Now that it’s all (mostly) said and done, Brad Richards is still a member of the Dallas Stars. Whether it’s because his health may be a concern, because the asking price was too high or because the Dallas Stars are still in the playoff race, Richards will play in big D until at least the end of the season.
The Los Angeles Kings were rumoured to be pushing hard for Richards, but the fact that the Kings are a division rival made that deal a difficult one.
Whether or not Dallas can (or wants to) re-sign Richards this summer remains to be seen, but not moving Richards is a sign that Joe Nieuwendyk feels that Dallas can still make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup this year. Postseason success would go a long way to help the Stars attendance issues and make the team more attractive to ownership (whoever that may be.)
Keeping Richards is a good move for Dallas.
But Richards wasn’t the only rumoured name to stay put today.
John-Michael Liles was the subject of much speculation leading up to today, but it looks like the Colorado Avalanche have decided to keep Liles as part of the fold. He has one more year on his contract and carries a $4.2 million cap hit. Adam Foote and Milan Hejduk are still Avs as well, despite some rumours saying otherwise.
The Edmonton Oilers traded Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings, but they held on to both Ladislav Smid and Ales Hemsky. Clarke MacArthur is still a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs as well. A lot of players who looked like they would be moving stayed with their teams when it was all said and done.
From what it sounds like, the asking price for many of these players was apparently very high. Were other GMs hesitant to give up the kind of assets that were being asked, or was this a case of teams simply not ready to sell the farm?
Even the Oilers, who sit at the bottom of the NHL standings, don’t seem to be willing to dump every contract possible in order to build for the future. Draft picks and prospects may be valuable, but when you’re dealing with trading a known commodity, it’s a difficult risk. Many general managers were seemingly unwilling to trade for unknown or unproven talent.
While it made for a boring deadline day from a viewer’s perspective, it’s somewhat comforting to see struggling teams hold on to their assets rather than selling them off to the highest bidder. There’s always something slightly disturbing about watching some teams be ripped apart each February while the rich get richer.
The NHL this season is incredibly competitive and the standings are very tight. When most teams feel that they can be competitive (or that they’re only a few piece away from being competitive) they’re less likely to trade away their skilled players at the deadline.