Brad Richards Is Not Injury Prone

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?

16 Responses to “Brad Richards Is Not Injury Prone”

  1. JT says:

    I agree, Dave. It’s astonishing that Richards has had so few injuries in ten years. Heck, Callihan had two major injuries just last season, and he’s still considered by Ranger fans one of the most important (if not THE most important) player in the team’s immediate future. If we can grab BR, we should. But only if his price, and more importantly his contract term, is not too ridiculous. I don’t know Richards well enough to say that he’s a hungry player, but that would be my main criteria. I’d take a hungry player with slightly less talent over a complacent superstar any day. If BR is dying to win another cup, he’s probably worth his price.

    • mike says:

      You are a smart man. I feel the exact same way and always have. Ill take a man with heart and a hatred of losing over a more talented complacent player anyday

  2. KevBelz says:

    I am pretty sure that the “hype” surrounding injury prone depictions of players comes primarily from the past experiences of the Rangers signing older players who tend to become injured while finishing out their careers at MSG.
    For an older player to sign with the Rangers for a LOT of money at this point, the odds are stacked against them. They NEED to put up big numbers AND stay healthy or fans will be calling for Sather’s head.

  3. Matt J says:

    Come on Torts work your magic to get this guy back your team.

  4. The Suit says:

    Amen

  5. Mike says:

    Ill take richards anyday. I just dont want them to sign him to some rediculous long contract. id give him 4 years 5 mnax anymore than that and I would not be to happy. My thinking may seem wrong to many but long term contracts today at his age are just to much it seems

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    A career – player.
    Defensively regressed over time.
    He can pass the puck.
    Another leader by example.
    And you forgot last year was the 3rd time that he didn’t play more than 80 games.
    Not to mention his up and down years in terms of points the last 5 seasons.

    Pass. Spend the money more wisely.

    • Dave says:

      Callahan was a -7 this year, and a -12 last year. +/- is a biased stat, stick to GVT.

      BR GVT was 15.2 this year.

      • Mikeyyyy says:

        This year.

        Let’s trend. If you can show me he has maintained a solid gvt for the past 5 seasons. I will shut up.

        Its going to cost us at least 6 mil a year to sign this guy.

        The only people I want to spen that money on are solid consistent players.

        Richards had a great season last year. But can he maintain that next year.

        I’m not saying he’s a bad player, but a center in torts system had to be defensively responsible.

        And for the money he will demand because of this last season, I want to be sure that next year will be like this year. Can you statistically show that he can do that again.

        If someone’s stats go up and down. How can you be sure we are paying for someone who will perform? Or will he wilt under the increased scrutiny of msg.

        Personally I don’t see him putting a season like last year together again next year. Because he has the ups and downs.

        6-7 million should buy you someone who is consistently producing at a high rate not just every once and a while.

        • Dave says:

          2000-2001: 6.9
          2001-2002: 7.9
          2002-2003: 13.2
          2003-2004: 19.4
          2005-2006: 17.9
          2006-2007: 13.4
          2007-2008: 11.2
          2008-2009: 7.8 (thru 56 games, averaged out it becomes 11.4)
          2009-2010: 16.1
          2010-2011: 17.5

          Yea, I’ll take someone trending up the past three years.

  7. Vincent R. Porter says:

    The Brad Richards of the next five years will not be the Brad Richards of the past 10 years. See Chris Drury. See also:

    http://bestsportsbook.name/nhl-news/when-is-an-nhl-players-prime-age/

    http://www.behindthenethockey.com/2010/1/21/1261318/nhl-points-per-game-peak-age

    This is why free agent signings so often disappoint. By the time players hit free agency, many of them are about ready for free fall. Richards may be the exception, but, his stats are not pointing that way.

    • Dave says:

      See my comment above. I’m not disagreeing that there’s a risk with Richards. However, he is trending up, and it’s worth the risk, as the Rangers need a #1 center.

    • RangerSmurf says:

      There’s no doubt that the 90 point version of Richards has a very limited window. His regression with age though may be to the 70-80 point level though, which obv won’t be worth what they end up paying him, but will still be above most, if not all, players on our team.

      What you hope for with BR is that his decline comes at the same time as the rise of Anisimov/Stepan.

  8. Matt J says:

    Richards won’t get better statistically unless he really plays amazing with his line mates and they really click. You just hope that he throughout the length of his contract remains the same. Any one who says we should not sign this guy or even attempt to has to live under a rock, because without a guy like him we will continue to not make it past the first round. Richards was the young gun when Tampa won the cup. He had Andreychuck to guide him. Now he will hopefully guide Stepan, and even Dubinsky and Cally to the promised land.

  9. rob sahm says:

    richards is going to want a 7 year at least 7 million per at 31 years of age that to me is steep remember rangers fan chris drury.