Brad Richards is making a ton of money. Richards is also the owner of the worst +/- in hockey. Richards also makes perfect sense for Dallas. It sounds crazy, but I've talked myself into wanting this potential trade to go through. I feel that the best way to justify this is to look at the short term benefits vs. the long term benefits.
Brad Richards is the owner of a Conn Smythe trophy. In the 2006/2007 playoffs Dallas' main issue was goal scoring. Richards has 47 career points in 45 career playoff games, and would be the top centerman Dallas needs. He also plays the point on the powerplay which will lead to a later point regarding Modano. Picking up Brad Richards for the rumored return, Boucher and Smith, would set up other moves that could improve the team significantly. Jussi Jokinen's undefined role would become even more undefined making him expendable. The other thing to consider is having an elite playmaker like Richards is a waste without getting another shooter to go with him. Michael Ryder anyone? Hagman/Richards/Ryder would be a sweet 2nd line.
The long term issues take a little more consideration. The Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup core is ancient and nearing retirement. Mike Modano and Sergei Zubov will be gone after this season or next. Mike Heika mentioned this on the radio earlier, and I've been thinking it for a little while. Mike Modano could be done after this year. Brad Richards could step into that role and be one of the faces of Dallas hockey.
The retirements of Modano and Zubov that are coming up in the next 2 years will free up a lot of money. Boucher moving to Tampa in the deal frees up cash also. Mattias Norstrom leaving frees up more money to be used for this. Modano is 3.45 per, Boucher is 2.5, Zubov is 4.33, and Norstrom is 4.25 against the cap along with 2 mil in cap room. That is plenty of money to afford Richards, and pick up Ryder at the deadline for the year, at least. With Modano out of the picture soon Dallas would likely have to fill the hole he'll leave via free agency. Is Brad Richards for 3 years really worse than Briere or Gomez? I'll take Richards for 3 years.
Basically I'm drinking the Brad Richards kool-aid. I don't want that to be the only move, but it's a fine start. They don't need to destroy the whole roster, but getting a player like Brad Richards can only help. The main thing to look at is Richards' playoff history. The team needs to go for it now while Zubov and Modano are still around. They owe it to the both of them to give it a solid run in what could be their last.