Speaking of Richards ...
How about Brad Richards picking up five assists against the Blackhawks in his debut with the Stars? Guess all the stories and commentary about him having zero wingers with which to play since Fredrik Modin was traded and Marty St. Louis was moved off his line were accurate. I guess Eric Perrin wasn't kidding last season when he said if he had converted even a handful of the chances with which Richards presented him, he would have scored 30 goals.
Would seem Richards' effort last night puts even more scrutiny on general manager Jay Feaster's comments that he is going to try to rebuild the top two lines through free agency. He has tried that before, but with a little bit more money with which to play, perhaps he can go for higher-profile players, in other words, ones that can make a difference.
By the way, Brad Richards $7.8-million contract being off the books is only one way the team can save money for free agency. The belief is that Marc Denis' contract will be bought out this summer. That will save the team $2-million this season.
Here's the formula: Denis is scheduled to make $3-million next season. Buyouts are done at two-thirds rate spread out over double the remaining years of the contract. Denis has one season left, so the $2-million Denis will be paid will be spread out as $1-million next season and $1-million in 2009-10.
One final word on Richards: The guy was as classy as they come, and he stayed that way till the end. Consider how Feaster described the way the two sides worked through his trade.
When it became clear Richards would be traded, Feaster said Richards gave him the names of six teams to which he would agree to be traded. It just so happens, the Stars were at the top of that list, Feaster and Richards said.
"I can't say enough about he and his agent, Pat Morris,'' Feaster said. "They were professional through the whole thing. He made things a lot easier.''