Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Trade Deadline: Will Sather Get His Man Brad Richards? At What Cost?

All the talk finally ends today, the cards get put on the table and the deals either happen or they die.  Today is a fun day for the fans, not only of the New York Rangers, but all around the league whether it is to see what your team is going to “buy” or what your franchise is going to get for the players they trade away in hopes of being better next season.  For Rangers fans Brad Richards is the man at the center of the rumors and whether the deal happens may come right down to the 3 pm wire.  Will the Rangers pull the trigger on Brad Richards despite his current concussion and looming free agent status?  If they do, what will it cost them to get him?  For the record, at least on the surface, I am against the move, as I discussed here.  Obviously, as with all trades, the details of the trade will be the ultimate determinant on how they are perceived and judged.
Today the main attraction, possibly league wide, will be his stare down with Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk over Brad Richards.  In one sense Nieuwendyk holds the cards in that he can hold onto Richards and make a playoff push with his club while telling the fans they want to win and there was no offer worth sacrificing this season away for.  By holding onto him, Nieuwendyk also retains the chance over the next four months to work out a deal to keep Richards in Dallas long term.  The interim time would allow the organization to show that their ownership situation is settled and allow Richards comfort in the direction of the team going forward.
On the other hand, Nieuwendyk is in a corner where keeping Richards means he risks losing him for nothing this summer.  Add to that the concussion that is currently sidelining Richards and you have a player who clearly was the best possible piece on the market having a diminished value due to a level of uncertainty with how he will respond and when he can play.  Making matters worse for Nieuwendyk is that if he deals Richards his preference would be to deal him outside the Western Conference.  According to Helene Elliot of the LA Times that is exactly the thinking in Dallas.
Talk now is that Stars will keep Brad Richards instead of trading him. Or at least won't trade him within West. Narrows Kings' options...
If that is the case, in the event they do attempt to move Richards, that further narrows the field of competing offers for Nieuwendyk to use against Glen Sather in their trade discussions.  New York might be the only team in the Eastern Conference that has both the interest in dealing for Richards and the potential for Richards to waive his no-trade clause.  Tampa Bay would be a logical place, but there has been no real discussion about them getting involved.  Toronto has been rumored, but reports were that he would not go waive to go there.  Who would that leave?  Boston?  Have the best trade chip in Toronto’s first rounder, but cap issues that could make a deal difficult. Washington?  That would be one way to shake up their stagnant offense, but they would have cap problems in the move as well and just claimed Marco Sturm off waivers.  Carolina?  This would be an interesting fit as they have the cap space, but who knows if Richards would waive to go there.
Description: am going into today with an open mind because of how well Glen Sather has done in trades lately.  He has done a very good job in protecting the youth of the team, while getting other teams to give him what he wants at his price.  Sather has to be patient with this and remember the big picture as he has done so well to this point.  If they come to the price he wants to pay, then he pull the trigger, and then the rest of us will debate whether the move was worth the final cost.  If not, then do not be afraid to fold your hand, walk away, and wait until July 1.
Either way the drama ends, at least in one sort, no later than the 3pm trade deadline this afternoon.  Should be fun.