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There is no surprise that when the New York Rangers would call Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk when his team began to slide down the standings to see what the cost of obtaining his star center Brad Richards would be. The Rangers have a need for a first line center to play with Marian Gaborik and hopefully light the fire under his “underperforming season.” It is somewhat surprising that the call was still made considering Richards is currently out with a concussion, but he is said to be on the mend and could return soon. What is most surprising though is the price that Nieuwendyk reportedly told Rangers GM Glen Sather he wanted New York to pay for the ability to rent Richards.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post the cost Nieuwendyk quoted Sather on Tuesday was Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan. Say what? If that is true, which I find hard to believe because it is just so ludicrous to have the gall to ask for that level of a package for a rental, then I want Nieuewendyk checked for post-concussion symptoms.
I have been one who has always said that Dallas was going to need a big package to deal Richards, but that is ridiculous. Marc Staal, a 23-year-old All-Star defenseman who, as I wrote yesterday, is New York’s most irreplaceable player. Brandon Dubinsky, a 24-year-old forward who has been not only the team’s leading scorer, but was the best player on the club for long stretches. Derek Stepan, a 20-year-old rookie forward who has adapted quicker to the NHL than most could have expected and been a bigger impact as a rookie than any could have hoped.
Asking for any one of those three guys in a package for Richards is something I would have understood as a rational point to start a negotiation, but asking for all three of them in the same deal for a guy who has a concussion, is a rental player, and still has yet to waive his no-move clause to say he would come let alone stay in New York is basically standup comedy. Either the reporting or sourcing was bad on this information or Nieuwendyk wanted to make it crystal clear that he had no actual intention of dealing Richards by coming out with a ludicrous demand.
As the deadline gets closer, if the Stars continue to fall down the standings and Richards makes it clear he will test the free agent market the pressure on Nieuwendyk to get something for him will increase, but when you are starting from such a reportedly ridiculous place, having the price come down does not mean it will ever land on reasonable. I personally have trouble believing that a demand like this can be true because of how utterly outrageous it is, but maybe I am giving Nieuwendyk too much credit. Maybe I just do not want to think that one GM would insult another GM's intelligence in such an egregious fashion.
In the end, regardless of the price the Rangers should just wait until the summer if they really want Richards and see what the landscape looks like then. There is no reason to trade any assets from the future for a guy who currently has a concussion and has given every indication that he plans on hitting the free agent market this summer.