Blackhawks Sign Brad Richards

Darren Dreger was the first to report the Chicago Blackhawks have signed veteran center Brad Richards to a one-year, $2M deal.


Richards, 34, scored 20 goals and added 31 assists in all 82 regular season games for the Rangers before adding five goals and seven assists in 25 postseason contests for the Eastern Conference champions. He won 49.8 percent of 1,029 faceoffs in the regular season.

52 thoughts on “Blackhawks Sign Brad Richards

  1. Tab?

    (I told friends this morning maybe for ONE year at a bargain price he’s got something to offer…)

  2. Like it better than Handzus for 1 mil., but would not expect too much from him…
    He used to be a quality play-off performer, if that will be a case next year, it would be a perfect deal for Hawks.

  3. Meh. Brad Richards doesn’t have anything left in the tank. This is Andrew Brunette all over again I’m afraid.

  4. So I thought this was funny…NY blog post

    “So if Chicago thought Michael Handzus was slow, wait till they get a load of Brad Richards hauling his carcass up and down the ice…he’ll make Handzus look like Usain Bolt on skates”

  5. We will see. Handzus is great in PK, Richards is in PP. I think that Kane will play with Toews and if stay Sharp will play with Richards. Still much better that another deals made today.
    Who´s your pick to clear the cap? Leddy, Oduya, Versteeg? And will Tervainen play NHL or AHL?

  6. The numbers obviously don’t tell the whole story, but:

    Richards 82GP 20G 31A 51PTS 18PM -8
    Kesler 77GP 25G 18A 43PTS 81PM -15

    …and, it is for only ONE year “in case”/until Teravainen is ready.

  7. He’s not nearly as bad as Brunette was. He put up 51 points with the Rangers this year. But Derek Step an only put up 57. Given the caliber of players he’ll be playing with here, I don’t think its a stretch that he scores 60 points. Regardless, it has to be better than 16 Handzus put up this year.

  8. Good signing! Low risk, high reward. He’s a winner and a great teammate. Who cares how he performed last year. He’s not the first guy that has not met the high expectations in NYC. This deal obviously means that the Hawks do not want to rush TT, which is smart as he needs one more year to progress. Outstanding job by Bowman!

    Comparing Richards to Brunette is really dumb a) because they’re different types of players, b) Richards is just 34 years old and c) Richards is a high speed train relative to Bruno. Certain things never change, Rufus ain’t go no clue as usual!

    That means Stan has to trade a player, likely Oduya, which is fine by me! Give one of the kids a chance as we desperately need some sort of rejuvenation on the back end. I’m not saying that our d is old, but you have to constantly insert younger players to be under the cap but also to remain competitive. That’s the winning formula even when it means that you have to develop and be patient with those young guys.

  9. If possible, I think Versteeg goes. I think that’s one of the hang ups with Kevin Hayes. He wants to play and doesn’t see an opening on the wing.

  10. What about Sabres, they suppose to be team McDavid2015 and after the signes and trades what now? In a little bit of bad luck they can even make a play-off :-)

  11. It absolutely must be the case that Oduya and/or Versteeg are gone. I guess Leddy would have been gone by now if it was going to be him. I’ll be honest and say I’m not expecting much out of Richards. He really has regressed badly and I’ve read a crap-ton this afternoon to suggest he simply can’t skate at this point. Even in his heyday his reputation was for being “soft,” so its not like he going to do much on the defensive side of the ice.

    Saad – Toews – Kane
    Sharp – Richards – Hossa
    Bickell – Kruger – Shaw
    Morin – Smith – Nordstrom

    Assume Versteeg is gone, Regin is a reserve, Rasmussen in on the Rockford Shuttle and Teuvo starts the year in Rockford.

    I still see a gaping hole at Center. I still see an appalling lack of ruggedness in a Western Conference that is going to demand that sort of capability at times. I get it give the cap dilemma.

  12. This signing is fantastic. Richards may not be what he used to be, but he is still a A very capable true center who will be flanked by legitimate first line wingers. Hawks now have two legitimate scoring lines, and unquestionably the best top six in the NHL. Great signing, deal leddy, plug in dahlbeck, and thecap should be close.

  13. Leddy, Oduya, Versteeg, Kruger could all be on the trade block. We don’t know, but a deal surely is in the works. Richards will be motivated in Chicago…I’ll reserve judgment. He’s high mileage. But he’s cheap. If he fails, then nothing substantial wasted.

  14. Andrew, Well said about brunette/Richards comparison and Richards/handzus is a definite upgrade.
    As stated teams are catching up to us and LA. We are a team deep and rich in talent.
    Considering our financial situation not moving Sharp to free up money for Spezza or Stastny is/was a good move. Sharp still has a lot of game left.
    As I said earlier, this will not be a 2011/12 or 2012/13 season. We will be in the hunt at the end.

  15. Rufus…Richards is a genuine iron man, played all 82 games 7 times…I share your concern for lack of toughness and size but Richards is rugged…he has won the Conn Smythe and, ( cough, cough ) the Lady Byng. How we get all of this for 2 mil is a real bargoon. Why does everyone want to dump Oduya? …such a silky skater…better options to make cap space. Would have been nice if we could have scooped Chad Johnson, backup goalie for Rask. Islanders got him for 2.2, phenominal numbers and a true credible backup goalie that relishes that role. Liking the Richards pickup,…

  16. Why do we want to dump Oduya? 1 year remaining. Over 30. 3.375 cap hit. And turns the puck over frequently. And the Hawks have 2 guys that are or near NHL ready that are right handed shots. Allowing Hammer to play the correct side.

  17. Wow. Rufus defended 37 year old Handzus all year saying how good he was when everybody (and the stats) told him otherwise…He finally stopped once Handzus apologized for his play after scoring the game winning goal in the playoffs. As most everyone said all along Handzus would have been best playing strictly 4th line & PK, which would have saved his legs for the playoffs, and let him play hard in short bursts. Now the Hawks sign 34 year old Brad Richards who was a key member of the Rangers squad that made it to the Stanley Cup Final this year, put up 51 points in 82 games this last season (20 goals), and has had nine 20+ goal seasons in his career including 4 of the last 5 (not the shortened season). He makes a good team better at a position of need and at a very low cost. Richards took less money and signed a 1 year deal so that he could go to the Hawks(Rangers are still paying him) to have a chance at the Cup (and to get off the books before JT & PK’s new contracts kick in). This is a good deal for the Hawks, the fact that you don’t think so makes me that much more sure that it is.

  18. I like the signing given the circumstances. Richards has a lot more to offer than the 2013/14 Handzus did. Richards is not fast end to end and that is certainly a negative with the way the Hawks like to play but his first step quickness doesn’t have the 1 second delay that Handzus had. He will help the PP probably equally if not more than Handzus helped the PK. Last season Richards had 51 points in 82 games which was the worst statistical year of his career (0.62 ppg) but that was better than all but 2 seasons Handzus ever had – the most recent one coming in 2003/04 when Handzus averaged 0.70 ppg.

    This is a very good bridge to 2015/16 in addition to making the 2014/15 team better.

  19. Plz leave oduyaalone. He has beengreat. The d iwouldrid is ledds. Sorry but to muchtime wasted move on. Richards greatsigning gives kids at center time. New laptop sorry bout spelling. Gohawhs. Nice toc reginback gives insurance

  20. If it was my vote I keep Oduya and trade Leddy. Then Oduya and Rosival leave after next year.

  21. Wow. This caught ALL of the talking heads by surprise. The steal of day one.

    Richards line mates, in order of TOI, for the last 10 games of the season w/ NYR:
    Carl Hagelin, Benoit Poullot, Jesper Fast, Brian Boyle. Seriously, what talent did he play with all season? A little bit of St. Louis after the trade. And I don’t even want to hear about Rick “Overrated” Nash. Richards still put up 51. And yes, he’s 34 and could not play all 82 every shift. But he will not be expected to. That will not be his role. Put him between Kane and Saad or any of the top four FWs and he can be that missing piece for 1 year. And the missing PP piece we have needed for a long time.

    The dude is (was) legit in his prime. We’ll see next season. But I think the Hawks just got a whole lot better than anyone expected.

  22. Wow, some of the comments here are pretty ignorant…Brad Richards is one of the best NHL hockey players over the last 15 years. His 13 year career has been pretty storied. He’s an offensive talent that has learned to play 2 way hockey and he takes his 200? game seriously…HE’S A PRO!

    When Tab was talking about Spezza, this is the kind of move he meant. A top 2nd line centre, who can be trusted, and won’t be here long…he was signed to a 1 year deal at $2 million…that’s a bargain for a former Conn Smythe and Lady Byng winner. What I liked to hear from Richards was that the only extra thing he wished for was a longer term deal, as he still feels he has a lot of hockey left in him…HUGELY important attitude.

    Richards scored 20 goals on a very defensive minded team, without the greatest line mates, he also had his lowest Shot % in his career at 7.7%…that was down 3% from his career average…and if you guys don’t know Richards game (because you only read a NY blog opinion) its PUCK POSSESSION and finesse passes. He will fit in so well on a line of Saad and Kane that its ridiculous. If Kane stays healthy next season, he will have a outstanding chance at 40 goals, and with his wingers, Richards could easily have 50+ assists. And where did anyone read that Richards can’t skate??? WTF? Who starts these things? Richards isn’t the fastest skater in the league, but he isn’t slow. To begin to compare his skating to Zus is just STUPID and ignorant. There will be NO issues with Richards keeping up to Kane and Saad, Who can’t play a 200? game without wheels, and Richards has been a 200? player for the last 10 seasons.

    Richards also has a “flat line” personality like Toews…he is calm and consistent. He is a BIG TIME leader because he practises what he preaches…and while Richards doesn’t line guys up for big hits, he finishes his checks and is NOT easily taken off the puck nor intimated by a physical game (the guy is 6’2 200 lbs). He’s perfect to lineup against the Blues and the Kings…and this is why this move was SO CRUCIAL today…you know the King’s lineup down the middle…and Blues added Stastny…this is why we HAD TO go out and sign a Richards-like player. Look at our Centre depth now…Toews, Richards, Shaw, Kruger, Regin, Ben Smith and TT. That’s gives us 3 Centres who can dominate at the dot, and don’t forget how much better Shaw was once he made those changes, and 7 centres who can all skate and contribute.

    And if all of this wasn’t enough for you, think of TT…we just gave him an entire season to acclimate himself to the NHL…believe me, he will get his shots this season…we don’t want Richards playing all 82 games…the one knock on Richards that I am aware of, is that he did tire during the playoff run…but that’s an extremely long season for a 34 year old playing 19 minutes a game. If Richards plays 68-72 games for us, that will be more than enough…we have Regin and TT than can easily fill in for him during those gruelling stretches and closer to the end of the season.

    This is a great move by Bowman. Richards is still a top Centre in this league and with Saad and Kane as his wingers, he can and will produce with no liabilities…TT is allowed to work on his muscle count and 2 way play over another season, and will be that much more ready to take the role the year after. This is a move that allows us to compete for the Cup again this coming season…and in fact, as long as Bowman effectively addresses the Defence (once Oduya gets dealt), the Hawks are my favourites to win the Cup.

    So 2 thumbs WAY UP to Stan Bowman for finally adequately addressing the 2nd line Centre position!

  23. RTF –

    Saad – Toews – Kane
    Sharp – Richards – Hossa
    Bickell – Kruger – Shaw
    Morin – Smith – Nordstrom

    Assume Versteeg is gone, Regin is a reserve, Rasmussen in on the Rockford Shuttle and Teuvo starts the year in Rockford.

    “…and that ain’t bad.”

  24. What is all this fantasy about Zus helping our PK? He wasn’t good at all…he was not even serviceable…the single most important aspect for a PK Centre is winning the F/O…last season Zus won only 46% of his draws…only 42% on the PK…he did not have the speed to both challenge the points and collapse the box to deny rebound chances…so he just stood there trying to block shots. That’s not great penalty killing. Our PK went up when Corey Crawford rebounded his PK #s from an atrocious start to the year. With Zus, the Hawks largely played a very dangerous PK system of just allowing teams to setup in our zone and blast shots at the net (not smart). With Zus gone, Smith and Kruger will be one pairing, with Toews and Hoss/etc. the other…this will allow our PK to be more aggressive, like we tried to be later in the Kings series when they started scoring on almost every chance. Addition by Subtraction.

    By adding Brad Richards and resigning Peter Regin, and consequently getting rid of Zus and Bollig, the Hawks just got a LOT better, and we should have won the SC this season. Richards played a long, gruelling season in NY with very limited wingers, and had his lowest shot % in his career and still potted 20 goals. And he’s known for being an elite playmaker, centring Kane and Saad…wow, we just got a whole lot better.

  25. who are pierre cedric labrie and cody bass? Richards is as good as we could have done it seems, so you can not complain.

  26. Sr. Brad – By adding Brad Richards and resigning Peter Regin, and consequently getting rid of Zus and Bollig, the Hawks just got a LOT better

    “…and that ain’t bad.”

  27. Richards is a low risk flyer. If he has anything left in the tank will be the question. What will be most interesting is the fact that he isn’t a protypical Q type player. So let’s see how an emerging AARP line of Sharp – Richards – Hossa can do. Good news is Teuvo can spend a year in Rockford.

    We have an issue at Center still. We also lack a level of ruggedness and size that could be an acute problem. How do you think LA, SL, MN and DAL are going to approach the Hawks in the regular season and playoffs? I worry about this a lot right now. You should too. Hell, even a declining Phoenix could give is fits in this department. And you know how Nashville approaches hockey, probably even withou the genius of Trotz behind the controls.

    Hawks need a stout take no crap blueliner. They also need a forward with some friggin size who is built like a brick sh!thouse and plays the game like Shaw.

  28. So what could Bowman get for Leddy and Versteeg in a packaged deal? Oduya stays because he can move the puck and the Hammer and he have beautiful chemistry. Leddy is replaceable and should bring back a quality return.

  29. Funny. I posted at 1:06pm that Ekland had noted Hawks were talking to Richards and was promptly insulted for even referring to that source (hey Ernie- guess what?!) Look, you have to do some thinking when reviewing the remaining options and Richards made sense with his buyout $$ in the bank- who else was left for Jr to snag that could make a diffrenece with so little cap $$?

    Bottom line, for me, this signing is a BIG deal for a team up against the cap. Richards will be our 2C between 88 and either 10 or 20. That creates a much more balanced attack for the Hawks with the 3rd/4th lines featuring Shaw, Kruger and Regin (who I am also glad we re-signed). Smith can go up and down the lineup. NICE move imho.

  30. Rufus – “They also need a forward with some friggin size who is built like a brick sh!thouse and plays the game like Shaw.”

    Who are some names in the league that fit this, available or not? (I’m not disagreeing with you or saying they don’t exist, I’m just curious who you would love to have to fit this role)

  31. Look at what Tampa got for Sam Gagner. Purcell was flipped for Gagner. Which was a bit of a lateral move. Then they send Gagner and Crombeen to Phoenix for a 6th round pick. And Tampa has to retain a third of Gagner’s salary. All to gain a few million in cap space.

    So what’s a package of Versteeg and Leddy worth? Versteeg is a salary dump and other teams know that. Leddy does have value. But packaging them together would water down that value.

  32. Their was a whole site devoted to hockeybuzz. I’m not sure if its updated anymore. Its more about mocking the site and Eklund. Out of 472 rumors posted by Eklund, 15 were correct. I would not take that site as a reliable source of information. Just because someone says something and it happens to come true, doesn’t mean they had inside knowledge of anything. Seeing as how no other more reputable sources had mentioned any prior interest, I doubt Eklund was the only one with a “source”. I’m thrilled Richards is here. I’d just take Eklund with a grain of salt

  33. I like the move, he’s a real pro-we are somewhat better off than last year-but the Kings are the Kings and three teams in the West are better-
    we need a couple of he younger kids (Morin and one of the D-Men) to step up and take on important roles.
    Don’t know about losing Leddy’s wheels. Someone said Leddy is replaceable-with who?
    He’s 23, who can skate like him in the organization?

  34. Throw Scott Darling in there too. No idea who he is. But he’s a big local kid that put up solid numbers in Milwaukee. I think its safe to assume Darling, Bass, and Labrie are all headed to Rockford.

  35. Cody Bass..has played 49 games in the NHL in total on and off since 2006 with Senators and Blue Jackets ..27yrs old 6′ 216lb…GP 40 2g 3a 5pts -3, 71 PIM

    Pierre Cedric Labrie…has played 46 games in NHL since 2012 with Tampa Bay 28 yrs old 6’3 234lbs ..GP 46 2g 3a 5pts 65 PIM

    Both seem to tough guy enforcer types not afraid of a fight.

  36. The last time Martin havlat was playing for a contract, he was mr consistency playing w/ Ladd and bolland. He also knows Hossa well having played w/ him in Ottawa. I would have signed havlat, play him w/ hossa and sharp @ center (or other option, kruger bickell and havlat, substantially similar line to havlat’s last line here). And 500k cheaper than Richards. We’ll see how it plays out. PS. I am still waiting to read the identity of bollig’s agent. Bollig is the 7th highest paid forward on Calgary.

  37. Noonan96, “Don’t know about losing Leddy’s wheels. Someone said Leddy is replaceable-with who?” – (in my opinion,) good point. The Hawks haven’t had a d-man who can skate like him since Doug Wilson. Certainly, Leddy would bring a lot in return. Maybe, the better deal would be to move Oduya (preferably for a good pick next year) and move Leddy to “Top 4″…Keith/Hjalmarsson & Seabrook/Leddy…? And, maybe Dahlback plays his way into 5th d-man?

  38. TheConstant, “Rufus – “They also need a forward with some friggin size who is built like a brick sh!thouse and plays the game like Shaw.” — GOOD question. These guys, especially with any skill, are extremely difficult to find, it seems.

  39. Me smells a trade…

    Hawks just got another “great skater, w/ no size” to replace 8 or 27… on the cheap…
    Kyle Cumiskey… so if Cden/Dahlbeck/Runbad don’t work out… here is another cheap option…
    but IT is coming!!!

    Package on of them w/ 23 PLEASE!!!

  40. I think we got better in the past week, but more needs to be done. Certainly moving out Bollig and Zus was very positive. Richards will help, because he will be playing with better talent here. I believe the Hawks still need to get bigger up front and on the back line as well. Some d men and forwards willing to punish. I thought SB would be willing to move perhaps Seabrook and or Sharp to meet those needs. Lots of salary cap room would be created. With those 2 players you also have some bargaining power to make this team bigger and in my opinion better. You have to give quality to get what you want. Overall, the Hawks are a very good team, but while I hate to say it LA beat us because they were bigger and deeper, especially up the middle. I think SB has helped make the Hawks deeper up the middle. The Regin re-sign was a good move. Richards should be an upgrade over Zus for sure.

    I thought the Hawks lost this year because of a few things. Not skating 4 lines consistently, Q being stubborn with Zus all year when the guy had nothing left in the tank, and at the end they were just worn out. Reflecting back to the playoff run ( which by the way now seems like a long time ago) the Hawks really struggled in 3rd periods. Lots of mental errors made along with physical mistakes defensively that were not characteristic of this team. Seabrook was very noticeable in this dept. but there were forwards too that that didn’t get back and mark their guys or their space well. I place much blame on Q with his lineup choices. Hawks could have skated 4 lines and he chose not to do so after riding his star players hard all year. Sitting Regin and Morin was silly when you had Bollig and Versteeg playing few minutes sitting on the bench most of the game. Extra minutes on the core guys had them running on empty. I am a big Q fan, but we should have been in the finals this year. It’s so hard to get there, and we all need to appreciate this. Getting there next year will be just as tough or tougher. Western conference, and our division especially is very competitive. Minn will be better, Colo. too. St Louis was overrated, but we barely beat them and Minn.

    I don’t thin Bowman is done. I think a big trade is looming that I hope fulfills some size and strength issues. The trade needs to get done, and it might now sit well with some fans if guys like Seabs and Sharpy go. I am a big fan of those two guys for sure, but LA has now become the team to beat even though they had everything go there way during the playoffs this year.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  41. Those prospects the Hawks signed were all RTFs who were not offered a contract…just like the 5 or 6 the Hawks prospects the Hawks did not give offers to. We mainly swapped AHL depth players… big shakes

  42. Mike- I agree for the most part on the RTF’s… But they did seem to go after size…
    So If someone goes down… or 42 wets the bed vs. Forecheck… or some team(s) start taking liberties w/ Hawks… One of these BIG goons might be brought in… especially if they can JUST skate!!!

    This goalie- is intriguing… Might be the SB- “late bloomer”… 6’6” tall… coming off of his best year…

  43. Rufus, how is the current roster any less “rugged” than the roster of the past 2 seasons (you know, the ones that won a Cup and fell a single goal short of another)?

  44. And regarding Richards, how can anyone deny that he is a monumental upgrade at #2C? At the price point and term the hawks were stuck at, who was available that is better?

    I fully expect Richards to fall in the 40-50 point range. Even if it is close to 40, when was the last time the hawks had either a #2C who scored over 30 points and had a FO% over 49%?

    13-14: Handzus 4-12-16, 49.6
    12-13: Bolland 7-7-14, 46.1 (below a 30 pt pace)
    11-12: Kruger 9-17-26, 45.9 (and Kane’s disastrous run at #2C)
    10-11: Frolik/Kopeckey (ugh) with Sharp taking the majority of the draws

  45. To those of you worried about “size”, how did Stan not address size down the middle? Brad Richards, 6’2″ two bills. He is not huge, but definitely not small. There are only so many giant, good, 2 way centers than can play that 2 spot in the bigs AND would have fit under the Hawks’ cap dilemma. I guess we better trade TT (5’11” 169) in hurry, eh?

    Brown 6’0″ 207, Carter 6’4″212, Kopitar 6’3″ 224, Richards 5’11” 196, Stoll 6’1″ 213

    On D? I would rather see Odie and not Leds the one let go. I think Leddy has a fairly strong upside. I don’t have an inside track to the Hawks’ GM strategies, Tab provides that. But I don’t believe the Hawks will be able to afford Leddy when he goes RFA next year, unless Seabs is traded next off season, which definitely could happen with Dahlbeck, Johns, and TVR in the wings. So from a GM perspective today, Odie only has 1 more affordable year on his contract and is not going to get the value in trade. Leddy will get you good picks and/or prospects, which is what this team is built on. And so we should see Clendenning and maybe Dahlbeck get a shot this year if they show up in camp. For what its worth, Snuggerud is Leddy Part II. Top high school D in Minnie last year, same HS, same speed, O tendencies, 1 inch shorter than Leds, 3 – 5 year project, etc..

  46. Wall, I watched Scott Darling in goal 3 times this past year and each time I said how is this guy not in the NHL. He’s good and HUGE…so I agree, intriguing.

    The only downside to signing Richards??? Toews will now have to change his number…

    Just kidding…Richards took #91…first time ever for the Hawks…

  47. Sr. Brad, thanks for the Darling info. I thought this was a rock solid signing based on available info, but it is great to hear from someone who knows player evaluation and has seen him in person. This guy is just now getting into Stan’s “goalie maturity” wheelhouse and it looks like he definitely is going to get a hard look from the brass this year.

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