February 24, 2011
No medical reports on concussions. No crunching numbers for next year's payroll. No opposing GMs calling him up, asking about injured star Brad Richards(notes) and forcing Nieuwendyk to consider the most vital moment of his brief tenure.
You know the particulars on Richards: eighth in the NHL in scoring with 63 points in 56 games before a concussion put him out of the lineup as of Feb. 14; the Stars' unquestioned MVP this season; a legitimate No. 1 center who goes unrestricted next summer as a free agent and currently wields a no-movement clause.
Nieuwendyk has discussed Richards with some teams; consistently saying that his preferred option is to keep him and sign him, but that "all options are at play here," as he told NHL Live on Wednesday.
But as he also said on the radio show:
"It's certainly going to have to be a good type of deal to pry him away from us."
The Post has learned Nieuwendyk told Rangers GM Glen Sather on Tuesday that it would cost the Blueshirts three young studs off the roster, believed to be Marc Staal(notes), Brandon Dubinsky(notes) and Derek Stepan(notes), for the privilege of renting Brad Richards.
Never mind that Richards, who has a no-move clause in his contract, has not yet been asked for a list of clubs for which he would be willing to waive it, according to agent Pat Morris in a phone conversation yesterday with The Post.
To summarize: That's the Rangers' leader in ice time, leading scorer and top rookie forward going for a rental that the Rangers can sign without giving up a player in July.
Now, this news could have been leaked for many reasons. As a public flogging of Nieuwendyk for his asking price. (Y! Sports Nick Cotsonika reports that "Joe Nieuwendyk denied he discussed specific players with Rangers regarding Richards." Which is expected.) As a way for the Stars to set the price for all the teams, or for the Rangers to scare away other suitors by leaking an exaggerated version of it.
That said ... there are a lot of factors in why Brad Richards likely won't move by the deadline. His concussion will keep him off the ice until after the deadline. The Stars are very much still alive for the Western Conference playoffs despite a 1-8-1 tailspin. He can decide where he wants to play.
But if this is indeed the asking price, then slide it to the top of the list. We've certainly come a long way from Jussi Jokinen(notes), Jeff Halpern(notes), Mike Smith(notes) and a fourth-round pick in 2008 for Richards.