Brad Richards, The Salary Cap and Free Agency

We now stand four days away till free agency 2011, the year when Brad Richards leaves the Stars. Richards, for his part, seems to not be worried at all about his situation (and why should he?). His latest tweet, sent yesterday:

Off to the toughest course on earth tomorrow with … Oakmont. Greens will be fast but can’t wait….

This sounds like a guy that is about to have a big payday. It looks like he’s heading off to play for the New York Rangers. I stated before that if the Lightning make a serious play for Richards, he’d be more willing to go back to Tampa. However, it doesn’t look like they are trying to get him just yet.

The Stars meanwhile, will have a lot of cap space to work with this offseason. With the departure of Richards and the growing floor on the cap, they will need to sign at least $10 million in contracts this year to reach the $48 million salary cap floor. The salary cap has been officially set at $64.3 million for this year. They have roster spots for about six more players.

GM Joe Nieuwendyk told NBC 5 yesterday that his aim was above the $48 million floor, so it looks like the Stars are willing to spend this year in order to get a good team going. Don’t forget that this team still has yet to find an owner.

Some free agent names to keep an eye on this year:

  • Thomas Kaberle BOS – Defenseman: Made $4.25 million last year
  • Jussi Jokinen CAR – Forward: Made $1.9 million last year. Will the Stars bring him back?
  • Tomas Kopecky CHI – Forward: Made $1.2 million last year.
  • Tomas Fleischmann COL – Center: Made $2.6 million last year.
  • Ville Leino PHI – Forward: Made $825,000 last year.
  • Maxime Talbot PIT – Forward: Made $1.05 million last year.
  • Brooks Laich WSH – Center: $2.4 million last year