Jul 1, 2014, 10:31 PM EDT
A decade after winning a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Brad Richards found himself in a championship round again in a losing cause with the New York Rangers. He showed that he’s willing to sacrifice money and term to try to make it back a lot sooner by agreeing to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks today.
It doesn’t sound like it was that tough of a decision for a player with a lot to prove not that long after being bought out by the Rangers.
“I’m pretty confident that I can still play a lot of hockey in this league,” Richards said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I just went to the Stanley Cup Final. You get the itch when you get that far — you want to win.”
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman seemed impressed that Richards, 34, was willing to take a smaller deal in order to improve his odds of another championship.
“It’s a testament to Brad and how badly he wants to win,” Bowman said. “I don’t doubt that he left more money and term on the table.”
Considering how tight Chicago’s cap situation is – and will almost certainly be with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane needing new deals by next offseason – it’s unlikely that Richards will be with Chicago for very long. Still, it’s a great opportunity for the veteran forward and an opportunity for the Blackhawks to ease much-hyped young forward Teuvo Teravainen into a possible second-line center mode (rather than throwing him to the wolves in a brutal Western Conference).
Rangers GM praised Richards for his great influence on his team’s young players. That would just be a bonus for the Blackhawks, as merely buying Teravainen time – and providing added scoring touch – could make this deal one of July 1’s biggest bargains.
Richards has some work to do to prove that he can still be a difference-maker as a top-six forward, though.
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