Blackhawks agree to terms with Richards
Richards posted 51 points (20g, 31a) last season while appearing in all 82 regular-season games and serving as an alternate captain for the New York Rangers. Last season marked the seventh time in his 13 NHL seasons that he has appeared in each of his team’s regular-season games. He ranked second on the team in goals, third in points and shared fourth in power-play goals (five), while leading Rangers forwards with 18:41 of ice time per game. Richards also added 12 points (5g, 7a) in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games, while helping the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1994.
The Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, native has recorded 867 points (276g, 591a) in 982 career NHL regular-season games with Tampa Bay, Dallas and the New York Rangers. He ranks ninth among active NHL players in career assists and is 12th in career points. Richards has posted a career-high 91 points twice (2005-06 with Tampa Bay and 2009-10 with Dallas) and scored a career-best 28 goals with Dallas in 2010-11. He has scored at least 20 goals in 10 of his 13 NHL seasons.
The 34-year-old has registered 90 points (33g, 57a) in 118 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Tampa Bay, Dallas and New York, and helped lead the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup championship. He earned an NHL-high 26 points (12g, 14a) during the 2004 championship run and was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player during the playoffs.
Richards was honored as the winner of the NHL’s Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability, following the 2003-04 season and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team following the 2000-01 campaign after leading all first-year players with 62 points (21g, 41a) that season. He was named to the NHL All-Star Team during the 2010-11 season and participated in the NHL YoungStars Game during the 2001-02 campaign.
He has represented Canada in international competition four times, winning a gold medal in the World Cup (2004) and a bronze medal in the World Junior Championships (2000). Richards also participated for the Canadian team in the 2006 Winter Olympics and 2001 World Championships.
Prior to his professional career, Richards recorded 432 points (143g, 289a) in 190 career games with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 1997 to 2000. During the 1999-2000 season, he led the QMJHL in points (186), goals (71) and assists (115) and earned league MVP honors while leading the Oceanic to QMJHL and Memorial Cup titles. That season he was also named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, Memorial Cup MVP, QMJHL Offensive Player of Year and QMJHL Playoff MVP, while being named to the CHL First All-Star Team, Memorial Cup All-Star Team and QMJHL First All-Star Team.
Richards was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the third round, 64th overall, of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.