Impact Player: What Brad Richards Means In Chicago
What does it mean for the Blackhawks to have a legit center for their second line in Brad Richards? And what does it mean for Richards to skate with the talented Blackhawks forwards?
Who did Richards play with in New York last year? And who will he skate with in Chicago? Let’s look at the stats of a forward with whom Richards spent the most time during last year’s regular season, and compare them with a player he might spend significant time with this coming year.
|Player A||Player B|
Not very different… until you look at the rest of the picture.
|Player A||Player B|
Who are they?
Player A is Carl Hagelin. Richards spent 51.9 percent of his regular season even-strength ice time with Hagelin, the most of any Rangers forward.
Player B is Patrick Kane, the Hawks’ young superstar who figures to see a lot of Richards if/when coach Joel Quenneville splits Kane and Jonathan Toews this season.
Think Richards is thrilled by the potential of skating with a player of Kane’s caliber?
The feeling is undoubtedly mutual.
Kane was a point-per-game player last season in spite of skating with (too) many centers. During the 2013-14 regular season, Kane spent 29.6 percent of his even strength ice time with Michal Handzus, the second-highest total of any Kane linemate (Brandon Saad – 32.5).
Handzus scored four goals and added 12 assists in 59 games. He won 49.6 percent of his faceoffs in his final season in Chicago.
Last season, on an offensively challenged Rangers team, Richards scored 20 goals with 31 assists in 82 games. He averaged 18:41 on the ice per night. He won 49.8 percent of his faceoffs in New York.
35 thoughts on “Impact Player: What Brad Richards Means In Chicago”
Tab, love it when you do the Player A – Player B charts, always opens my eyes to compare what I think to what the stats actually show. As long as Richards hasn’t hit the wall stage of his career – and it doesn’t look like he is there yet – both he and Kane should really benefit from playing together. Even if you put him with Hossa and Sharp forming a vet line, leaving Toews with Kane and Saad on a young vet line, Richards should have a good year. Q should have plenty of combinations to throw in the blender this year without Handzus and Bolig to gum up the works.
There is little doubt Richards (this season) is an upgrade over Handzus (last season). There is no doubt that Richards (867 pts in 982 games) always was a better player than Handzus (482 pts in 1009 games). Richards has a career 2:1 assist to goal ratio but he can put the puck in the net too which should mesh well with Kane’s elite passing. I guess you never know for sure until they actually play together but I think Richards and Kane will play very well together – both of them should get more/better scoring opportunities than they did last season. Saad should also benefit having Richards on the line with him and I would be surprised if Saad improves his 19 goals from last season – maybe even a 30+ goal season if Q keep the three of them together all years.
DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!
I wish I knew how to edit a post – but I don’t so this post is to edit the post above. I meant to say “wouldn’t” instead of “would”:
Saad should also benefit having Richards on the line with him and I wouldn’t be surprised if Saad improves his 19 goals from last season – maybe even a 30+ goal season if Q keep the three of them together all years.
Its very difficult to know how much Richards has left in his tank, but one thing is clear, last year showed that he hasn’t lost a thing offensively. Those numbers, with his line mates, on that Rangers team with their style of play were nothing short of amazing. Yes, he did show his age towards the end of their long playoff run, but that can be managed.
But the benefits to the Richards signing don’t just stop with his play. Being able to say to Terravanien that you are our guy moving forward, now relax, work on your game and your strength, will have huge consequences to his development.
Putting Richards into our lineup as the 2nd line centre provides one thing in particular, STABILITY, and stability always leads to confidence. An even more confident Hawks team is one that will NOT give up so many leads…that will play stronger with a lead, and will be able to focus more on Special teams.
This signing makes us a VERY deep hockey team that will be able to roll 4 lines all throughout the playoffs, which essentially makes us unbeatable in a 7 game series…we were already FAR ahead with the addition by subtraction mentality (no Zus and Bollig) and by adding Richards, Morin and some of our other youth, we are that much better as a result. The Kings will always be tough, but the Hawks have the advantage once again heading into 2014=15.
I am excited to see the % of Richards or Toews time with Kane. So when q changes things up Kane is still with a top center.
Also hoping Kane/Saad even strength time doubles!
I am dreaming of the following come Christmas:
Saad – Captain – Kane
Hoss – BR – TT
Sharp – Shaw – Bickell
Morin – Kruger – Smith
I like Hossa w/ TT to help him build his defensive game.
Sharp should get some good match ups on the third line. Maybe switch bickell and Smith between 3 and 4 line. Plus 4 strong lines will keep fresh legs through the season.
Yes, if Q stops playing around with the lines this year, and provides continuity, Sharp, Toews, Kane and Saad should all get over 30 goals…but the key will be having Bickell, Shaw, and Morin all hit 20…Ben Smith can chip in with another 15…and of course Richards and Hossa will be between 20 and 30…that’s a ton of depth scoring.
As I have said all along, the key is getting better defensively, to that end I WANT Oduya gone…its time for the Hawks to get a little bigger, stronger on the back end…I will take Dahlbeck’s inexperience over Oduya’s “speed” game. Runblad will get the first month of the season to prove he belongs or he will be gone. I really like the thought of Dahlbeck, Clendening, and Johns over the next 2 seasons in CHI as they all bring strength and toughness to a group that can use it…plus Leddy is ready to step up and shine.
Thanks Tab for the comparison… One thing I find very interesting is that Handzus had so few points even with Kane on his line…
I will not miss the days of him lumbering up the ice (out of breath by the red line) only to have to turn around and head to the bench for a line change because he couldn’t get into the offensive zone fast enough.
Anyway, “the rub on Richards” (from Rangers fans) is how slow he is… Nothing compares to Handzus! Richards will look like a speed skater in comparison!
I called Brad Richards, “Bad Richards” during the playoffs, but like Tab says “the offensively challenged Rangers team” is probably the reason he may have looked slow to Rangers fans…
We shall see.
Why was Richards on the 4th line in the SC finals last year? That strikes me as something to worry about.
Richards will be of “Extreme” value on the power play , he plays below the line, in tight and the corners and is an accurate shot. He will do well on face offs too. He just might be the “focus” if the Hawks go to the CUP or not the rest of the team is dependable too. Interesting season coming up. I love Hagelin would make an even better hawks, maybe a Morin in disguise?
There was something about our PP when Soupy was here. I am thinking with Richards we ll do the same.
Same with Teuvo too.
morrison – good point about the prospect of having a better PP with not only Richards but also TT (eventually), who hasn’t proven it at the NHL level (yet) but he is deadly when he gets a little extra room to make those elite level passes.
DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!
Just a tremendous move. The hawks are so much better up the middle today than when they lost game 7. Just watching Richards in his interview from the hawks convention he just oozes with understated confidence that he has come to a great organization to fit in and succeed.
What does Richards mean for the Hawks? For an measly extra $1mm Zues is no longer a center on the Hawks. Even if Richards goes on the DL after 10 games….the Hawks are still ahead. What more is there to say?
Brad- I wish I could share your enthusiasm on Leddy shining………
I was talking with a buddy who is very knowledgable about hockey, I have always liked Leddy & he hasn’t. He finally got through to me…..
While Leddy is extremely talented, he is stuck in the wrong system. His skill set is not being used properly as the Hawks are flush with “offensive” D-men. The kid is a “Paul Coffey” type D-man who wants to run & gun, but he’s told to do things that just are not natural to him…..
Lets hope they start using him properly by playing to his strengths …..
Joey – it seems like Leddy zigs when his teammates zag. I’m not sure where the fault lies but we’ve all seen Leddy carry the puck end to end but not accomplish anything. It seems like most of the time he stays wide or even carries the puck behind the opponent’s net but no other Hawks are in the 0-zone or are in position to receive a pass from Leddy. It’s like Leddy and his teammates aren’t on the same page. It’s a shame that for whatever reason the Hawks aren’t maximizing Leddy’s puck carrying abilities.
I think Leddy is going to have a very good season and “break through” as it were…but only time will tell. As for the PP, the ultimate cure is proper coaching, but just wait until Clendening gets here full time…he is a true PP QB…he will make a significant improvement as he knows when to pass and when to shoot…he’s also very good at “shortening the box” meaning the forwards are much closer to the net for rebounds and point shots are taken closer in…
Fact- Richards has scored A LOT more in his career vs. Zus!!!
Fact- I watched (in spurts) the SC Finals – Kings/NY… asked myself several times…
Where is Brad Richards??? He was invisible during “the spurts” I watched…
with that said- Can he be as slow/useless as Zus w/ Kane??? NO WAY!!!
How good will he be??? DON’T KNOW- but he is PAST his prime for sure.
Thanks ER, I agree. His instincts are to go but the system stifles him, hence he makes mistakes, gets benched, confidence lost….. Repeat….. Now he’s gun shy….
I think he could be D.Keith lite (or even 2.0) if they let him play to his strengths & allow him to create some offense….. JMHO
I think Leddy is more like Campbell than Keith. Campbell often leads the attack and is the first man into the 0-zone, much like Leddy, whereas Keith is rarely the first guy in. Campbell is more in attack mode as he will shoot the puck or knows how to set up trailers better. Leddy is more like the dog that chases the car but has no idea what to do when he catches it. Again – I don’t know if that is all on Leddy or some of that is because his teammates don’t activate and follow him in to make themselves available as trailers. It’s probably some of both. It’s knowing how to read the play and adjust your speed to set up the play – not always to get to the other side as fast as possible.
One thing I’m fairly certain of is that there is unrealized potential in Leddy’s offensive game – hopefully the Hawks find a way to tap into that instead of trading him and having that happen with another team.
Wonder if any thought has been given to moving Leddy to wing?
Just want to say thx to zuz for all he did in our cup run. He is a very perfesional man. Eventually everyones time runs out but he worked extremly hard for the hawks. And was a very important player for us. Good luck in your future endevers.
re: move Leddy to wing – why? Because the Hawks are so desperate for forwards they need to move a skilled young defenseman to a position he’s never played? smh
re: Wall’s “PAST his prime for sure” comment – that’s obvious. But look at the (complete lack of) offense on last year’s Rangers, and consider he hit 50 points with ONE other player on the roster reaching the 20-goal plateau. He isn’t going to blow past people, but his production on that Rangers team at least opens my hopes for there to be more available than we saw based on the upgraded players surrounding him in Chicago.
Teach me. How does the Hawks possession system not fit Leddy? Control the puck through the neutral zone, drive into the O zone in control of the puck, and move it to an open/high man. Leddy does all that doesn’t he?
Assuming we are moving Oduya this year since he gets us nothing after that, Leddy should stay and improve his value for next year or make it hard on the organization to trade him. We need to bring along the young defenseman and Leddy may just be “coming into his prime” so I think he is worth another look. Just as Brian Campbell brings an element not many dmen can, so can Leddy.
Brad Richards is NOT a slow skater, I am not sure how this has become so widespread…but again, don’t take my word for it, watch him come training camp…he will be more than fine on a line with Kane and Saad…as Tab said, he played on a team where only ONE OTHER player scored more than 20 goals…
NHL Channel is showing the 2014 playoff series games and the Flyers/Rangers series was on a couple nights ago. I watched a period or so from a couple games with my focus on watching Richards play. My impression is that he certainly isn’t fleet of skate but he’s not so slow that it limits his effectiveness and he is an effective offensive player. Certainly a big step up from what Handzus provided last season.
Richards is coming here to be a stopgap. Nothing more. I have never been a fan of his game dating back to his prime years in Dallas, but regardless he is a professional Center and will come in here and give whatever it is he has left to give. His skating is below average and he is SLOW, but I don’t see that being an inhibitor for the Hawks. If Richards can be “serviceable” and stay relatively healthy then he will deliver upon what he was brought in here to deliver for a season.
There are only a handful of players in the NHL that can pick the puck up behind his own net and skate to the opposing blue line untouched and in many cases uncontested. That is a God given gift. Leddy does that. Brian Campbell can do it. Phil Housley could do it. On tv it is impressive, in person it is almost electrifying at that level.
Having said all that, at some point for roughly 3 million a year, you must put him out there for 20 minutes a night. The only way to do that is to let him find his comfort zone in the regular season. Things naturally tighten up in the post season where adjustments are key. But set the colt free in the regular season and let’s watch him run. And by the way, his left handed shot from the point is pretty impressive as well.
No way am I suggesting Leddy be moved to wing. That comment was about the banter. I like Leddy and think he has done the job that is asked of him.
Craig – good post.
I’ve posted this several times- not sure if I posted it here – but I hope the Hawks find a way to be Cap compliant for 2014/15 without trading either Oduya or Leddy. But, I would like to see Leddy play on the 2nd d-pairing so he can either prove or disprove he is capable of playing there and worth the salary it will take to re-sign him. The Hawks, with their Cap issues, can’t afford to pay a #5 d-man big bucks long term. Either Leddy can move up and Oduya walks after this season or Leddy isn’t good enough to move up and you trade his RFA rights after the season.
The added benefit of playing of swapping Oduya and Leddy in the lineup is that Oduya would be a better d-man to partner with Rundblad or Dahlbeck or Johns on the 3rd d-pairing because he would provide more experience and have a more settling effect on the young d-man playing with him.
That means Rozsival needs to be gone. He didn’t have much left last year and he would serve only as an obstruction to getting a young (cheap) d-man experience for the 2015/16 season when the Cap crunch gets even tighter.
Thanks e-r, I recently exchanged emails with Scott powers after he had one of his chat sessions on espn site. He pretty much backed up your thinking. He does not expect Stan and company to move oduya, as he believes the hawks are “going for it” in 2014-15.
He also mentioned that he does not think leddy is on the move.
He mentioned roszival as the guy he sees possibly moved to get the cap or possibly versteeg.
I realize this is not fantasy hockey so you can’t just hope these contracts away. But reading into Stan’s remarks after the prospects camp about being patient, and waiting until teams find out what they have or don’t have might actually make a lot of sense.
Fans will love 91. He’s dependable, decent size, takes very few penalties, plays as well on the road as he does at home, when he scores they are usually at much needed times, he was more than good at the dot vs. LA going 18/32 vs big 3. He can even score in shootouts. What’s Not to like? He will be a huge addition …. and considering who we had, c’mon. 91 is gonna seem like Tampa’s 91 compared to ‘zus.
For a guy who is likely 1 and done this is about as good as it gets imo. This a pretty unique situation here. I dont recall anyone being brought in like this, in a high profile spot with the likes of 88 on your wing, to say hi/bye after 1yr. Interesting, really cant wait to see him in action. This ain’t J.Madden we’re gettin.