Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
The Blackhawks know that Richards is not going to be their long-term answer to their No. 2 center position.
If he works out, Richards will play center for a year (or maybe two), but then the position will belong to highly-skilled Finnish import Teuvo Teravainen.
The 19-year-old Teravainen had a chance to play in three regular-season games near the end of 2013-14, but he does not appear to be ready to take a regular turn in the NHL.
While Teravainen will never be a tough, burly player, he needs time to get used to the physical, North American game, and he also needs to put weight and strength on his 5'11", 169-pound frame.
The last thing the Blackhawks want to do is feel compelled to rush Teravainen up to the NHL before he is ready. Head coach Joel Quenneville told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune last April that Teravainen needed to learn more about the North American game before he would be ready to play on a regular basis.
The Blackhawks sent Teravainen down to their AHL farm team in Rockford, Illinois, and he needs to stay there for at least the majority of the season before he can give it another try in the NHL.
If Richards is not the answer for the Blackhawks, they may be forced to consider the possibility of bringing Teravainen up before he is ready. That would be a mistake.