Joe Nieuwendyk has (all but) officially lost by far the biggest gamble of his career. Bob McKenzie of TSN and THN tweeted Thursday that the Mavericks will not be offering a free agent contract to star center Brad Richards.
TSNBobMcKenzie Bob McKenzie
With the ownership situation in DAL not likely to be settled until later in summer, DAL will not be making contract offer to Brad Richards.
With the Stars fading fast at the trade deadline, Nieuwendyk had by far the most appealing trade chip in the league but decided to gamble that the Stars would make the playoffs with Richards leading the way, that they would resolve their ownership situation quickly and positively enough to retain Richards, or both. With McKenzie's report, he has lost on all fronts. Dallas now has no Richards, no return and no means to replace the Star.
McKenzie does mention that Dallas could look to deal Richards' rights so that some other team could negotiate exclusively with him this month, but Richards has a no-trade clause and the return on that sort of deal would be minimal anyway.
Brad Gardner of Defending Big D has more on this and has a positive feeling for Nieuwendyk's decision.
For now we'll simply thank GM Joe for seeing the season through to the end, believing in his guys, and at least keeping the door open to the possibility of re-signing him in the face of uncertainty.
While that sentiment captures the feelings of many Stars fans, the lack of compensation for their best player sets this franchise back at a time where it had hoped to move forward. This is also yet another painful gift from Tom Hicks to his former fandom.