For now, Toronto Maple Leaf fans can take a deep breath and relax. Brad Richards isn't going anywhere, not yet anyway.
The Dallas Stars' ownership problems notwithstanding, there's no immediate need for Stars' GM Joe Nieuwendyk to consider trading the talented centre, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Now, as each day passes that the Stars are not in a position to offer Richards a long-term deal, the more likely it is he will test the waters this summer.
And the more likely that is to happen, the more likely it is Dallas will move him before the deadline in late February.
And there's no question the Maple Leafs will be knocking on that door in a big way. But so will the centre-starved New York Rangers and the Blueshirts' trump card could be that Richards loved playing for coach John Tortorella during their halcyon days in Tampa.
So even if Richards does move, and smart money is he will be on the move at some point, it will be a lot closer to Feb. 28 than now and the Leafs will have plenty of competition.