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Brad Richards left the Texas ranges, can he deliver a Cup to the Rangers?
Last summer, the hockey world had one collective question: Where would Brad Richards play in 2011-2012?
To say that this 31-year-old center ice man possesses the scoring touch every NHL team looks for, would be a major understatement. Richards, who was drafted in the third round (64th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL entry draft, began his high-scoring days before joining the National Hockey League. With the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he enjoyed seasons of 115, 131 and 186 points. Those numbers would most certainly project a player in today's draft previews as a first-round selection, however the knock on Richards was that he was not a skilled skater nor was he considered big enough at 6'0" tall.
In 2000, Richards made the jump from junior to the Lightning and scored 21 goals and 62 points during his rookie season. The native of Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, Canada did not win the Rookie of the Year award but that point total was a harbinger of things to come.
Richards would go on to experience success with the Lightning for seven seasons including winning the Stanley Cup in 2004. That season he scored 79 points in 82 games then added 26 points in 23 playoff games.
Tampa Bay elected to trade Richards on February 26, 2008 to the Dallas Stars. He became a fan favorite in his first game as a Star by compiling five assists.
In 2009-2010, Richards would produce the second 91-point season of his career (his first coming in 2005-2006 with Tampa Bay). Despite scoring those 91 points, the Stars failed to qualify for the playoffs.
In the four seasons Richards played in Dallas, his clubs made one playoff appearance. In the 2007-2008 postseason, the center scored 15 points in 18 games but the Stars could not win the Stanley Cup. That honor went to rival Detroit.
Upon becoming a free agent in July, 2011, Richards fielded offers from five NHL teams. Richards decided the New York Rangers would give him the best opportunity to win the second Stanley Cup of his career. He may be correct in thinking that. The Rangers have one of the best goaltenders in hockey in Henrik Lundqvist. They also have a good blend of youth and experience in the lineup which Brad Richards greatly enhances. He brings a total of 718 points in 774 career games and with a nine-year, $60 million contract in his pocket, he has all the incentive he needs to produce offensively and bring a Stanley Cup to Broadway.