Jun 7, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) warms up before game two of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
With the offseason fully underway teams are trying to shape their rosters for next season. The Blackhawks thus far have not jumped into the free agent pool. The Blackhawks are not expected to make a big move despite reports but what if the Blackhawks made a smaller type move.
A move that could help the Blackhawks is signing Brad Richards. Brad Richards was bought out by the Rangers. Richards was not bought out because of his production but because of his contract. Richards was due 19 million over the next two season. The Rangers could not afford that with their current salary cap situation.
Richards was a productive player for the Rangers this season. After having a down year in 2012-13, Richards rebounded scoring 20 goals and notching 51 points. To Richards’ credit, the Rangers saw 55.1 percent unblocked shot attempts with Richards on the ice. Without Richards on the ice the Rangers were only at 51.9 percent of unblocked shots.
By adding Richards the Blackhawks would be adding an experienced center. Richards also should not command at huge contract because he is still getting paid from the Rangers. Richards’s strengths are “incredible imagination with the puck and excellent play making ability”. Richards weakness are “his defensive has regressed over time” and can wear down against bigger centers. The Hockey news forecasts Richards as a veteran savvy scoring center.
So the question is: Should the Chicago Blackhawks Sign Brad Richards?
The answer is maybe. Richards does fill a need and might be a place holder center. The Blackhawks can then ease Teuvo Teravainen into a center for them. Richards also might be able to facilitate the offense for Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. The real priority for the Blackhawks is re-signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Once that is complete maybe the Blackhawks try to get Brad Richards on the cheap.
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