in revising the head-shot rules and more to do with his potential trading of Brad Richards (rights), naturally. Of all the sites that have quoted that session, none offer a compelling argument for their headlines, which include...
USA TODAY: "Stars expected to trade Brad Richards' rights soon"
"I have had discussions with teams," said Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "It's our intentions as well to move those rights along and we are working toward that." [USA TODAY]
Nowhere in this piece does it explain the rationale for claiming it's expected to happen soon.
Sporting News: "GM Nieuwendyk: Dallas Stars work toward Brad Richards trade"
Richards has a no-trade clause but has been working closely with the Stars to find a destination that works. Richards prefers a contending team with stable ownership, which is the main reason he's not signing in Dallas.[Sporting News]
Interesting if true.
Word from the Dallas side of things remains appropriately skeptical of a waiving of that no-trade clause. Mike Heika painted it thusly yesterday...
The Rangers, Maple Leafs and Kings already have space. Teams like Buffalo and Columbus could express interest on July 1 and be able to move quickly. So it's best for Richards to go to July 1 and leave all of his options open. If he were to waive the no-trade clause and go to say the Rangers, what would happen if he couldn't get a contract done? Would that take the Rangers out of the bidding and reduce his ability to have the best auction on July 1? [DMN]
So while the hockey world continues to salivate, wanting to flip the last chapter of this metaphorical book to see what happened at the end, those a little more "in the know" remain skeptical.
None of this is to say that Stars fans wouldn't welcome an extra draft pick here or there if a willing partner were found AND approved Brad, just that we find it a little on the unlikely side. You might hope, as a courtesy, that Brad Richards would try to do at least as much as make sure a bag of puck comes back in exchange for his departure, and he may feel a desire to do as much personally, but as a decision that will affect the rest of his career and life he must do the right thing, and that means waiting for July and the ensuing auction.
Still, one can't help but wonder about the old "if there's smoke, there's fire" theory. Nieuwendyk was evidently turned down once already by Morris and Richards, but minced no words yesterday in saying that he is still actively shopping his [Richards'] rights.
A disconnect in mentality or some kind of mixed signals is evident, either from the Richards camp to the Stars, or from the Stars to everyone else. Only time will tell. Three weeks to go...