Canucks Ink Brad Richardson

Thomas Drance
July 05 2013 03:00PM


Image via wikimedia commons

The Canucks have come to terms with former Los Angeles Kings depth forward Brad Richardson. Per Bob McKenzie the pact will see the welter-weight grinder paid 2.3 million over two seasons:

Brad Richardson isn't exactly an "impact player", nor is he credible Kesler insurance. But there's a lot to like about this signing. We'll recap after the jump.

Last season Brad Richardson battled injury, an appendectomy procedure in effect ended his campaign, and the season before that he was generally unproductive (largely thanks to a sub-5% on-ice shooting percentage).

But Richardson has had a couple of ten goal seasons in his career, and while he's generally played a fourth line role (though he has spent a good deal of time on Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar's left wing over the years), he's been a plus possession player over the past four seasons.

Richardson's WOWYs look pretty nice and he consistently draws penalties at an elevated rate, two things I really like to see from guys at the bottom end of the lineup.

Richardson doesn't bring size (he's listed anywhere from 185 to 197, and is roughly six feet tall), though he can play up the lineup in a pinch he's certainly not an everyday top-nine forward, and he generally hasn't been an every day centreman since the 2009-10 season. So that's the downside.

But when you compare Richardson's contract with what other fourth line players have gone for in the first day of free-agency, this certainly looks to me, at first blush, like a reasonable gamble and a smart signing.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 py
July 05 2013, 03:03PM
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Great moneypuck signing. He brings an infectious work ethic and is a good puck possession player.

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#2 van
July 05 2013, 03:12PM
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More of a winger than a centre. Hopefully pushes Sestito out of the lineup. Still leaves us with Schroeder and Gaunce as 3C and 4C.

Might be able to trade with the Panthers though.They have Barkov, Huberdeau, Shore, Bjugstad, Goc, Matthias and Howden who can all play centre.

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#3 BrudnySeaby
July 05 2013, 03:14PM
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Would the Canucks not have been better off resigning Lapierre with the $'s that now go to Richardson and Sestito?

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#4 Rob
July 05 2013, 03:27PM
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@BrudnySeaby

Absolutley not! We only need one yappy frenchman on the roster and that is enough. All Lapierre did was run his mouth, he barely hit and wouldnt fight. I hope he doesnt resign anywhere near Vancouver, I say good riddance!

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#5 Darnell
July 05 2013, 03:31PM
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Weak signing. Our window is definitely closed and now they're just nailing it shut.

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#6 BrudnySeaby
July 05 2013, 03:40PM
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Well, I think that Lapierre could have thrived under Torts. Running his mouth at the opposition, getting under their skin, all these shenanigans made him a valuable (and it often seemed, a better) player. But AV would have none of it. Torts could embrace that (it seems to me) and it would go somewhat to being more stiff and harder to play against which Torts propagates. Ah well, that ship probably sailed.

I see the following season as a bridge season where the unbalance in the team will prevent us from seriously competing for the cup, but hopefully some of the younger players will make significant progress. Players like Tanev who will do better while facing tougher competition, Kassian will become more consistent and really work on his scoring touch, Schroeder will ad some offence to his game while really sticking around, and Lack will acquit himself well in his starts.

Then there is an outside shot for Jensen, Gaunce and Lain to get some good NHL minutes, next to developing in Uttica by playing big minutes there.

If that all were to happen it would really help the Canucks. And then hopefully the cap goes up again next year so we could add some more talent. Oh, and let's hope Booth has a bounce back year along with Kesler.

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#7 NM00
July 05 2013, 03:42PM
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In a vacuum, this seems like an okay move.

But it's all about opportunity cost and I guess we'll need to see what the rest of the bottom of the roster looks like before determining how this player and cap hit fit in.

If the Canucks have no choice but to go with a cheap, young centre in the 3 hole, I'd prefer they have a competent and prove #4 centre.

If they still have the money to sign that guy and Tanev, then this move is fine.

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#8 Peachy
July 05 2013, 03:57PM
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NM00 wrote:

In a vacuum, this seems like an okay move.

But it's all about opportunity cost and I guess we'll need to see what the rest of the bottom of the roster looks like before determining how this player and cap hit fit in.

If the Canucks have no choice but to go with a cheap, young centre in the 3 hole, I'd prefer they have a competent and prove #4 centre.

If they still have the money to sign that guy and Tanev, then this move is fine.

Competent and proven don't seem to exist at a sub $3M price point - see Gordon, Boyd.

Canucks will be forced to use Schroeder / Gaunce / Lain / random-replacement-level-vet in the 3C / 4C spots.

It'd suck for Schroeder's development, but a combo of Schroeder / Weise / ??? might be able to soak up a decent amount of minutes and drive possession the right way against sheltered opposition starting in the defensive zone...

All of this is barring, a significant trade.

Keep in mind too that the opportunity cost is equal to the player's cap hit minus $925k. It's virtually nil in this case. (And Sestito's for that matter, but who's counting.)

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#9 RobG
July 05 2013, 04:09PM
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If the Canucks can count on Gaunce at 1.05M to slot into the 3LC they will have 4.6M left to sign Schroeder, Lain, Tanev, and some depth - its going to be tight.

I agree with BrudnySeaby that this year is going to be a bridge year where winning the cup is probably an unrealistic expectation - the young players just arent quite ready to take that next step but you never know, we may get a few suprises this year.

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#10 Mantastic
July 05 2013, 04:10PM
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@BrudnySeaby

Torts hated Avery and i see Lappy being a lot like Avery.

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#11 NM00
July 05 2013, 04:14PM
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Peachy wrote:

Competent and proven don't seem to exist at a sub $3M price point - see Gordon, Boyd.

Canucks will be forced to use Schroeder / Gaunce / Lain / random-replacement-level-vet in the 3C / 4C spots.

It'd suck for Schroeder's development, but a combo of Schroeder / Weise / ??? might be able to soak up a decent amount of minutes and drive possession the right way against sheltered opposition starting in the defensive zone...

All of this is barring, a significant trade.

Keep in mind too that the opportunity cost is equal to the player's cap hit minus $925k. It's virtually nil in this case. (And Sestito's for that matter, but who's counting.)

Gordon is a 3LC, though.

His contract is pretty much like Manny's with inflation.

After the disaster on draft day, I've resigned myself to the fact that the Canucks are going to have an unproven and cheap 3LC.

The question is whether or not Richardson's contract prevents the Canucks from signing someone to replace Lapierre as the 4LC.

Or if the Canucks are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with Richardson as the 4LC.

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#12 NM00
July 05 2013, 04:18PM
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RobG wrote:

If the Canucks can count on Gaunce at 1.05M to slot into the 3LC they will have 4.6M left to sign Schroeder, Lain, Tanev, and some depth - its going to be tight.

I agree with BrudnySeaby that this year is going to be a bridge year where winning the cup is probably an unrealistic expectation - the young players just arent quite ready to take that next step but you never know, we may get a few suprises this year.

What exactly makes you believe the Canucks have the young upside players on the NHL roster or in the farm system to make this a "bridge" year?

This is the "last chance" year before the window closes completely.

At the moment, it's only opened a crack at best.

Or, you know, the Canucks could hang around the middle like the Flames did forever.

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#13 Eric Blacha
July 05 2013, 04:32PM
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@Mantastic

I think this is wrong in many ways. Lapierre cares, and will change his game if needed, whereas Avery lost out playing because he can't change and is unwilling. I hope they sign Lappy again.

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#14 RobG
July 05 2013, 04:36PM
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NM00 wrote:

What exactly makes you believe the Canucks have the young upside players on the NHL roster or in the farm system to make this a "bridge" year?

This is the "last chance" year before the window closes completely.

At the moment, it's only opened a crack at best.

Or, you know, the Canucks could hang around the middle like the Flames did forever.

I hate the term window but in my opinion the window for this core closed in 2011 and what we are seeing now is a transition period where winning a cup is unrealistic and will be until the next generation of the core can develop into NHL regulars. The Canucks have Kassian, Schroeder, Jensen, Gaunce, Lain, Corrado, and Tanev (maybe) along with Horvat and Shinkurak. You may not have faith in that group of young players but I do, they will develop in time.

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#15 antro
July 05 2013, 05:21PM
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Anyone have any thoughts on the difference between Brad Richardson and Maxim Lapierre? They signed almost identical contracts, both 28. Lappy is a bit bigger, and doesn't seem to have been injured as much. Not really sure what the advantage is of Richardson.

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#16 NM00
July 05 2013, 05:52PM
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@antro

Yeah that was curious.

Just my own personal speculation, but perhaps the Canucks are trying to rehab their images with the refs and he's the easiest guy to sacrifice.

Aside from that, not really sure.

Player A can be a 4LC

Player B may or may not be able to be a 4LC. If that's the logic behind signing him.

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#17 NM00
July 05 2013, 06:05PM
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RobG wrote:

I hate the term window but in my opinion the window for this core closed in 2011 and what we are seeing now is a transition period where winning a cup is unrealistic and will be until the next generation of the core can develop into NHL regulars. The Canucks have Kassian, Schroeder, Jensen, Gaunce, Lain, Corrado, and Tanev (maybe) along with Horvat and Shinkurak. You may not have faith in that group of young players but I do, they will develop in time.

Blind faith.

This is one of the worst farm systems in hockey and all of those players project as middle-bottom of the roster players IF they hit their ceilings.

Every team has fans looking at their prospect porn and projecting the "next core".

Flames fans were doing it as well even though the decline of their franchise could be seen a mile away.

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#18 antro
July 05 2013, 07:18PM
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@NM00

It starting to look like Kesler is going to be playing the toughs, with Burrows in tow (technically, the 3rd line), maybe with Hank doing more defensive zone work as well. Richardson will probably be the 4LC, and then it will be one of Schroeder or Gaunce who is going to get the easy assignments as the quote-unquote "2nd line".

Did anyone hear anything about the 6 million dollar man, Derek Roy? Something tells me he's going to sign later, and for less than he feels he's worth.

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#19 NM00
July 05 2013, 07:49PM
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antro wrote:

@NM00

It starting to look like Kesler is going to be playing the toughs, with Burrows in tow (technically, the 3rd line), maybe with Hank doing more defensive zone work as well. Richardson will probably be the 4LC, and then it will be one of Schroeder or Gaunce who is going to get the easy assignments as the quote-unquote "2nd line".

Did anyone hear anything about the 6 million dollar man, Derek Roy? Something tells me he's going to sign later, and for less than he feels he's worth.

Yeah and Kesler getting tough minutes will likely end how it does every year.

Where he simply wears down heading into the playoffs because he absorbs too many tough assignments through out the year.

The 3rd and 4th line centre situations will probably make that worse.

I'm thinking if Derek Roy felt like going somewhere like Winnipeg he could get $4+ million a year to be a top 6 centre.

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#20 Chadallac37
July 05 2013, 08:47PM
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Wow some people really seem to forget we just drafted Bo Horvat and Hunter Shankaruk only a week ago. I for one am not too concerned about center. We now have Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Brad Richardson, Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat, Jordan Schroeder, Kellan Lain, Hunter Shankaruk, Alex Friesen for that position and I'd rather leave some spots for the kids to play for! As for other prospect forwards there's Nickas Jensen, and I have a good feeling about Ludwig Blomstrand, Alex Mallet, Alex Grenier, and I'm really hoping we resign Darren Archibald! Does anyone know what's going on with him?

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#21 nanodummy
July 05 2013, 09:59PM
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Richardson seems to have more offensive upside than Lapierre. Perhaps Gillis and Torts are planning on a more run and gun type of hockey for the depth players. The Weber signing seems to be in this line as well.

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#22 Choralone
July 06 2013, 11:14AM
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One of Richardson's strengths for the Kings was his utility - he can play at center or either wing.

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