Brad Richards #91 C
- 30 years old
- Unrestricted free agent
- Made $7.8 million last year
Despite another injury shortened season (his fourth in a row), Brad Richards was the Dallas Stars’ leader in points and top-three in goals and assists. As one the key pointmen in the power-play, Richards was their leader in power-play assists and it was obvious that the offense ran through Richards.
With a healthy Richards, Dallas was rolling along and looked like a solid bet to break their playoff drought. Richards started the season on fire, recording multiple points in the first four games of the season which were all Dallas wins. Richards had at least 14 points in the first four months of the season and was a consistent goal scorer.
Everything changed however, on the night of February 13 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the waning seconds of that game, a Stars loss, Richards took an inconspicuous elbow to the head. At the time, no one had any idea that he was injured and it wasn’t until he didn’t travel for the Stars next game that people realized he was hurt. It turned out that Richards had a concussion, the injury most notable for taking out Sidney Crosby for half the season.
WIth Richards out of the lineup, Dallas went 5-4-1 and only scored more than two goals in two of those games. There were other injuries on top of his, but he was the quarterback of the offense so without him, everything else suffered. The power-play went 4 for 33 (12%) in his absence and looked unsettled as the Stars tried to shuffle multiple people into the point position to try to replace him.
Everything was supposed to be ficed once he returned, but it was obvious that Richards was not the same player post-concussion and the team suffered as a result. The downturn of the season had started when he got injured and and got worse when a concussed Richards returned to the line-up. After he returned, Dallas responded by losing nine of the next eleven games. The power-play looked better but the overall team play just wasn’t up to par.
Post-concussion Richards was a shadow of his former self. He averaged about seven points a month for the last three months of the season. Granted he only played 22 games after the All-Star break (as opposed to 50 games before the break) but his stats show a severe downturn. It wasn’t until the final month of the season that he started to look like his usual self as he had at least a point in each of the last six games.
- Richards had 21 multi-point games (out of 56 played before his injury). Dallas won 17 of those games.
- After his return from his concussion, Richards only managed four multi-point games (out of 16) and Dallas won two of those games.
- RIchards had 7 power-play goals and 22 power-play assists on the season. He had no goals and only four of those assists after his return. Three of those assists came in April.
Through the season, Richards was great against the Pacific Division regardless of whether or not he was injured. Against his division opponents, he had 21 points out of 20 games. A majority of his power-play assists (nine) came against them. The only team he struggled against was the San Jose Sharks as he went scoreless in 3 of the 5 games against them.
Brad Richards’ future as a Dallas Star is grim and it gets murkier with each passing day. His $7.8 million salary was top-15 in the league and it will cost near that amount to re-sign him, something the cash-strapped Stars will have difficulty doing. Couple that with the Stars having no owner and Richards own admission that he would not re-sign if the Stars did not have one, and it’s the chances on getting him come back certainly look bleak.
However, the Stars should still do everything they can to re-sign him. A healthy Brad Richards turns this team into a playoff contender and his ability is essential to the continued growth of Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn. Only time will tell where his future is, but hopefully it ends up back in Dallas.
- +/-: Plus/Minus Ratings
- PIM: Penalty Minutes
- SOG: Shots on Goal
- PPG: Power-Play Goals
- PPA: Power-Play Assists
- SHG: Short-Handed Goals
- TOI/G: Time on Ice per Game