Brad Richards will become an unrestricted free agent after all.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made it no secret that he was looking to trade Richards' rights to somebody hoping to sign the top free-agent center after it was clear Richards wouldn't be returning to Dallas. But on Thursday he told Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News that Richards won't waive his no-trade clause and thus will hit the open market on July 1.
"It's disappointing, but you move forward and work on the next issue," Nieuwendyk told Heika.
It was announced a few weeks back that Richards' time in Dallas was done as the uncertain ownership situation was unsettling to him. Considering he had a no-trade clause, it's not surprising that Richards elected to go the route of full-on free agent and take the right to pick his destination of choice. It's just that the Stars were hoping to get something in return for Richards.
So get ready for the Richards sweepstakes, because they figure to be the busiest of the offseason. Fans of the Rangers have been salivating at the opportunity to put Richards in blue, but his former team in Tampa Bay as well as Toronto figure to be in the thick of things, too. Up until today, the Kings were also believed to be coveting Richards, but they landed another center named Richards, Mike from Philadelphia, and that need was taken care of.
-- Brian Stubits