Richards and agent Pat Morris made it clear they didn't want to re-sign with the Stars unless a new owner was in place. That won't happen before July 1, so the Stars will try to see if they can trade his rights and get something in return. It won't be easy to deal Richards' rights. He's a free agent on July 1 and still has a no-trade clause, so he'd have to approve any potential trade until then. The rights would allow a team to negotiate exclusively with him, but Richards may opt to test the market anyway.
The Stars made an offer to Richards prior to the trade deadline, one Nieuwendyk called "significant," but it was rejected. The GM says he doesn't regret trading Richards at the deadline.
"We were in position to make a playoff run and I thought it was important to send a message to the room that we were going for it," Nieuwendyk said.
Besides, Richards had the no-trade clause and had to approve any deal. Nieuwendyk said there wasn't any kind of deal on the table, so he isn't thinking about what might have been.
Gone is a guy that was top-10 in the league in points and a consistent producer. He led the team in points, was second in goals. He had the most average ice time of any forward and was second in power play points. That's a lot of scoring to make up.
"We'll have to build around the guys we have, looking at trades and free agency," Nieuwendyk said.
He'll have a difficult job with no owner and a tight budget, at least for now. Nieuwendyk will be in Vancouver on Friday as part of an NHL committee looking at ways to improve the game. He should also get a chance to chat with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about the sale situation.