Blackhawks' Brad Richards says half the league would play in Chicago if not for salary cap

by Jul 26, 11:06 AM

It's clear that money isn't Brad Richards' main objective after signing a short-term deal with the Chicago Blackhawks for a chance to win another Stanley Cup.

Richards, who won his first championship with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Blackhawks in the offseason and says it's a destination that would attract a lot more players if the league didn't have financial restrictions.

“If it wasn’t for the salary cap, half the league would want to play here,” Richards said in an interview on the team's website. "For a long period of time, Detroit was the destination point for veteran free agents who wanted to go play with great players for a chance to win the Cup. Now that place is Chicago. Great city, great organization, Original Six franchise.”

Richards went on to describe his experience playing in another big city when he was a member of the New York Rangers and how it differs from Chicago.

“There’s a lot going on in New York. When the Rangers are winning, it’s big. But when it’s over, it’s over,” he said. “There’s a lot going on in Chicago too, but it’s the middle of July and the Blackhawks are relevant. What’s happened here is remarkable.”

He also revealed that he had multiple offers on the table, but said he's been afforded the opportunity to be "picky" at this stage in his career after two lucrative contracts with both the Rangers and Lightning.

"I had other options beside Chicago, maybe for a longer contract and more money," Richards said. "But as soon as I heard from Stan [Bowman, Blackhawks GM], and later talked to [Head Coach] Joel Quenneville, there was no doubt for me.


Jul 1, 5:51 PM

Blackhawks sign Brad Richards: 'Unbelievable opportunity to think about joining the group'

by Jul 1, 5:51 PM
Bruce Bennett / Getty

In a matter of days, Brad Richards went from competing for the Stanley Cup Final to being bought out by the New York Rangers; on Tuesday, he made the most of his status as an unrestricted free agent by signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. 

While a $2-million deal serves as a significant pay cut from his previous contract, it was the opportunity to sign with another contending team that excited him the most.

Richards added "It's a great group that has been together and knows how to win. I can't wait to get to work."

In 82 games with the Rangers in 2013-14, Richards scored 20 goals and added 31 asssts. General manager Stan Bowman clearly believes Richards can still contribute on the ice, but he also cited other "intangibles" that the veteran will bring to the table.

Jul 1, 4:37 PM

Blackhawks sign Brad Richards to 1-year, $2M contract

by Jul 1, 4:37 PM
Bruce Bennett / Getty

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed ex-Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, and New York Rangers pivot Brad Richards, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

The 34-year-old center is something of a liability at five-on-five at this point in his career, especially against tough competition. That New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault monitored Richards' matchups and deployment so closely in the regular season is a red flag, as is his demotion to the fourth-line against the Los Angeles Kings.

Like many formerly elite talents whose two-way abilities are diminished due to advancing age, Richards remains a productive offensive player despite having lost a step and his 'fastball' in recent years. Richards can direct traffic with the best of them on the power-play (though ideally from the half-wall and not from the point, as he was forced to do in New York), and remains a stellar set up man.

At this point in his career Richards is probably best suited to an offensively calibrated depth role on a good team...