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Stars, Lightning swap forwards, goalies in 5-player trade

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

DALLAS (AP) -The Dallas Stars tried to boost their offense Tuesday, getting center Brad Richards from Tampa Bay in a five-player deal completed hours before the trade deadline.

The Stars gave up backup goalie Mike Smith, forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern and a fourth-round pick in next year's draft for Richards and starting Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist.

Richards, MVP of the playoffs when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004, was Tampa Bay's fourth-leading scorer with 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists) in 62 games. He moves up to third on the Stars' scoring list, six points ahead of Mike Modano.

Tampa Bay is last in the Eastern Conference and looking to clear salary cap space two years after signing Richards to a five-year contract that averages $7.8 million per season.

Besides switching teams, Smith and Holmqvist are trading roles as well.

Smith figures to be the starter for Tampa Bay after challenging Marty Turco for that role in Dallas earlier this season. Ultimately, Smith made 21 starts to 47 for Turco, who has eight of the Stars' 11 wins in their past 13 games. Smith was 12-9 with a 2.46 goals-against average in Dallas.

Holmqvist was 20-16 with a 3.01 goals-against average in 45 games as Tampa Bay's starter. He will back up Turco.

The Stars haven't been hurting for offense. They've scored at least four goals six times during their current 11-2 run, and they rank seventh in the league at 2.89 goals per game.

By adding Richards, the Stars picked up almost as many points as they gave up in forwards Jussi Jokinen (28 points in 52 games) and Jeff Halpern (24 points in 64 games).

Dallas also is adding a player considered one of the league's rising stars just two years ago. Richards followed his Stanley Cup MVP season with a career-high 91 points in 2005-06, the first season after the lockout.

Richards adds to the scoring depth at center for Dallas. Mike Ribeiro leads the Stars with 71 points (26 goals, 45 assists). Modano has 17 goals and 28 assists.

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