Joe Nieuwendyk wants to keep Brad Richards with the Dallas Stars, but that doesn't stop the NHL trade rumors from circling around his club and his best player. Nieuwendyk went on NHL Live! this afternoon and discussed those rumors. Our quote comes via Defending Big D:
All options are in play here. It's certainly not my first choice. I've maintained all along that we'd like to keep Brad as a Dallas Star for a long period of time. There's a lot of uncertainty with our side as far as ownership that are a concern for them. But, all options are open. It's certainly going to have to be a good type of deal in order to pry him away from us because we are sitting tied for eighth right now and have a lot of home games coming up in March.
So, to summarize: he wants Richards to stay, but other concerns, as well as the current standing of the team in the NHL will play into a final decision. The "it has to be a good deal" thing can't be overlooked, either.
Defending Big D's Brandon Worley got into the particulars on this a bit earlier today, saying that the Stars risk losing Richards in free agency over the summer for nothing if they don't ship him out now. With the shaky ownership situation in Dallas, the Stars aren't sure what they'll be able to offer Richards in the summer. At the same time, the sale of the team could complete and then they would be able to add Richards and then some other parts as well.
There's a lot up in the air here, and what it comes down to, according to Worley, is this:
It's very important to realize just how big these next few games are for the future of the Dallas Stars. If the Stars win against Detroit and then again on Saturday, then the Stars are still right in the mix for the playoff hunt and keeping Richards makes sense. Two more losses, however, and the Stars sink further and further away from the playoffs and the idea of keeping Richards makes less and less sense.
That's how insane the Western Conference playoff picture is right now. Two games before the trade deadline could essentially hold the future of a team and its best player in the balance.