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

Gordon Brunt

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.