FanPost

Looking at All 30 NHL Teams and their Chances at Landing Brad Richards

As free agency begins on Friday, so does the Brad Richards Sweepstakes. Ranger fans have been waiting for this day for a long time now. This could be the day when the Rangers land that center who will click with Gaborik and help all his teammates achieve greatness. Then again, there may be many other scenarios too. He can turn out to be a total bust and another "best first passer" the Rangers threw their money at. It's also possible that maybe he will have two good seasons that justify his $7.5million cap hit and after that, the team is stuck with another Drury contract for the next three years. But then again, we may not deal with either of those scenarios, as there are 29 other teams in the league that may try to take a run at him as well.

From the contenders to the bottom of the standings dwellers, anyone can go after him when the market officially opens on Friday. As a famous person once said (he's gotta be famous right?), be prepared for the worst but expect the best. So, in case the Rangers don't land their prized possession this summer, and another team snatches him from out of nowhere, let's asses all the possibilities that each team has - just to be ready for any surprises.


(note: I took the numbers from CapGeek 2011-2012, looked at how much they might spend on their own UFA/RFA's and came up with an estimated cap space, not perfect but just to give you a sense of what kind of position the team is in financially - and yes, I realize that not all of these players are NHL regulars)

Anaheim Ducks - Centers --> Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, Kyle Chipchura, Peter Holland, Kyle Palmieri, Todd Marchant, Josh Green

Estimated cap space --> $3.7 million

What I think? --> The Ducks already have a lot of money tied up in their first line of Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry. Their defense is pretty much set, unless they go for some upgrades. I don't see them fitting him into their plans. 

Boston Bruins - Centers --> David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Marc Savard, Tyler Seguin, Greg Campbell, Jaime Arniel

Estimated cap space --> $2.5 million

What I think? --> They just won the cup, their center position is stacked, and they don't have too much cash to throw around. No chance.

Buffalo Sabres - Centers --> Tim Conolly, Paul Gaustad, Rob Niedermayer, Derek Roy, Cody McCormick

Estimated cap space --> $8.5 million

What I think --> With their new owner vowing to make Buffalo an attractive market, and some of their centers being UFA's that haven't been resigned yet, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sabres go after him. Do they have the money to go after him? Yes. Will he settle for Buffalo? Well, they can become contenders with him on the team, so very possible.

Calgary Flames - Centers --> Mikael Backlund, Oli Jokinen, Daymond Langkow, Brendan Morrison, Mat Stajan

Estimated cap space --> $4-$5 million

What I think --> Plain and simple, no way. Not a very attractive market, not too promising of a future. No chance.

Carolina Hurricanes - Centers --> Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Jiri Tlusty

Estimated cap space --> $10 million

What I think --> The 'Canes have their top-2 pivots in Staal and Skinner. Sutter can also turn out to be a 3rd line center. They also have numerous players to re-sign. While they may have the money and always fight for a playoff spot, I don't see them making a run for him.

Chicago Blackhawks - Centers --> Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Jake Dowell

Estimated cap space --> $11 million

What I think --> Just like the 'Canes, the Hawks have their top-2 pivots already. They deffinetly have the cap space after dealing away Kopecky and Campbell, but no way do they spend their money on Richards

Colorado Avalanche - Centers --> Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Daniel Winnick, Jay McClement

Estimated cap space --> $25 million-ishh

What I think --> They are a young team, with a lot of money, and everyone knows that when they're winning, its a fun market to play in ('96-03). However, Duchene + Stastny is all that I need to say. Oh, and the fact that they're rebuilding more than actually contending at this point.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Centers - Samuel Pahlsson, Jeff Carter, Derick Brassard, Andrew Murray, Antoine Vermette

Estimated cap space --> $15 million

What I think --> As seen by the Carter trade, the Blue Jackets are tired of losing and are willing to go after big names. They have the money to do it and it's possible that with Richards, this team can be a threat in the league. But will he really want to spend the rest of his career in Columbus? Mathematically its possible and they can really use him, but will he go there? Well...yes, I think they have a chance.

Dallas Stars - Cen.... do i really have to do this? Next.

Detroit Red Wings - Centers --> Darren Helm, Valterri Filppula, Kris Draper, Mike Modano, Tomas Tatar

Estimated cap space -->  $12 million

What I think --> The Wings are slacking in the center position, they contend every year, they will have the money if they don't pay a fortune for Jagr, and let Modano and Draper go....so, yea, the Wings are in play.

Edmonton Oilers - Centers --> Shawn Horcoff, Sam Gagner, Gilbert Brule, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Estimated cap space --> $15 million

What I think --> The Oilers would love to have Richards and they have the money to throw at him. However, with key draft picks over the past few seasons and the young players in the system, you would think they would rather grow their players first and then go for a free agent splash. Either way, I don't see Richards going to the Oil. Pass.

Florida Panthers - Centers --> Marty Reasoner, Mike Santorelli, Shawn Matthias, Ryan Carter

Estimated cap space --> $35 million

What I think --> They would love to have him, obviously. But mostly because they need help reaching the cap floor. Other than that, BR is not going to a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a decade. Unless all he cares about is the money.

Los Angeles Kings - Centers --> Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Michal Handzus, Oscar Moller, Brad Richardson, Jarret Stoll

Estimated cap space --> $8 million

What I think --> Over the past few years, LA has really pushed the free agent market and has been trying to get that superstar players to vault them into a top team in the leauge. With Mike Richards now a King, they finally have their top-2 centers. Im sure they'll kick the tires and see whats possible, but in the end...it's not happening.

Minnesota Wild - Centers --> Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu, Darrol Powe, James Sheppard

Estimated cap space --> $9 milion

What I think --> The Wild can be an attractive option. Its the Hockey State of America and a great market. But they wont have any cap flexibility if they sign him, and its pretty obvious they should first put all their other pieces of the puzzle together before going after the main one. Not happening.

Montreal Canadians - Centers --> Scott Gomez, Tomas Plekanec, Tom Pyatt, Lars Eller, Jeff Halpern

Estimated cap space --> $4 million

What I think --> The Habs have some key players they need to resign, which could very well put them short in cash. But Montreal is always a market that can excite or scare the crap out of a player. Unless they decide to pass on some of their UFA/RFA's, they wont have the money to sign him. Even though Montreal is always in play for big names, they wont be able to afford Richards.

Nashville Predators - Centers --> Mike Fisher, Marcel Goc, David Legwand, Matthew Lombardi, Cal O' Reilly, Colin Wilson

Estimated cap space --> $7 million

What I think --> The Preds never throw money at just any free agent, and they like to build within. It would be uncharacteristic of them to go after Richards, and after re-signing their players, they can be short on cash. Also, i don't think Richards wants to spend the rest of his career there. Not happening.

New Jersey Devils - Centers --> Travis Zajac, Dave Steckel, Dainius Zubrus, Rod Pelley, Jacob Josefson

Estimated cap space --> $1 million

What I think --> The Devils told Richards "No thank you" when they signed Kovy. They still need to get Parise under contract which will be in the $6-$8 million range and wont have enough money to throw at another superstar. No chance.

New York Islanders - Centers --> John Tavares, Frans Neilson, Zenon Konopka, Michael Haley

Estimated cap space --> $21 million

What I think --> The Isles would no doubt love to have Richards. They have a young team with a lot of potential and are about to get a deal for a new arena in August. The future looks bright for this team and they can be the next Pittsburgh Penguins if everything works in their favor. They definetly have the money to please Richards and their also in New York...and under much less pressure than that other New York team.

Ottawa Senators - Centers --> Jason Spezza, Zack Smith, Stephane Da Costa, Colin Greening, Peter Regin

Estimated cap space -->$15 million

What I think --> The Sens are one of those small market Canadian teams that are much less loved and crazed for than the other five six. If he wants to play for a canadian team that doesn't follow their players 24/7, Ottawa would be the place to go. They have enough money for him and their only star center is Spezza. The Sens are in play.

Philadelphia Flyers - Centers --> Blair Betts, Braydon Schenn

Estimated cap space --> $5 million

What I think --> So far, the Flyers are full of surprises this off-season. Trading their top-2 centers for potential and cap space, they are definitely sending a message to all their players. By getting rid of the 2 biggest contracts on the team they opened up some cap room. If they don't resign any players, they will have about $8 million to spend. Even though it may be unlikely that they spend it all on Richards, its always a possibility with this organization. They're in play.

Phoenix Coyotes - Centers --> Martin Hanzal, Marc-Antoine Poulliot, Kyle Turris, Andrew Ebbett, Eric Belanger 

Estimated cap space --> $12 million

What I think --> Phoenix doesn't have a stable financial situation, something Richards expressed is important to him. Count them out.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Centers --> Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, Jared Staal

Estimated cap space --> $1 million

What I think --> Besides the fact that they might have the most depth down the middle in the enitre league, after re-signing their own players, they wont have enough money to spend on Richards. Actually, they don't have enough money to sign him even if they pass on all their own UFA/RFA's. No Chance.

San Jose Sharks - Centers --> Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Torrey Mitchell

Estimated cap space --> $2 million

What I think --> They have approximately $56 million tied up in 14 skaters and 2 goalies. Also, its not like they're lacking in fire-power at all. With the remaining money they have, the Sharks need to fill in those other 4 spots on the team. Just not enough money to spend on Richards. No chance.

St. Louis Blues - Centers --> Patrick Berglund, TJ Hensick, Andy McDonald, TJ Oshie, Vladimir Sobotka, Alex Steen

Estimated cap space --> $10 million

What I think --> They Blues are set with some young talent in the center position. They need to hit the market for some extra players but nothing big will come out of it. Richards shouldn't even be on their mind at this point. No chance.

Tampa Bay Lightning - Centers --> Vincent Lecavlier, Dominic Moore, Steven Stamkos, Nate Thompson, Dana Tyrell

Estimated cap space --> $7 million 

What I think --> Depending on the players they decide to keep and any other role players they are looking at, Tampa remains a possibilty. They wont have much cap room to work with if they resign Stamkos and Gagne + a few others, so its up in the air. However, Richards never wanted to leave Tampa in the first place and he even said that he plans on moving their after his career is over with. Tampa is obviously a contender and in play for Richards.

Toronto Maple Leafs - Centers --> Tyler Bozak, Mikhail Grabovski, Nazem Kadri, Tim Brent, Darryl Boyce

Estimated cap space --> $9 million

What I think --> Brad Richards is Toronto's number 1 target and that is not a secret. If they re-sign all their players, they have no chance. However, I am  sure they would rather get him first, and then worry about who they have to let go. They're saving their money for him and its up to him now whether or not he's willing to risk his whole reputation in this hockey crazed market.

Vancouver Canucks - Centers --> Ryan Kesler, Henrik Sedin, Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre, Cody Hodgson

Estimated cap space --> $2 million

What I think --> The Canucks dont need Richards, and they certainly can't afford him. Next

Washington Capitals - Centers --> Niklas Backstrom, Jason Arnott, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks, Marcuss Johannson, Matthieu Perrault, Boyd Gordon

Estimated cap space --> $1 million

What I think --> The Capitals are stacked down the middle and spending their money (if they had any) on Richards would be pointless. No chance. 

Winnipeg Jets - Centers --> Nik Antropov, Alex Burmistrov, Patrice Cormier, Rob Schremp, Jim Slater, Ben Maxwell

Estimated cap space --> $13 million

What I think --> How about that? The new team in the league landing this marque agent! So what if they have centers, none of those players are better than Richards OR of his caliber. Send a message to the league that Winnipeg is back baby and better than ever! ... but hold the celebration, would he risk his career going to a market that couldn't keep a team a little over a decade ago? Who knows? But there is a chance, and its a possibility

Finally....

New York Rangers - Centers --> Chris Drury, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan

Estimated cap space --> $11

What I think --> The only the Rangers make this work for the better is if they get rid of Drury. Then there is enough money to pay for Richards and all their RFA's + a UFA or two. Do I need to get into much more detail? We all know the Rangers are fighting for him. 

 

In conclusion:

Group A: NO WAY IN HELL!

::: Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals.

Group B: DON'T COUNT THEM OUT

::: Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, LA Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadians, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets

Group C: THE FIGHT FOR BRAD

::: Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs

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