All of the focus of the offseason talk will be around Brad Richards. He fills a big hole for the Rangers, and is the only premier free agent on the market this summer. It makes sense that all the talk will focus around him. When looking at Richards, the talk centers are two things, of which only one is true. The first is that he will command a high salary, which is very true (assume he gets Marian Gaborik type money). The second is that he is injury prone. That can’t be further from the truth. In fact, Richards is the exact opposite of injury prone.
Richards has played at least 80 games in all but two seasons in his career. He even played 84 games in 2007-2008, when he was traded to Tampa Bay to Dallas. He missed significant time in 2008-2009 when he broke his wrist, playing just 56 games. The wrist has not bothered him since that season.
What people are focusing on is the concussion this past season, which limited him to “just” 72 games. Concussions are a tricky thing, and I can understand the concern when signing a player to a long-term deal who has had a concussion in the past. But that doesn’t explain the blatant mis-labeling of Richards as both concussion prone and injury prone. One concussion does not mean either. It is actually very tiresome to have this discussion a lot, hence this rant.
Let’s all take a step back and think about this rationally. Is someone who has suffered just one concussion and one broken wrist over a period of ten seasons injury prone? Would you call this player injury prone? Of course not. Let’s remember that Derek Stepan had a concussion prior to the 2010 Frozen Four Championship game. He still played, and he had a great rookie season this year.
Let’s stop with the concussion prone and injury prone talk with Richards now, ok? Please? It’s completely illogical and irrational. If you want to fear that giving a long-term contract to a 31 year old is risky, then that makes a lot more sense. Worried about concussions? Sure, I mean, let’s worry about Henrik Lundqvist head-butting the puck every game too. That killed Mike Richter’s career. See what I did there?