Dallas Stars center Brad Richards said at the end of the regular season that he would be patient as he pondered the possibility of becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Three weeks later, he was saying the same thing. But he did note there was some movement on one key area, and that was the Stars' ownership situation.
During an appearance on NHL Live! Tuesday afternoon, Richards was asked about where things stood with free agency about two months away.
“Right now there is no deadline in sight because July 1 is so far away,” Richards said. “It’s try to get my body back to normal, relax and think things over and give it a chance over there in Dallas to see what happens with ownership. It sounds like things are moving a little bit right now. We’ll see. Sometimes you hear things differently than what’s actually happening. At least there is some movement and talk.”
There has been movement on the Stars’ ownership front recently. Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi has emerged as the frontrunner to buy the team. He’s currently in an exclusive negotiating period of approximately 30 days in which he’ll try to finalize terms of a deal. Other bidders would likely have an opportunity to top any deal Gaglardi works out, and the process is expected to wind its way through an organized bankruptcy case.
There is the possibility that the Stars could have a new owner by early June. That would give the team time to negotiate with the Richards and even if he decides to test the market on July 1, the Stars would be in a better position to join the bidding for the center, who will be one of this summer’s most coveted free agents.
For now, though, Richards said it’s way too early to mull the options.
“When it’s closer to a deadline or a time where you have to make a decision, that might be a time to think about what’s going to happen in the future,” he said. “Right now, there are no worries in my mind to do anything because there is no rush.”
But when decision time does roll around, Richards said he’ll take a couple of factors into consideration.
“The main thing will be talking to my family and trying to win,” he said. “It’s been too long since I had that chance to win the Stanley Cup. I kind of thought we’d have a couple more cracks at it by now. That will be the main focus. If Dallas is the place where I think they can win then that’s the place and hopefully it can work out. We’ll see what happens.”