Sunday, May 22, 2011

Video: Keith Ballard Flips McGinn With Textbook Hip Check

Keith Ballard had not played in the last seven playoff games for the Vancouver Canucks, but he made his presence felt during Game 4 against the San Jose Sharks with this huge hip check against Jamie McGinn.  The most interesting note is that it was McGinn that knocked Vancouver defenders Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome out of the lineup with Game 3 hits that allowed Ballard to even play.

Could Rangers Trade For Brad Richards Rights?

The worst kept secret in the National Hockey League is that the New York Rangers have interest in signing Brad Richards this summer.  In this morning’s New York Post, Larry Brooks suggests that the Rangers trade their 57th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to the Dallas Stars so that they can gain a measure of advantage in that chase.  
This is the time for the Rangers to get Richards to New York, to get him acquainted with the organization. This is the time for the club's medical staff to conduct its due diligence. This is the time for conversations about the contract, when there is time for give-and-take and careful consideration as opposed to a few hours of sometimes panicky offers, counter-offers and ultimatums.

Maybe Richards will want no more than five years, a term that should be perfectly acceptable. Maybe Richards will be willing to play for $6 million or so if he sees taking that deal would allow the Rangers to retain maneuverability on the market. Let's face it, coming off a five-year contract worth $39 million, Richards doesn't have to suck down every nickel that will be thrown at him.
The obvious advantage would be that the Rangers would gain exclusive negotiating rights with Richards before July 1 instead of having to wait until he hit the open market and being part of the frenzy.  The questions with this plan are not with what the Rangers would or could get out of it, but what is really to be gained for either Dallas or Richards to go along with it.

The biggest obstacle to Richards going back to Dallas all year has been the instability in their ownership situation, but now it is getting closer to being resolved which should only add to their confidence in potentially getting a deal done.  The Stars refused to lower the asking price for Richards at the trade deadline believing they could bring him back long term so there is no reason to realistically believe that they would settle for a mere late second round pick for him now.

In terms of Richards himself, being just over one month away from being the biggest fish in a very weak free agent market, there appears to be little incentive for him to sign on to a deal with anyone before July 1, unless massively overpaid.

If it could be done for the scenario that Brooks is proposing here, then the Rangers should certainly do so, but there appears to be little to no incentive for the other two parties that would have to agree for it to happen.