The 2011 NHL Free Agency period is officially open at noon today, and suddenly everyone's eyes are turned towards prized free agent Brad Richards. The New York Rangers have made it known to everyone that can read Richards is their main priority, The problem? He also happens to be their only off season priority.
Basically, it comes down to this: Glen Sather knows how badly his team needs Brad Richards; and Richards knows it too. This gives Richards a significant amount of leverage when both sides eventually come to the negotiating table. While Sather won't be completely boxed in (it's not like he traded for his rights), it's clear getting Richards under contract is the Rangers top goal.
There have been reports surfacing that one of Richards main priorities is to join a contender. Whether or not that factors into how many years and dollar signs he wants on his contract will remain to be seen.
At this point, I would tell you all to forget what you have heard about Richards' demands. As more information trickles out through the free agent process we will know more, but as of right now nothing reported has been concrete.
Use this as your open thread for the beginning of the day guys. We'll be updating stories throughout the day. Remember to please follow me on twitter (@Joe_Fortunato) since it's the new official twitter of Blueshirt Banter.
More when it happens.