Brad Richards at this point is pretty much back to his old self. I think we’re passed the “safe period” for that. He’s skating much better with the puck and making good decisions on the ice. He’s even shooting on the power play very nicely, with Callahan even re-directing his shot last night against Montreal. He’s also still a big part of the locker room.
I think Richards’ goals total will be in the mid twenties and I think with Nash coming back he can finish in the mid 40′s to mid 50′s in assists. Nash and the coming together of the Rangers team offensively coming together should really give Richards a boost.
If Richards though can come close to a point per game he’s suddenly trade material. It’s certainly mind boggling how much perception on a player can change, but it’s the truth. Brad Richards would be trade material again because the Rangers really can’t afford to keep him on the roster.
My crazy thought is if Brad Richards becomes a free agent there will be competition to sign him. Now Brad Richards has a NMC making a trade much more difficult, but if he were willing to accept the fact the Rangers can’t keep him, he could have a say in choosing the next team he plays for.
If Sather says “Hey Brad, we can’t keep you on the team next season, so we’re either going to buy you out or look to trade you. Please give me a list of teams of where you would consider playing next.” How could you not submit a list of teams if you are Brad Richards? How else can you keep your lucrative contract, and go possibly to the hockey team of your choice?
If I were him I’d definitely try to keep the contract he has right now. It’s insane how much he’s getting and how many years he’s getting it for. Now there aren’t too many teams that can afford his cap hit and salary, but they’re out there for sure. Those teams though probably don’t have much of a chance of signing Brad Richards in free agency though. Basically these are Brad’s options if my above ultimatum by Sather is made:
A) Accept a trade to a team he probably doesn’t like in order to keep his current contract.
B) Get bought out, accept a worse contract than he has currently by a team he probably likes.
C) Go to the KHL.
D) Join Sean Avery in the fashion industry.
So there you have it. If I’m Richards in this scenario I’m hoping a team I like comes calling. If not, well maybe you take your talents to a lesser team because you want all that money. After all, after his hockey career that’s what he’s going to need and want right?
It’ll certainly be interesting though to see how this all plays out.
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