Is Brad Richards An Option For The Rangers?
The Rangers may or may not be shopping for a number one center, but it's been suggested that the Rangers may target Brad Richards. Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks is learning that owning three pro sports franchises may not be the best idea. With these tough economic times, Hicks is in serious financial trouble and there have been some rumors that the Stars have set their own in-house salary cap in order to keep the payroll low. It's no secret that Brad Richards and John Tortorella have a great relationship going back to their Stanley Cup Championship with the Lightning. During that '03-'04 playoff run Richards played like man possessed posting 26 points in 23 games and winning the Conn Smythe. During the following '05-'06 season (frickin' lockout) he posted a career high 91 points and followed it up with a 70 point performance the next season.
Sather is doing his best to revamp the roster by adding scoring and players who the fit the Tortorella mold (although I'm not sure where Enver Lisin fits there). With the Stars possibly looking to dump salary and Richards relationship with Torts, it's easy to follow the bouncing ball and come to the conclusion that Richards might be a Rangers target.
Richards has two years remaining on his current deal with a cap hit of $7.8 million per. He uncharacteristically battled injuries last season with Stars, only managing to play 56 games. Despite the injuries, it's difficult to believe Richards won't be healthy this upcoming season. In his first six years in the NHL, Richards missed a grand total of two games. The past two seasons though he's only averaged 55 points, that's Scott Gomez territory. Also, any deal involving Richards would start with Brandon Dubinsky and a Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh type prospect. Plus the Rangers would have to include Michal Rozsival and/or waive Wade Redden in order to fit Richards under the cap. It would take a mathematical miracle for Richards to be a Ranger.
Sure Richards is a Torts favorite and he would be a nice fit with Marian Gaborik, but it's a bad idea. Acquiring Richards spits in the face of the Rangers NY style youth movement. Brandon Dubinsky deserves a shot at pivoting Gabs, he should be given the opportunity for good of the organization. If it doesn't work out, then next summer the Rangers can look for Marc Savard in free agency. Savard will have a lower cap hit and is arguably be better suited to be Gabs center than Richards is.
There is no reason for the Rangers to even try to take on Brad Richards. Unless of course Sather can grease Joe Nieuwendyk while also changing some mathematic principles..