Found July 03, 2014 on TopSportsReport:
#450457330 / gettyimages.com General Manager Stan Bowman went into the first day of free agency with one very specific goal in mind: to fill the recently vacated position of second line center. He believes he has found the answer in Brad Richards. Recently bought out of his 9 year, $60 million contract by the Rangers, the Blackhawks were able to get him at a discount, signing him to a 1-year deal worth $2 million. Unfortunately, there is always a catch when a team is able to get a former 70+ point scorer on a $2 million contract. Richards has fallen on some tough times offensively. He is 3 years removed from his point-per-game pace that he achieved in Dallas. Some people may attribute his drop in scoring to switching teams and playing in the defensive system that the Rangers have been known for, but his production steadily decreased over the three years he has worn the New York sweater. Last season, he managed only 51 points throughout his 82 games as opposed to his first season with them, in which he scored 66 in 82. However, 50 points is not something to be taken lightly. He is still an offensive threat and it would be surprising not to see a boost in his numbers while on a line with much stronger wingers than he had in New York. Playing with Kane, Sharp, and/or Hossa should bring him back into the 60-point range. A possibly overlooked advantage of bringing Richards to Chicago is his postseason experience. His resume includes over 100 playoff games, two Stanley Cup Finals series, and winning the Conn Smythe in 2004. Richards also offers a leadership role to the relatively young group of forwards, having held an alternate captain position in New York. His 19 powerplay points last season, most scored on the Rangers, would also be a welcome sight for Chicago. They struggled to connect on their powerplay opportunities on the road in the playoffs, coming in at an anemic 7.7%. The addition of a strong puck mover like Richards could allow them to spread their talented group across both units on the man advantage. While his contract is remarkably small for a player of his caliber, it still puts pressure on the Blackhawks’ wallet.  With this contract putting them $2.2 million over the cap, a trade to open up space is imminent in the very near future.
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