BOSTON — Rare is the year that 10-year NHL veteran Brad Richards doesn’t find himself in trade rumors leading up to the deadline.
This year, of course, has been no exception for the Dallas Stars center, who’s in town to face the Bruins tonight at TD Garden. Richards is in the last year of his contract with the Stars, who are famously in ownership flux right now. His uncommitted status thrusts Richards into even more rumors than usual, including ones involving the Bruins.
After his team’s morning skate today, Richards sounded like a guy who’s not letting any chatter bother him.
“It’s just different because of the no-move clause and [general manager] Joe [Nieuwendyk] and I have talked about it weekly, about everything that goes on,” said Richards, who’s sixth in the NHL with 58 points for the Pacific Division-leading Stars. “So when you hear the rumors, it’s not like when you’re left in the dark. I kind of know what’s going on and I’m in control of it. Ultimately, it’s going to be all my choice what happens.”
That choice might not come until the summer. Richards said that contract talks are “on the back burner” so as not to distract from what Dallas is trying to accomplish. And he “would imagine” he’s going to finish out this season in a Stars uniform.
“Unless someone comes to me and really wants something to happen. Even then, I’d still have to sit down and look at that,” he said. “So right now it hasn’t really been on my mind. I know there’s been a lot of talk around it. But like I said, it’s something that will work itself out in the summer and we’ll see where I end up then.”
A team in pursuit of Richards would have to be able to fit his $7.8 million cap hit, be willing to overwhelm the Stars with prospects and picks, and then hope Richards would OK the deal. It sounds like a surer bet Richards will stay with the Stars.