For the first half of the NHL season, the Dallas Stars were the league’s biggest surprise.After finishing 12th in the Western Conference last season, Dallas did a 180 this year and had a firm hold on the No. 3 seed in the West for the first few months of the season.
The Stars’ magic has run out. They are 2-8-1 in their last 11 games and are now clinging to a playoff spot by a single point.
That means that superstar centre Brad Richards, who ranks seventh in the league in points, might no longer be untouchable.
Richards is set to be an unrestricted free agent in July, and Dallas has little hope of keeping him. When the Stars were playing well, Richards trade rumours were suspended and most assumed that Dallas would hang on to him for its playoff run. But with the Stars struggling so much and no longer a playoff lock, it might be time for the Stars to listen to offers.
The New York Rangers’ interest in Richards is well known, but they will likely wait until the summer to make a run at him via free agency. It’s more likely that Richards will be coveted as a rental by a team that thinks one more offensive piece could be the difference for a Stanley Cup run.
The Stars’ are hanging on to a playoff spot by a thread, and it doesn’t make much sense to lose Richards for nothing this summer if they might not even need him for the playoffs. Much will depend on what happens between now and the February 28th deadline, but if the Stars continue to flounder, there could be a game-changing trade on deadline day.
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