Brad Richards' career as a member of the Dallas Stars is over. TSN is reporting that, thanks to ownership uncertainty that's plagued the team for months now, the Stars will be unable to offer Richards the hefty contract that he surely covets and deserves this free agency year.
He'll be a free agent on July 1, available to any team that can afford him. The reports also states that the Stars could trade his rights to a team before July 1, which would allow them to get something other than an empty return for him. But since Richards holds a no-trade clause, that ball is totally in his court.
The Stars opted not to trade Richards at the trade deadline this past year because they were in a tight race in the Western Conference playoff picture. As it turned out, they missed the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, with their fate in their own hands.
That decision by general manager Joe Nieuwendyk wasn't scolded by fans at SB Nation's Defending Big D:
We'll have much more commentary on this and, if warranted, a look back at Richards' time in Dallas and the decision to keep him in the midst of a playoff race as Joe Nieuwendyk did. For now we'll simply thank GM Joe for seeing the season through to the end, believing in his guys, and at least keeping the door open to the possibility of re-signing him in the face of uncertainty.
Where Richards will end up is yet to be seen, but we do know it won't be in Dallas. Let the rumors begin.