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Brad Richards takes his talents (and buyout money) to Chicago

Brad Richards made out OK in his free-agent contract and compliance buyout, both executed by the New York Rangers. Overall, he’ll have earned around $51 million, both in salary paid and deferred salary over the next 12 years. 

So money wasn’t a huge consideration for Richards. But winning a Stanley Cup, and rehabilitating his career, were. So the former Conn Smythe winner signed a 1-year, $2-million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, as first reported by TSN. The contract also carries a no-movement clause.

Richards is 34 years old and is coming off a season in which he had 51 points in 82 games, the lowest points-per-game average (0.62) of his career. He started the postseason strongly with five points in five games; he finished terribly, with two assists in 10 games, and a single assist in the Stanley Cup Final against Los Angeles.

One assumes the Blackhawks will give him a shot at No. 2 center behind Jonathan Toews – perhaps as the set-up guy for Patrick Kane – but if not, he’ll still give the Blackhawks a quality veteran down the middle in a conference where everyone seems to go three deep at center.

He’s also a good asset on the power play, where the Rangers used him on the point.

So he’ll help the Blackhawks. At least until the playoffs when he’ll drop to the fourth line and look like he’s skating like an 80-year-old. And then someone else will sign him next summer…

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