October 21, 2010
Hockey's Most Wanted Man: Brad Richards
Brad Richards is already being hailed as the undisputed big fish in the 2011 unrestricted free agent pool. And well he should be. Coming off a career best 91 point season in 2009-10 (7th best in the league), Richards is off to another fantastic start here in 2010-11.
Hockey insiders believe Richards will hit the free agent market, as Dallas ownership remains in financial limbo. You've got to believe GM Joe Nieuwendyk would desperately want to sign Richards to an extension right now, but he is handcuffed as he waits for direction from ownership, direction that may not come in time.
Faced with this reality, Nieuwendyk is undoubtedly already weighing the pros and the cons of trading Brad Richards during the season.
There would be no shortage of interested parties, although Richards will control his own destiny as he does have a no-movement clause in his contract. But who would not want to add a former Conn Smythe trophy winner, Stanley Cup and World Cup champion as a rental player for a run at the Stanley Cup?
Richards would look great in Vancouver - any interest in Cory Schneider, Dallas? Los Angeles might be an even better fit, with another great young goalie in Jonathan Bernier to offer and more salary cap wiggle room. Could Washington come up with a package, as they badly need a 2nd line center if they are ever going to be serious Stanley Cup contenders.
Brad Richards may be hockey's most wanted player in the coming months. Any team with designs of a long playoff run should be kicking these tires already.