Does Hiring Vigneault Mean a Reprieve for Brad Richards?
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06-15-2013, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
I'll say what I said in another thread...
How the heck can you keep Brad Richards?
He was just benched in the playoffs. During the season, he was completely (and almost assuredly permanently) surpassed by Derek Stepan as the #1 center.
Later in the year, Brassard looked like the better option as the #2 center. Since Brassard isn't going anywhere, where does that leave Richards? He can't play a checking role and his defense has declined. He doesn't fit as a third/4th line center.
He's coming off a four year downswing in production and just had the worst year of his career, in terms of PPG average.
And he's 33 years old and not likely to get better.
Now, looking at all these things in a vacuum, you could still say, well, he has a history of being clutch in the playoffs, he could provide veteran leadership in a reduced role if he can re-invent himself, etc.
And if you could get him on a short-term, cheap deal, you could take that risk.
But his contract makes that slim likelihood way too risky to gamble on. He is signed for another 7 years at 6.6 million per year.
6.6 million per year could cover the Hags/McD/Stepan raises. Or it could be spent on another Rick Nash type elite player. Or a myriad of other things.
What it should never be spent on is a 34 year old center who ends up netting 40 points in a reduced role who isn't even a good fit because he can't play D at a high level on a lower line.
Richards can't remain. He has to go. You can't gamble on him getting his act together like you could with an aging vet in say, the NFL, because you get no other chance to part with Richards. You use amnesty on him now before he gets injured and then you get stuck with him for another 7 years.
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