Brad Richardson signs in Arizona

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, soon-to-be former Canucks centre Brad Richardson is close to inking a 3-year, $2.08 M/yr deal with the Arizona Coyotes. The deal is now official.

The Canucks had hoped to get Richardson re-signed to reprise his bottom-6 C and top penalty killer role, but now they’ll have a hole to fill in the bottom of the lineup. Let’s take a look after the jump.

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At 5-on-5, Richardson should be a replaceable piece for the Canucks going forward. His offensive play was solid for his role, but he was far from a driver of possession and permitted scoring chances at a fairly high rate relative to the rest of the Canucks roster. We’d argued in the past that Richardson brought down Zack Kassian to an extent, so he should be a piece which Vancouver can replace at 5-on-5.

It’s a bit of a different story on the penalty kill, however. Richardson has been one of the NHL’s elite forwards while a man short for a few seasons now, as he’s traditionally been excellent at suppressing shots. Richardson was also the Canucks’ best faceoff man outside of Bo Horvat, and the Canucks penalty kill, their one legitimate fastball, started falling apart around the time that Richardson suffered an ankle injury:


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With Linden Vey officially listed as a right winger, Shawn Matthias likely too expensive to bring back, and a bunch of question marks after Henrik Sedin, Nick Bonino, and Bo Horvat (to be honest, Horvat himself is a bit of a question mark. Is he the player that showed well down the stretch and in the playoffs? Or will he take a year or two more to grow beyond the possession sinkhole he was for most of his rookie season?), Vancouver will undoubtedly be in the market for another centreman.