Richards dealt to Dallas
Brad Richards has waived his no-trade clause and been traded with Johan Holmqvist to the Dallas Stars for goaltender Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern.
The big caveat with Richards, of course, is his huge deal, one that will pay him $7.8-million the next three seasons, but he's a far more dominant player than he's been in Tampa Bay this season. Dallas has needed another front-line forward for years, and he can fill that role, especially in an environment with a strong defensive system like the Stars have.
Smith, meanwhile, has been tagged as a real up and comer in goal, and has presented a bit of a challenge to Marty Turco the past two seasons from the backup spot. Smith wasn't a star in junior hockey, but has played very well as a pro in the AHL, and beat out Dan Ellis for the backup job.
Ellis has gone on to establish himself with Nashville this season as a pretty capable netminder.
Here are the contracts involved:
Richards: $7.8-million until 2010-11
Holmqvist: $1-million, UFA on July 1
To Tampa Bay
Smith: $950,000 until 2008-09
Jokinen: $1.813-million until 2008-09
Halpern: $2-million until 2009-10
Dallas depth chart:
|Brenden Morrow||Brad Richards||Jere Lehtinen|
|Loui Eriksson||Mike Ribeiro||Antti Miettinen|
|Niklas Hagman||Mike Modano||Krys Barch|
|Joel Lundqvist||Steve Ott||Stu Barnes|
Jokinen and Halpern, meanwhile, give the Lightning some badly needed depth up front, although without the scoring punch of someone like Richards.
"Trading Brad Richards was one of the most difficult moves I have made as manager of this hockey club,” Tampa GM Jay Feaster said. “However, as we have discussed for some time now, we need to address our goaltending situation and we have been targeting Mike Smith for the past two seasons.
"We would not have given up a player and a leader such as Brad unless we were getting outstanding value in return and we feel that Mike, as well as Jeff and Jussi, certainly meet that objective. It is very difficult to say goodbye to Brad and Holmer, however, we feel strongly that we have improved our hockey team now and going forward with this transaction."
“Brad is a difference-maker and one of the premier playmakers in the National Hockey League,” said Stars Co-General Manager Les Jackson. “At 27 years of age, he is in the prime of his playing career and a proven winner who has elevated his game to the highest levels in the playoffs. Johan Holmqvist is a reliable NHL goaltender and somebody that we will be confident in each time he is in net. It was difficult to part ways with Jeff, Jussi and Mike, since they are all consummate professionals who have done great things for our organization. Tampa Bay is getting a solid trio of players and we thank them for all they did for the Dallas Stars.”
“We are thrilled to acquire Brad Richards, a top-line talent who can play with any combination of line-mates,” said Co-General Manager Brett Hull. “His Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 2004 playoffs shows he is capable of great things in the postseason. He is certainly a major addition to our group.”