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Rangers confirm deal: The Richards announcement

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent forward Brad Richards.

Richards, 31, is a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the most valuable player in the playoffs after leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup Championship. The 2011 NHL All-Star was also named the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner in 2004, for combining sportsmanship with a high standard of playing ability, and was nominated for the award again in 2010.

Among active players, Richards ranks seventh in the NHL in points per game over the last two years (1.11), 20th over his career (0.93) and 13th over his career in the playoffs (0.98).

Brad Richards has scored 716 points in 772 career NHL games and is one of a small handful of players who have averaged more than a point per game in at least three of the six seasons since 2005-06.

Richards appeared in 72 games with the Dallas Stars last season, registering 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points, along with 24 penalty minutes. He established a career-high with 28 goals, including his 200th career NHL goal with the game-winner vs. Anaheim on November 16. Richards led Dallas and ranked 10th in the NHL in scoring with 77 points, and he ranked second on the team and tied for 10th in the league with 49 assists.

He also led the Stars in shots on goal (272) for the second consecutive season. By recording 28 goals and 77 points, Richards surpassed the 20-goal mark for the eighth time in his 10 NHL seasons, and eclipsed the 70-point plateau for the sixth time.

Richards was selected to his first career NHL All-Star Game on January 11, tallying one assist for Team Lidstrom in the contest.

He recorded his 700th career NHL point with a goal vs. Phoenix on February 9. In addition, Richards led Dallas with 21 multi-point performances, including four, three-point efforts, and ended the regular season with a season-high, six-game point streak (three goals, five assists over the span).

In 2009-10, Richards ranked among the league leaders in several offensive categories, including second in power play points (40), tied for second in power play assists (27), fourth in assists (67), tied for sixth in multi-point performances (27), and seventh in points (91).

Richards led Dallas in points, assists, power play goals (13), multi-point games, and shots on goal (284), while establishing career-highs in power play goals and shots. His 91 points also tied his career-high, originally set in 2005-06. Richards recorded his 400th career NHL assist on November 21, 2009 vs. New Jersey, and skated in his 700th career NHL game in the season finale on April 10, 2010 at Minnesota.

The 6-0, 195-pounder has skated in 772 career regular season contests with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars, registering 220 goals and 496 assists for 716 points, along with 177 penalty minutes. He has surpassed the 60-point plateau in all but one of his 10 NHL seasons, in 2008-09 when he recorded 48 points in 56 contests, and is one of only 19 active NHL players to eclipse 90 points at least twice.

In 2005-06, Richards established career-highs in assists (68), points (91), power play assists (39), power play points (46), and shorthanded goals (four). He became the first player in NHL history to record five assists in his debut with a team, accomplishing the feat while skating in his first game with Dallas on February 28, 2008 vs. Chicago following his trade from Tampa Bay two days earlier.

Richards, who missed only two games in six seasons to begin his career, was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2000-01, after leading all NHL rookies in goals (21), assists (41) and points (62) in 82 games. He made his NHL debut on October 6, 2000 vs. the Islanders, and recorded his first NHL point with a goal on October 8, 2000 vs. Vancouver.

Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP after capturing the Cup with a John Tortorella-coached Lightning team that beat Calgary in Game 7 of the Cup Final.

In postseason competition, Richards has appeared in 63 career contests with the Lightning and Stars, registering 21 goals and 41 assists for 62 points, along with 36 penalty minutes. He established playoff career-highs in 2004, tallying 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points, along with seven power play goals, seven game-winning goals, 88 shots on goal, and a plus-five rating in 23 games to capture the Stanley Cup Championship and Conn Smythe Trophy as league playoff MVP.

Richards led the league in playoff scoring that season, ranked second in assists and tied for second in goals, and his seven game-winning goals established an NHL record for a single playoff season.

In 2008, Richards tied an NHL playoff record by registering four points in a single period, tallying one goal and three assists in the third period of Game Two in Dallas’ Western Conference Semifinals matchup against San Jose on April 27.

Internationally, Richards has represented Canada in several tournaments, including as a member of Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. He led Canada in scoring during the 2006 Olympics, registering four points (two goals, two assists) in six tournament contests. Richards captured the gold medal with Canada at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, tallying one goal and three assists in six games.

In addition, Richards led Canada in scoring with six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games at the 2001 World Championship, and captured the bronze medal with Canada at the 2000 World Junior Championship.

The Murray Harbor, Prince Edward Island native was originally Tampa Bay’s third round choice, 64th overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.



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