General Manager Glen Sather landed his Plan A, signing center Brad Richards. The signing is exactly what the Rangers need; an elite play making center to help jump start Marian Gaborik. The Rangers now have two elite talents on their top line, giving them the primary scoring they so desperately needed to compliment the loads of secondary and tertiary scoring the team already has. There is no denying the talent that Richards brings to the Rangers.
Richards averages a little less than a point per game over his career, roughly 70 points per season. Over the life of the contract, I’d expect Richards to be above that average for a few seasons, at the average for a few seasons, and below the average for a few seasons. That’s why they call it an average. What we can expect is improved scoring and a drastically improved powerplay with Richards on board.
The contract is a little outrageous, a nine year deal worth $58.5 million ($6.5 million cap hit). While the term is a bit longer than most liked, no one can really argue with the dollar figure. Landing Richards at $6.5 million per year is a steal, even if it is for nine years. Nine years was the limit before that “over 40″ clause kicked in, so this deal works out for both sides. It is expected that this deal is incredibly front loaded for Richards to protect against potential roll-backs.
The biggest concern with Richards, aside from the contract, is his one concussion from last season. My view on this has been very well documented: Brad Richards simply does not have a concussion problem, and is not injury prone. Yes, he had a concussion last season. Yes, it can be a cause for concern. But he has only had one concussion his entire career, that does not make him an injury concern. Richards averages over 70 games played per year. I’ll take that any day.
The Rangers landed their man. It’s a good thing too, because I’m pretty sure we were all worried about what Plan B was.
Update: It appears the contract details were a little off. It’s $60 million over nine years, making it an average of $6.7 million per year.