BOSTON – Having seen what the Phoenix Coyotes received for trading the negotiating rights of free-agent-to-be goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk admits that he would like to strike a similar deal for Brad Richards, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
"It's our intention as well to move those rights along," Nieuwendyk said on Wednesday, speaking shortly after the League's general managers meeting at the Langham Hotel. "So we're working towards that."
Nieuwendyk’s work is made more difficult by the fact that Richards possesses a no-trade clause and can veto any potential deal.
It is believed that Richards wants to go to a contender with stable ownership. In fact, Nieuwendyk said Wednesday that the unstable ownership situation in Dallas was the main reason the No. 1 center has no interest in re-signing with the Stars.
Richards, who finished the season with 28 goals and 49 assists, would be the premier free-agent center on the market -- if he makes it to July 1.
Several teams reportedly have interest in Richards – including the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings – and may be willing to part with some assets to have an exclusive negotiating window in which to make a deal.
Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren traded a minor-league player, a third-round pick in 2012 and a conditional draft pick for the negotiating rights to Bryzgalov.
Nieuwendyk also said that the lack of other big-talent free agents likely to be on the market means he will be looking to trade for Richards’ replacement.
The GM is also busy looking for a new coach after firing Marc Crawford shortly after the Stars missed the playoffs because of a loss on the final day of the season.
(The search) is going well," Nieuwendyk said. "We've met some impressive candidates. Hopefully I would like to get it done before the draft – certainly before free agency."