Reports from TSN's Bob McKenzie has been confirmed that Brad Richards will not be returning to the Dallas Stars and well, you can't say that the news is too surprising. Ever since the Tom Hicks ownership fell into an abyss, the Richards contract has been a hot topic around the NHL and the likelyhood that he would be returning has been steadily dropping as the season went on.
He's made it known that he would not re-sign with the Stars if their ownership did not stabilize and two months after the final game of the season, it's still not clear who will take over the team. Richards went through a similar situation in Tampa Bay when their team went through a stretch when their ownership was in shambles and they traded away core players from a championship team.
A tweet from ESPN Dallas' @andrewsdsp
Just talked to GM Joe on the @TSNBobMcKenzie report. No point in making offer to Brad Richards because of the ownership issue.
The Tom Hicks effect has crippled and continues to damage the teams ability to make moves and sign contracts and the ownership issue does not look like it will be solved for another month. It sucks that absolutely nothing can be done, not even an offer can be made to Richards.
At this point, all Dallas can do is trade away his free agent negotiating rights to another team that wants him. Whether it be for picks or players is unknown, but at this point the Stars are just hoping to get something in return for Richards.
Now that all this is officially public knowledge, Dallas loses leverage in any trade talks and they can only hope that a bidding war occurs between two or more teams. If draft picks for this year are what they want, they have three weeks to get a deal done.
With Richards leaving, there will be a huge hole to fill. Who knows whether that is to come from free agency, the draft or current prospects but at this point, I would expect Dallas to look for a center in the first round this year.