After 15 seasons in the NHL, two-time Stanley Cup champion Brad Richards is calling it a career.
Richards formally announced his retirement through an NHLPA statement:
“I want to thank the fans and the five organizations I have played for: Tampa Bay, Dallas, and the three original six teams — the New York Rangers, Chicago, and Detroit. During my time with those teams I met many great people. I also want to thank the staff and management in those organizations for all the help and support they gave me. I appreciate all the trainers who did tireless work to help me play and keep me healthy. I had many amazing teammates and made many great friendships along the way that I truly appreciate, and I will never forget the great times we had together. Thank you to all my coaches for pushing, teaching and giving me the opportunity to play this great game. Winning the Stanley Cups in Tampa Bay and Chicago was the best part of my career and I will never forget those moments. Nothing compares to enjoying that night with your team and knowing what you have accomplished together.”
After playing last season with the Detroit Red Wings, Richards entered the free agent market this offseason. The easy assumption is that he opted to retire because he didn’t get any offers; however, Darren Dreger of TSN reported otherwise:
@NHLPA @BRichards_1991 @NHL. Great career. Richards was recently offered a good deal from a good team. He opts for retirement.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 20, 2016
(We don’t know who this mystery ‘good team’ is at the moment, but it will probably come out in the weeks ahead.)
Drafted in the third round, 64th overall in the 1998 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Richards ends his career with 298 goals, 932 points in 1126 regular season games played. In the playoffs, he scored 105 points over 146 career playoff games, and lifted the Cup twice as a member of the Lightning in 2004 and the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015.
With Richards hanging up his skates, he along with Pavel Datsyuk and Vincent Lecavalier mark the end of an era for the 1998 draft.
The current top 3 point producers of the ’98 draft retired from the NHL this year:
1.TBL Lecavalier 949
2.TBL Richards 932
3.DET Datsyuk 918
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 20, 2016
Aside from being able to eat whatever he wants and spend more time with his loved ones, another perk of retirement for Richards is being paid for playing hockey while not playing it.
Richards signed a nine year, $60-million contract with the New York Rangers starting with the 2011-12 season. The Rangers elected to buy out Richards contract in June 2014. According to General Fanager, the remaining amount the Rangers owe Richards now through the 2025-26 season is $14.55-million. Not bad.
Now the great debate begins. Is Richards Hockey Hall of Fame worthy or not? What say you?