Brad Richards in an ideal situation with BlackhawksContinue reading.
Blackhawks sign Brad Richards to one-year contract
Brad Richards isn’t the point-a-game guy he once was — a guy who scored at least 20 goals nine times, a guy who twice handed out more than 60 assists, a guy who got a nine-year, $60-million contract from the Rangers.
But, he and the Blackhawks hope, he’s also not the guy who tumbled all the way to New York’s fourth line in the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring before being bought out of his deal.
If he’s anything in between, the 34-year-old Richards could be the short-term answer that bridges the gap to the long-term answer to the never-ending question at second-line center.
The Hawks signed Richards to a one-year deal worth just $2 million, giving them a safety net at center to hold down the fort until, ideally, 19-year-old Finn Teuvo Teravainen is ready to take over. The move, coupled with Peter Regin signing a one-year deal worth $650,000 puts them more than $2 million over the $69-million salary cap with 23 players under contract (including Teravainen). So general manager Stan Bowman isn’t done shedding salary yet this summer.
Earlier in the day, the Hawks’ biggest rivals were getting better. The Anaheim Ducks added Ryan Kesler. The St. Louis Blues signed Paul Stastny. The rising Dallas Stars acquired Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. The Colorado Avalanche lost Stastny but added Jarome Iginla and Danny Briere. The surging Minnesota Wild inked Thomas Vanek.
Bowman’s moves were less splashy by comparison, but that’s usually his style — plugging holes with proven veterans while allowing younger players to work their way up the system. Because while the Hawks’ inclination might be to respond to all the big moves around them, the fact is, the big moves around them are all responses to what the Hawks and Los Angeles Kings have built and accomplished over the past five seasons.
“There was a lot of talk this year when the Blues went and acquired [Steve] Ott and [Ryan] Miller, like that must mean that you got to go do something,” Bowman said this weekend. “We don’t approach it that way. Like I said, when one team does something it may work for them, it may not. We’re not trying to respond to what other people do. We’ve got to look at what we do well and what works for us. It’s a puzzle to put together, but I don’t think it’s helpful to be reactionary. We’ve got our own situation and we’re going to work through that.”
Of course, while other teams are throwing around money for the 2014-15 season, the Hawks have continued negotiating contract extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane with agent Pat Brisson. Bowman hoped to have the deals done by Tuesday, but it might take a little longer. Meanwhile, the Hawks have been in discussions with unrestricted free agent Sheldon Brookbank, who like Regin, wants to return.