I just talked to Pat Morris, the agent for Brad Richards, and while he would not say definitively that Richards would not waive his no-trade clause before the July 1 free agent deadline, he did say that Richards has to do what's best for himself.

"I'm not aware of another player in this situation who has waived his no-trade clause, and I think there is a reason for that,'' Morris said. "Accepting a move to another team creates an obligation, and you have to be pretty sure about that obligation. I think Brad has to do what's best for himself and keep his options open.''

Richards has worked a long time to earn the no-trade clause and to earn a chance at free agency, and you can't blame him for wanting to utilize that opportunity. He said that so much will go into his decision, and so much is based on his experience already.

"It is difficult to leave Dallas, because it's a city I really like and it's a team where I thought I would have a chance to stay long-term,'' Richards said. "But the ownership situation is what it is, and I've been through that before, and it's something that's really important to me. I want to win, and I think if you look around the league, the teams that win consistently are teams with strong ownership.''

Morris said that Richards will certainly listen to any offers that teams are making to acquire his rights before July 1, but that the situation would have to be perfect.

"In a perfect world, you would love to help out the Dallas Stars and let them get something, but it would have to be the right fit,'' Morris said. "I think that's the best way to view this is that Brad has earned this right and it's not something that should be given away easily. It's a very important time in his career and a very important decision.''

Richards, 31, waived his no-trade clause to be traded from Tampa Bay to the Stars in February of 2008, and he said that was a difficult decision. He said the upcoming decisions would be just as tough.