With the puck dropping on the 2014/15 NHL hockey season our good friend Mark Smith at FanDuel.com (the only place for daily fantasy sports – if you’re into that sort of thing) thought he’d share some thoughts on the presents that will be delivered by the Blackhawks’ newest veteran presence.

Brad Richards Poised For A Rebound Season

After playing 13 seasons in the NHL, Richards saw his career at a crossroads after scoring just 20 goals for the New York Rangers in 2013-2014. He still provided fantasy hockey value, but he was hardly playing at the same level that earned him a Conn Smythe Trophy in the past. Things are certainly looking up for him with his new deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, at just $2 million, he is a steal for this upcoming season.

Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad are the stars on offense right now for Chicago, so Richards will not be asked to be a prolific scorer by any means. At this stage in his career, that is probably asking too much of him anyway. What he can provide is excellent setup skills for those stars and others. They need a facilitator out on the ice, and he is certainly not above playing that role.

Setting playing up has always been second nature for Richards. He is a guy who never holds on to the puck for too long, and he can move it around with the best of him. Adding another veteran to a still fairly young Chicago team could be just what they need to navigate a tough Western Conference.

At center, expect Richards to more than likely lead the team in assists. His days of scoring at a high rate are probably over, but he will still finish with a much better point total than a year ago. He was not a very good fit on New York last season, but in Chicago he is already looking like a steal. Once he gets the timing completely down with his new teammates, he should have a few more years of quality value left in him as a NHL player.

For my take on the season that is to come please check out this link as well.  I look forward to partying with each and every one of you in Grant Park next June!