From people Staple's talked to, the Rangers' first-round pick would be in play in a possible deal for Richards, who yesterday skated for the fourth straight day as he still recovers from a concussion, but it's doubtful any of the core players currently on the NHL roster would be seriously discussed.
Having said all that, Staple adds the Stars have won two straight to get them back into the Western Conference top eight and may keep Richards for their own stretch run. Also, Richards' agent, Pat Morris, said in an email last night that Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk has still not asked Richards to waive his no-trade clause.
Speaking of Richards and extensions, Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun says he turned down a "fair market" extension from the Stars as he is looking for a long-term deal in the eight-year range. Garrioch also reports that Nieuwendyk wanted two roster players and a draft pick from the Rangers to open the negotiations for Richards.
Meanwhile, Jesse Spector at the Daily News reported last night that talks were "heating up" between the Rangers and Dallas.
Laurie Carr at Beyond the Blueshirts throws fuel on the fire as she reports the CT Whale released Fs Francis Lemieux & Alexandre Imbeault when they were already short up front meaning Kris Newbury might be coming back down opening up a spot on the Rangers roster.
...not really sure how the Rangers expect to get Richards without giving up any core players. That doesn't seem possible. But I guess if there is one GM who could do it, it would be Sather.
...and if the Rangers do end up giving away some of their core they'd better be looking to sign him to a contract this offseason.