Why New York Rangers Coach Was The Reason Rangers Signed Brad Richards

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger Howard Ticker:

The New York Rangers signed Brad Richards! The top free agent center in this year’s NHL’s Free Agency.  Should I be excited? I’m not too sure, considering we’ve had our share of signing top free agent centers who didn’t pan out. A perfect example of this is when we signed Scott Gomez (7 years 51.5 million, and Chris Drury (5 years 35.25 million) in the same offseason 4 seasons ago and they are both no longer on the team.  However, when the Rangers signed this year’s free agent gem Brad Richards to a 9 year, 60 million dollar deal I was a lot more excited. For one reason and one reason only, he played under and won with Coach John Tortorella.

Richards turned down big contracts from the Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Richards admitted that they would all be great fits. The main reason he came to the Rangers was because of the familiarity with the coach who helped earn him a Stanley Cup Ring in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

However, both the Rangers and Richards haven’t seen playoff success in a while. Richards hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2008. The Rangers haven’t won a playoff round since 2008 and haven’t been to a Stanley Cup Finals since they won it in 2004. Hopefully this marriage will turn things around fast.

Richards, who signed mid day Saturday, said he spoke to Tortorella Friday and said he was in full coach mode encouraging him to join the Rangers.

“The transition should be very easy, obviously with a guy you’ve won with, you feel very comfortable” Richards said.

Richards should help with the Rangers awful power play and inconsistent offense. He should fit in well with the scorers we have now. Rangers had 5 players who scored more than 20 goals. Even with the injuries to star players Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan (both of which missed a quarter of the season to injury). They also have developed a solid young defense and have one of the best goalies in the league in Henrik Lundqvist.

Tortorella believes the Rangers have done a nice job of putting together and developing many players the past few seasons. “I think the timing is just great. Now we’re at the next step we feel. Now we need to add. Richie fills a lot of needs too for us.”

Richards is use to playing with young players, however this time in New York he is the veteran leader, like he was the past few years with the Dallas Stars. When he was in Tampa Bay, he was one of many young players being coached by John Tortorella. Now he is the leader to many young Ranger players, being coached by Tortorella. Tortorella believes Richards is a great mentor to young players, and has always felt he had great leadership qualities, even in Tampa.

I love what Richards said about the Rangers current situation, “You look at what Torts did with us as a young group in Tampa. I can see that here.” This gets me very excited about our future.

Tortorella also said on Richards, “He just fits. There are things we need within the club and he brings quite a few of those things. At the end of the day, we’re a better hockey club than at the beginning.”

Hopefully this team coached by Tortorella, led by Richards, with  all our young and up in coming players, Gaborik, Callahan, our  young defensive corps, and Lundqvist mesh well together and win a bunch of playoff series’ and hopefully even a Stanley Cup.

I know the contract will last till Richards is 40. But this contract is supposed to make big contributions to the team immediately with Richards in his prime. If he makes major contributions to the team within the next 5 seasons, than no one will care about the end of the contract. New York is a win now and at all costs city and if he wins them a cup sooner rather than later, than this will be a great deal for the team.

Congrats to Richards for joining a team that will pay him a lot of money and a team that has a solid young core he can play alongside. Hopefully under Tortorella, they are building a culture of winning, familiar to the one Tortorella and Richards had together in Tampa Bay.

Now hopefully, the Rangers can re-sign Ryan Callahan, Brandon Bubinsky, Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov, Bryan McCabe, and Mike Sauer. With this group of players for the next 3 to 5 years, we can be solid championship contenders every season.


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