The "Oh No" Moment - Brad Richards Will Not Return
Somehow, we just knew this day was coming.
Quite simply, the Dallas Stars' ownership situation is in such a mess that they will be unable to tender an contract offer to pending unrestricted free agent forward Brad Richards. With this news, we can say that in hindsight, the Richards trade did just about nothing for the Stars. The only thing that Stars' General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk can hope for now is a draft-day deal that could give a team the rights to speak to Richards right away. They might need it.
In a report by Mitch Gallo of the TEAM 990 in Montreal, analyst Pierre McGuire would be "shocked" if Brad Richards does not sign with the New York Rangers. Knowing Rangers GM Glen Sather's aptitude to overpaying for big free agent names, this may turn out to be a very viable option for Nieuwendyk and the Stars to exploit. If the Stars were to deal Richards' rights away, I have a feeling that the Stars should look for a valuable player who is ready to play now.
The Texas Stars have quite a few prospect players that can carry the torch at forward for the parent club. Look no further than two-way forward Tomas Vincour, or a developing scorer in Aaron Gagnon.
The issue now is that the Stars are going to be without a gigantic source of offense. In his three and some change seasons with the Stars, Richards posted 70 goals and 157 assists for 227 points. In essence, 1.03 points per game. That's a fairly significant source of offense going right out the door and not being replaced. The Stars need an asset that can play now, or their upcoming season will be an extremely painful one for Stars faithful.
With Richards gone, the Stars' powerplay also loses 29 powerplay points (7 goals, 22 assists). That's right, 37.7% of Richards' point production last season came straight from the man advantage.
This loss is monumental. The "Oh No" moment might not describe it enough.
The coaching search is on in Big D. Kirk Muller seems to be the prime candidate. Whoever comes in to coach this squad may have to work a much more defensive game without Richards in the fold and James Neal out in Pittsburgh. All eyes now shift to Jamie Benn to see just how much of the offensive load he can shoulder.
I think all of us just don't want another Ilya Kovalchuk situation. Can we at least hope he signs somewhere fast?
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