While there probably won’t be an hour long “Decision” special on ESPN this summer, Brad Richards figures to be a heavily sought after unrestricted free agent
when if he elects to test the market. The play making centre is coming off of another great season in Texas, albeit one that was shortened by injury, but his deal is set to expire in advance of July 1. Richards spoke candidly about the Dallas Stars current ownership issues as a potential deterrent in him re-signing with the team.
“There’s been a little chatter, but it’s always come back to if I am going to sign and there’s no ownership, I am still kind of hesitant,” said Richards, who made $7.8 million this past season. “And there may not be ownership by the time I have to make a decision.”
If Richards ends up walking away and signs elsewhere, the decision to hang onto him at the trade deadline will likely come under some fire. To be fair, the Stars were in the hunt for the playoffs up until the dying moments of Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild – it’s not as though they kept him while sitting 12 points out in the West.
Even with the ownership uncertainty hovering above the Stars franchise, Richards hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-upping in Dallas – and he’s in no rush to make a decision:
“Right now, there’s no rush. There’s nothing that’s pressing me. I am going to try to see what happens. If there is no change, it doesn’t mean I am leaving. I’ll have to make a different type of decision at that time. Right now it doesn’t look like it’s going to be in place but, like I said, there’s no deadline right now, so I can sit back. I am sure I will talk with Joe here in the next day or two and get a better idea. Then we’ll wait and see.”
The bidding war for Richards if he elects for free agency could drive his price tag out of Dallas’ range, but they’ll have a ton of cap space to play with if re-signing him is a priority. Joe Nieuwendyk will have his hands full working to convince Richards that Dallas can continue to compete in order to lockup his services. Working in the Stars favour is the chemistry that Richards have found with linemate Loui Eriksson, something that will no doubt enter his decision making process when mulling his options in the coming months.