The Brad Richards Appreciation Tour 2010-11


Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean isn’t the only one with a proverbial hard on for Brad Richards. With young players like David Backes foregoing unrestricted free agency to ink contracts with their current clubs and an unresolved ownership situation in Dallas, Richards is almost assured of being the marquee name when July 1st comes around. (Note: I’m hesitant to even mention Alexander Semin in the conversation about potential UFAs. He’s already earning $6.0-million per year and Washington has $22 million in cap space next season.)

In the last year of a contract that averages a $7.8-million cap hit, it’s tough to envision what the then 31-year old Richards will fetch on the open market. But with each road game, fans around the NHL are privy to the naivety that Richards could one day be theirs. Recently, it was Toronto’s turn and now it’s Ottawa’s turn. With close to $16 million in projected cap space, some underwhelming production from their centers not named Jason Spezza and a dearth of offensive center prospects in the system, Richards is an intriguing option to consider. More so when you recognize recent trends and an even worse free agent crop in 2012.

Let’s look at Ottawa’s situation:

  • Chris Kelly coming off the books in the books in 2012;
  • All of Ottawa’s best forward prospects are scoring wingers;
  • The team already has the young defencemen (ie. Wiercioch, Cowen, Karlsson, Rundblad, Gryba) and goaltender of the future (Lehner) accounted for;
  • The organization has a desire to remain competitive on an annual basis and hope that the stars align for that one season;
  • $16 million in cap space on July 1st, 2011;

According to Cap Geek, here is the projected cap space for each NHL team on July 1st, 2011:

Team Payroll Bonuses Cap Space Roster Spots $/Opening
Dallas Stars » $37,895,001 $145,000 $21,504,999 17 $3,584,167
Phoenix Coyotes » $24,268,750 $0 $35,131,250 11 $2,927,604
Colorado Avalanche » $28,610,000 $2,885,000 $30,790,000 12 $2,799,091
Atlanta Thrashers » $28,966,666 $3,087,500 $30,433,334 12 $2,766,667
New York Islanders » $23,489,833 $3,087,500 $35,910,167 10 $2,762,321
Los Angeles Kings » $40,268,334 $2,690,000 $19,131,666 16 $2,733,095
Florida Panthers » $23,929,167 $425,000 $35,470,833 10 $2,728,526
Nashville Predators » $33,833,333 $987,500 $25,566,667 13 $2,556,667
Washington Capitals » $37,159,572 $80,000 $22,240,428 14 $2,471,159
Carolina Hurricanes » $26,637,500 $615,000 $32,762,500 9 $2,340,179
Edmonton Oilers » $40,000,000 $3,787,500 $19,400,000 14 $2,155,556
Ottawa Senators » $42,887,500 $425,000 $16,512,500 15 $2,064,063
Toronto Maple Leafs » $38,786,666 $1,000,000 $20,613,334 13 $2,061,333
St. Louis Blues » $35,429,166 $2,350,000 $23,970,834 11 $1,997,570
Tampa Bay Lightning » $37,663,583 $2,737,500 $21,736,417 12 $1,976,038
Buffalo Sabres » $37,717,024 $562,500 $21,682,976 12 $1,971,180
Columbus Blue Jackets » $44,368,749 $1,350,000 $15,031,251 15 $1,878,906
Montreal Canadiens » $34,086,309 $400,000 $25,313,691 9 $1,808,121
New York Rangers » $41,850,000 $212,500 $17,550,000 13 $1,755,000
Detroit Red Wings » $44,558,711 $0 $14,841,289 14 $1,649,032
Boston Bruins » $49,852,975 $2,850,000 $9,547,025 17 $1,591,171
Anaheim Ducks » $44,933,333 $500,000 $14,466,667 13 $1,446,667
Minnesota Wild » $50,745,277 $202,500 $8,654,723 17 $1,442,454
Vancouver Canucks » $46,608,333 $0 $12,791,667 14 $1,421,296
Chicago Blackhawks » $42,385,503 $0 $17,014,497 10 $1,308,807
New Jersey Devils » $50,788,332 $0 $8,611,668 16 $1,230,238
San Jose Sharks » $47,150,001 $425,000 $12,249,999 12 $1,113,636
Pittsburgh Penguins » $51,133,333 $0 $8,266,667 13 $826,667
Calgary Flames » $56,778,333 $425,000 $2,621,667 18 $524,333
Philadelphia Flyers » $57,585,823 $1,700,000 $1,814,177 18 $362,835

Would Richards ever want to play in Ottawa? I’m not sure. If he doesn’t, hopefully Bryan has a good plan B.

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