Dallas Stars interim president Tony Tavares confirmed this morning that discussions in the sale of the team are moving forward in a positive direction and that the team could have definitive news by the end of the week.
``There have been some bumps at times, as there will be in these kinds of negotiations, but there has been a lot of progress made in the past week and we're very confident about things moving forward,'' Tavares said.
``This is a process, and there are a lot of challenges in any sale like this, so we're always going to be cautious. But there is a lot of optimism right now for something by the end of the week.''
Tavares would not confirm any of the details, but several sources said that Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi is moving forward with his bid and that the exclusive 30-day negotiating window has been extended.
Gaglardi is negotiating with a group of lenders who began paying the bills when Hicks Sports Group defaulted on more than $500 million in loans in March of 2009. The NHL and Hicks also have a role in the negotiations, according to several sources.
The next step in the sale of the team is for Gaglardi to put forward a signed purchase agreement with details of how he would like to buy the team. That includes amount of cash paid, amount of debt assumed, as well as several other complicated issues in how the purchase will be structured with the lenders and with the NHL.
Gaglardi, the lenders and the NHL would then move to push the sale through a pre-packaged bankruptcy hearing.
The bankruptcy would allow Gaglardi to be free from lawsuits from anybody who felt the sale did not adequately compensate them, as well as allow any other buyer to exceed his bid.
According to sources, Dallas businessman Doug Miller and Dallas businessman Billy Quinn would still be interested in looking at the offer and possibly trying to better it in hopes of getting the team.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is working with Quinn, according to sources. Sources also confirm that at least one other interested party has been studying the Stars' finances and could be open to making a bid that would exceed Gaglardi's.
Detroit businessman Christopher T. Charlton, whose business Charlton Group, Inc. supplies parts to the automotive industry, has had his lawyers looking at the Stars' finances, but he is behind the curve as far as research.
To make sure any potential buyer has the time to study the team, the bankruptcy court (which will probably be the same Fort Worth court where the Rangers were sold) will have the ability to grant a window of 30 to 60 days before the sale is official.
If the window is 30 days, the sale could be completed in early July. If it is 60 days, it wouldn't be until early August.
What will that mean for GM Joe Nieuwendyk and free agency? The guess here is that until a new owner is officially confirmed, his budget for next season will be close to the $47 million the team spent last season.
That said, the Stars have 17 players (give or take a two-way contract) under contract for about $38 million right now.
So, Nieuwendyk could make a big offer early in the free agent process (which begins July 1) and then fill in role players once the new owner is in place later in July or August.