Determining someones impact on a club is a tough metric to measure. It is a debate among the analytics community that never seems to die. How much do good players impact the club positively and how much do bad players impact the team negatively. For Brad Richards, most of his career was spent in the black as a player, who impacted his team positively whenever he stepped on the ice. That is a hell of a reputation to have going into retirement.
An unbelievable player in the QMJHL, Richards had a lot to live up to in his career and would always seem to meet expectations. Drafted in the third round by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Richards was nearly a two point per game player that fell right into the lap of the Bolts. His rookie year in the NHL, Richards scored 62 points and was only named to the all-rookie team. Unbelievable to think about in today’s NHL. After winning a cup with the Lightning, Richards a few years later would be traded to the Stars where they had a few uneventful years.
Like almost every veteran in the past decade, Richards signed with the Rangers after his experiment with the Stars failed to live up to his expectations. It was an unbelievable contract and one that he was never able to live up to as he was bought out only three years into a nine-year deal. He will still be getting paid for his contract when I am old and have kids running around.
What they did allow Richards to do, was chase the Stanley Cup as a mercenary of sorts. He joined the Chicago Blackhawks and won a cup with them. Only scoring 37 points that year, it looked like his best years may already be behind him. That is where the Red Wings joined the mix.
The Red Wings signed him to a one-year deal worth three million dollars with bonuses that could have reached up to four million dollars in total. Richards didn’t have much left in the tank and only mustered 27 points on the year and a possession rate that was merely average.
While going out on top would have been nice for Richards his career isn’t going to be forgotten anytime soon. 101st in all time scoring and two Stanley Cups on his resume, he has nothing to be sour about. It is unknown where Richards goes from here but with a mind like his, don’t be surprised if he lands at a front office somewhere. For now, congratulations on your retirement Brad, you’ve had a hell of a career.