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The Future of Brad Richards

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If you gotta talk transactions and listen to rumors, you gotta go with Lyle Richardson of Spectors Hockey fame...

In this case, Lyle -- while blogging at Fox Sports -- goes into detail about Brad Richards future with the Lightning

It’s one of those media generated rumors that refuses to die, the opinion that the Tampa Bay Lightning might be forced by salary constraints to trade talented forward (and the 2004 Conn Smythe and Lady Byng winner) Brad Richards in the off-season.

The notion was first floated back in December, and gained momentum in the days leading up to the March trade deadline. There were even unsubstantiated reports that the Lightning tried to ship Richards to the Chicago Blackhawks for former Bolts goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

As Wayne Gretzky’s trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles in 1988 proved, it’s always possible that anyone, no matter how talented or apparently valuable to a team, can be traded. Richards is extremely valuable to the Lightning but he’s not untouchable, nor for that matter are any of the Lightning’s top stars.

That being said, I doubt very much the Bolts will move Richards.

:Actually, Lyle misses the first "Richard traded" rumor mongering by a few months. In August, the Montreal Rumor Machine started churning the Richards Rumors out. But I digress.

Lyle goes on to cite the Salary cap increase that is expected in the offseason, which will provide more wiggle room for Richards re-signing. He also states the facts that Richards has been the top scorer on the Lightning 3 times during hsi five year career. You don't ditch someone like that, especially when they are just entering their prime.

Vincent Lecavalier may be the face of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise, but Brad Richards is the work ethic that turned the Lightning from jokes into Stanley Cup Champions.