Vancouver hotel and restaurant magnate Tom Gaglardi is reportedly out of his exclusive negotiating window in the sale of the Dallas Stars saga, but still figures as the likely candidate to rescue the Dallas Stars from ownership distress according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Gaglardi remains in talks to try and work towards a purchase of the financially addled hockey team, although, finalizing the documents that would ensure a mutually viable transfer seem to be stalling the process.

Heika on the status of the Stars sale:

Gaglardi entered his 30-day exclusive window in late April, and the lenders and the NHL extended that window once, but they declined to do it a second time. However, for the purposes of the process, Gaglardi still is miles ahead of any other potential bidder. What the lenders, the NHL and the Stars would like is an official “signed purchase agreement,” that they can use either as the starting point in an auction or as a document that will be taken to a pre-packaged bankruptcy hearing.

Gaining Gaglardi’s signature isn’t so simple as it sounds with the varying interests of all parties involved at play:

Getting that purchase agreement is complicated for many reasons. On one hand, the bidder wants to put forth a price that will win him the team and that will hopefully not send the bidding process into an auction. But, he also doesn’t want a bid so high that it’s a bad deal. The lenders, meanwhile, want to agree to a price that would not be disappointing if it’s the sale price of the team. While the lenders are hoping for an auction, if they sign a purchase agreement, there is the chance nobody bids over that original price.

And that’s one of the reasons this is taking so long.

Heika confirmed on Friday that Chuck Greenberg, a player in the Nolan Ryan party that purchased the Texas Rangers last year, has been approved to enter the picture as a potential buyer. Greenberg joined three other ownership groups that could hypothetically outbid Gaglardi if the process went into an auction. Of note, one group is headed up by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Irving oil and gas businessman William “Billy” Quinn.

The Dallas Stars’ value was pegged at $230 million by Forbes Magazine as recent as June 17, with arena debt and team debt driving the total up roughly $120 million from a previous estimate.

With five potential ownership groups kicking the tires on the Stars, it goes without saying that this sale situation is far different from the mess we’ve seen in Atlanta and Phoenix (albeit two different animals themselves). With bankruptcy hearings looming and problems like deferred player compensation still saddling the franchise it’s certainly a messy property in Dallas. However, the addition of another interested party and the optimism still surrounding Gaglardi are good signs for the team and its fans.

Forward progress is imminent. Then Joe Nieuwendyk and co. can really begin to put the pieces of this franchise back together.