Hey there... ready for the latest edition of Pro or No?
Today's contestant is non other than #Brad Richards.
Mr. Richards came to the Red Wings last offseason on a 1-year deal with dreams of winning another Stanley Cup. He was supposed to be that key veteran piece that could play 2nd line center and allow Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to play together. But much like every other player that's recently been put into that position... he failed.
#17 / Center / Detroit Red Wings
May 2, 1980
Let's be honest here... there aren't many pros. Quite frankly, I'm not even 100% sure what to write. Brad Richards seems like a nice guy. He's a vet that brings experience and leadership to the dressing room. He stays out of the box. Only 8 PIM in 68 games. Richards clearly doesn't put his team on the disadvantage. The Wings also had the puck more often than not when he was on the ice. His CF% in all situations was 54.7%. Richards has a nice smile too. Oh! There was that one time he scored the game winning goal in the Stadium Series game in Colorado and sent me, Kyle, JJ and Graham home happy. Thanks for that, Brad.
The Red Wings don't need more old players these days. There are enough vets in the room to fill that role. A 36-year-old on the decline is not in the cards for this team. Leave the old vet leadership role to Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall. Let guys like Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser step up and fill any leadership void there might be. The Wings are team desperate for an infusion of youth. No more signings that are expected to bridge the gap from the old guard to the new. We're past that. If this truly is a summer of change, allowing Richards to walk and not signing anyone similar is what needs to be done.
He doesn't score anymore.
Richards' 28 points this past season was the lowest output he's had since... forever. Even in the lockout season 3 years ago he put up 34 points in 46 games. I understand he wasn't playing with Patrick Kane anymore... but come on, the Wings players aren't THAT bad (I think). Richards points per game have declined steadily over the last 5 seasons. Not totally surprising since he's getting up their in age, but there's zero reason to think that trend won't continue and his totals will take another dip next year.
He's not a 2nd line center.
As previously mentioned, the Red Wings initially envisioned Richards as a 2C between Tomas Tatar and Gus Nyquist. Just like Valtteri Filppula and Stephen Weiss before him, Richards couldn't fill that role. He didn't really seem to mesh well with anyone on the roster. He spent most the season playing on Datsyuk's wing along with Darren Helm. Basically an entire line of guys who probably won't be on this team anymore.
He's not worth the money.
I think it's pretty clear if Richards were to come back to the Wings, he wouldn't be getting another deal worth $3 million. The Wings didn't win a playoff round, so Richards bonuses didn't kick in. I guess that's a plus to being one-and-done again. I can't imagine Richards taking a huge pay cut. He's not worth $3 million, but he's not going to come back for $500k. Don't pay the old guy. Just don't do it.
I think this one is pretty clear, but it's up to you to vote and decide.