November 17, 2010

Remember that Brad Richards Trade to the Stars a Few Years ago? How's it Working out for the Lightning?

Not so hot, considering Jussi Jokinen no longer plays for Tampa Bay, ditto for Jeff Halpern, and goalie Mike Smith will likely be relegated to a back-up role before this season is all said and done (a .869 save perecentage and a 3.63 goals-against average through nine games will do that... or buy you a one-way ticket to the ECHL where you just might end up being good enough to become a goaltending coach to teach your charges what not to do in order to actually make it).

In any case, like I need to say it, that trade worked out pretty well for the Stars (who also gave up a fourth-round pick; no word yet on whether Kyle Bigos will turn out to be the superstar that will make the Stars regret the day they ever tangled with Oren Koules). Richards? He now has 50 goals and 121 assists in 164 games with Dallas. That includes his 200th career goal, which came last night against the Anaheim Ducks.

So, why bring up the trade now? Well, Richards's career milestone aside, now's as good a time as any to bring up the fact that he's due to become a free agent next off-season. With the team's ownership situation pretty up in the air (remind you of any one team in particular?), the Stars should probably look into not making the same mistakes the Lightning did way back when, i.e.

1) Not treating your team like you're in a fantasy league

2) Not give out big-money contracts like the world is ending and it won't even matter in a few years anyway.

3) And, mainly, not trading away your actual best player for nothing more than a few temporary band-aids to cover up your own incompetence.

I guess another reason to bring up the trade two-and-a-half years later: it's always cool to slam the Lightning and their past troubles, especially when it looks like the organization is on its way up again. Okay, maybe not, but Koules and Len Barrie were just that bad as owners.

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