With the Stanley Cup Final upon us and the playoffs coming to an end, it is only natural that the free agent talk starts to ramp up. While there are plenty of people writing about the finale between the Bruins and the Canucks, there is only so many cliches you can come up with about Tim Thomas’ road to the finals and the Sedin twins finally breaking out of their playoff woes to dismantle the Sharks.
So, we have more thoughts on Richards, namely from TSN as they speculate a 8 million dollar salary hit for anyone who signs him this year. While it may be true, I’m not sure you can call it a good deal at this point. Considering the state of the other salaries around the league that people are paying other players who are putting up more points than Richards every year (e.g. Sedin twins), it’s hard to really put Richards up to 8 million over his 7 million hit at any point in his career even at his prime at the age of 31. Especially not after a couple seasons that saw him injured at just the right time to put the Stars out of contention.
Don’t get me wrong, Richards is one of the top-10 players in the league, easily. But making Ovechkin cash is kind of a stretch. But, I’m not in the business, so obviously even if I’m right they aren’t going to listen to me. Teams will pay whatever a player asks them if they want him bad enough, and I think teams like the Rangers (who desperately need scoring depth) and the Maple Leafs (Burke will buy just about anyone to skip the rebuilding phase that the franchise requires) want him that much and more. Don’t forget that LA was clamoring for him (and you have to think they might have performed better in the playoffs had they had him).
The question is obviously ownership, and will be until he signs somewhere. If he goes somewhere else, the lack there of will be what everyone blames his departure on and if he stays it will probably be because they either got it together in time or it seemed imminent enough for him to confidently sign a contract.
People are seeing the number “8 million” and are gasping and saying that the Stars can’t afford him or that he isn’t worth that much.
Whether he is worth 8 million is arguable and ultimately relative. However, whether or not the team can afford him is up in the air. I do think people are seeing that number and seeing it as 8 million instead of “1 million more than we paid him last year”. When he leaves, that leaves a 7 million dollar gap in our internal cap. That’s 7 million to spend and in turn if we decided to focus that 7 on resigning him then essentially the question isn’t whether they can afford 8 million worth of cap hit, it is can they afford the additional 1 million that will act as his raise.
You also have to consider how long the contract will be before you really put a price on his head on a per year basis. Should he sign longer then the price-per-year would go down a million or so instead of up, where as anything 4-5 year or below wouild probably merrit 7-8.
At this point, all we know is that Richards liked playing here and liked the city. But, did he love it? I think people want to believe he’s loved his experience in Dallas, but it is speculation. He loved his teammates, but did he love the experience… in the end that will be a big factor in whehter he decides to sign here.
We all know they are going after him. There’s no point in clamoring for them to change their minds because of the speculatory pricing from sites like TSN. GM Joe knew there was a raise coming with a new contract, it was inevitable. We all knew. If he didn’t think he was worth 8 million or even 7 million again, he wouldn’t have been so adimant about the idea of trying their best to resign him.
In the end, none of it matters and we’re all stuck watching the Bruins play the Canucks in the finals.