Brad Richards Signs with the New York Rangers
The most coveted free agent on the market, Brad Richards, finally made his decision this past Saturday. Richards decided to sign with the New York Rangers for a nine year deal worth $60 million dollars. Some teams came down to Toronto to make presentations to Brad Richards while others sent there offers in to his agent and hoped for the best. It wasn't a big surprise that Richards decided to sign with the Rangers. Take a look who is currently coaching the Rangers, John Tortorella, and you can recall that the two have had great success together from their days in Tampa. Richards must have felt that by reuniting with his old coach, he could join a talented young team and take the Rangers to the next level. If we take a look at the deal Richards has signed with the Rangers, of note are the last three years of it which will pay Richards $1 million per season. The added years help lower Richards average salary and thus his cap hit. The ultimate question is whether Richards is going to live up to his new contract in New York. I guess we will all have to wait and see. If we take a look at the past, the Rangers have recently thrown around big money to players like Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Wade Redden, none of whom remain on the team. Gomez is underachieving on the Habs, Drury was bought out a few weeks ago and is now a free agent, while Redden is in the AHL. Brad Richards is only thirty one years old which is his prime, and I feel that he has a few good years left in him. His last two years in Dallas were his best there, in 2009-2010 he had 91 points in 80 games which was his highest point total ever since 2005-2006 when he had 91 points with the Tampa Bay Lighting. Last year he had 77 points in 72 games. He has missed some time in the past few years with injuries, but has proven that if he can stay healthy he is a very dominant offensive player. Richards is expected to be centering the Rangers top line along side Marian Gaborik. Marian Gaborik had 48 points last season in 62 games played. He is also a big injury concern and needs to stay healthy. Gaborik had his best season in 2009-2010 when he had 86 points in 76 games with 42 goals and 44 assists. If these two can find chemistry together on the ice they will be dangerous to play against. Marian Gaborik will now have a true number one center to play with him. For the next four to five seasons I could see Richards easily putting up 70 plus points in New York. He has already surpassed the 70 plus plateau six times in his career. Brandon Dubinsky who had a career year last season with 54 points in 77 games (24 goals and 30 assists) can now move to the 2nd line at center. This signing will also help out the Rangers power play which struggled last year and finished 18th in the NHL. If you take a look at Richards career, he is a really good power play specialist averaging 25 points on the power play at least eight times in his career. Overall its a good signing for the Rangers, I wasn't too happy with the 9 years that were offered but for the next 4-5 seasons he should be a solid player and help the Rangers out. All you New York fans should be happy and excited for this upcoming season to see what Richards can bring to your squad.