Brad Richards – The Critical Addition

It’s probably obvious that when a team signs a marquee talent it expects a substantial return on it’s investment. However, as we have seen in the past, that hasn’t always been the case with the Rangers. Think back to dark, dirty years without play-off hockey at the MSG and you’ll lose count of big name players simply collecting cheques and giving little in return. These days it’s different. Brad Richards was the right addition at the right time for a club with so much in the way of a bright future.

Even if Richards ‘only’ hits 27 goals and 65 points (the totals he’s on target for), his on-ice presence has resulted in greater depth, team’s having to focus on more than one line – spreading the defensive coverage – and the arrival of another winner in the organisation. Team’s can learn to win, but there’s no harm in accelerating the learning process by adding a proven winner to the mix. Providing the foundations are set.

The Rangers have drafted well and appear to be a young, tight-knit group that play hard for each other. Brad Richards isn’t just a quality player, but he seems to fit in the team dynamic too. He’s influencing the young players like Stepan and Anisimov, he’s a positive guy that is more than happy to share the limelight (Broadway hat anyone?) and he is someone that gladly assumes responsibility. Depending on what your opinion is on long term contracts in a cap world there really is nothing to dislike about the Richards signing.

The Rangers have the best goaltender in the world and a burgeoning core that is growing together. When the team added Marian Gaborik to the mix they added an elite goal scorer to a bunch of kids still growing. Then they continued to grow. This summer when Richards came on board this club (and the roster) had matured and Richards was added at the right time. The club appears ready to take the next step towards being a contender and the way the team has played recently; far from perfect but never rolled over, proves that the mental strength required to win is there. Richards adds to that mentality.

Richards’ totals may not be brilliant (although they are far from bad), but his impact has been significant. His goal against the Ducks in Sweden was decisive: thanks to that goal 2 OT losses looks better than one solitary point. His game winner against Montreal helped avoid what would have been a second collapse in a week and he has been relatively consistent all season. He has done it against the good teams too. He’s contributed offensively against the Sharks, Ducks, Kings and Canucks – all play-off bound teams. He doesn’t disappear when the quality of competition increases.

This team has flaws, naturally; it isn’t as skilful as the Penguins or Caps, nor is it as potent as some other clubs on the power play, but Richards improves both aspects on the Rangers. If this club goes on to have significant success, there’ll be a few milestone moments that will be looked on as being critical.

Drafting Henrik Lundqvist way back in 2000, Callahan in 2004 and Marc Staal in 2005, not to mention the culture change – and youth emphasis – that has gone on under John Tortorella are all crucial moments/periods in recent Rangers history. Adding Brad Richards (the right player, at the right time) may be another of those seminal moments that make this club a winner. Here’s hoping.

13 Responses to “Brad Richards – The Critical Addition”

  1. Agentsmith says:

    can evryone stop kissing the capitals rear end? what have they won recently?

    • The Suit says:

      haha you cherry picked one sentence out of that entire post to have a problem with? that’s silly

    • Chris says:

      dude, really? you’d not want this group of Rangers to experience the sustained regular season success the Caps have recently had? That’s a great habit to acquire. You need to get a winning habit before you can have post season success in most instances

      • Agentsmith says:

        well see how this team stacks up with the big boys at the end of the month. i think its nov 25/26.

        i dont think we’re that far off from the caps and pit. but the only way to know for sure is to play them.

        • Chris says:

          even if they win those games (which im going to – yay) that doesn’t mean they are on a par. yet.

          This team needs to string together at the least a few months, preferably a season or two of sustained success. Adding Richards will help achieve that sustained success.

  2. The Suit says:

    If Richards puts up 75 plus points (which is easily attainable for him), wins most of his faceoffs and keeps mentoring the youngsters, I will be very happy with his first year in Blue.

    Good post.

    • Agentsmith says:

      id like to see him get into a steady line combo but that may not happen this year. he’ll find a way to get his points anyway – historicly most of his point production comes on the PP. We know that can always improve.

  3. becky says:

    Another A.. you boys are on fire today.

  4. bob says:

    People are going to knock the Richards aquisition no matter what.Whether it be his numbers or his contract.The problem is some people cannot realize the intangibles that he brings.As well as what you have mentioned above there are more.I will just list everything I feel he brings to the Rangers,and as you intelligently stated,AT THE RIGHT TIME. *20 plus goal scorer 40-60 assists power play qauterback *line depth *mentor for the team [on and off the ice,very important in N.Y. city *Go between for Tort's and the players [I believe this may be very beneficial with Tort's personality *Experience in big games + playoffs[something this team needs to go somewhere in the playoffs *face-offs *Another big name player[takes the pressure off of Gabs] *Leadership I could probably think of a few more,but you get the picture.As long as he can stay healthy he will be worth the price we paid.We know other teams were willing to pay that and more.But there will always be those guys that look at the stats and complain.And like you said,we got him at the right time.

  5. bob says:

    Wow just saw Cullen at TSN ranked the Rangers first in his power rankings.Could it be the Rangers are actually getting some love?Amazing!

  6. Vince Rosalia says:

    Game winner.