Brad Richards C CHI 3 Months

Richards has been quarterbacking the Blackhawks' second power-play unit the last two days of practice, CSNChicago.com's Tracey Myers reports.

Assuming coach Joel Quenneville proceeds with the arrangement once the regular season starts, Richards will effectively replace defenseman Nick Leddy as the point man on the second unit. While Richards won't have the luxury of working with stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the power play, the Blackhawks are still flush with other talent at forward, which should create plenty of scoring opportunities.

Brad Richards C CHI 5 Months

As a youngster, Brad Richards dreamed about joining the Chicago Blackhawks -- but as a goalie.

When he was growing up, his idol was then-Chicago goalie Ed Belfour. "I always wanted to be a goalie, but my dad, Glen, would never let me," Richards was quoted as saying. "He played goalie a bit himself, but he wouldn't have it. I liked all the equipment, the gear, and whenever he wasn't around, I was a goalie in street hockey. But he wouldn't allow it, and I cried my eyes out when he said no." Part of Richards' dream has come true, as he recently agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the Hawks. But the club expects him to fill the void at second-line center next season.

Brad Richards C CHI 5 Months

Brad Richards doesn't have a strong preference when it comes to who he wants to play alongside in Chicago.

Richards might end up playing alongside Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, but that's not set in stone. "I've only watched [Kane], and he's exciting to watch," Richards said. "All of that is played out when you get on the ice. It's so hard to talk about it now because it might or might not work. . . . There are so many different players you can play with when you play here. It's a great opportunity, no matter who [it is]. If that's the case, I'd be thrilled. If not, there are other options that are very enticing, too." If Richards plays with Kane and Saad, then that would allow Jonathan Toews to play with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. That would make for two pretty intimidating lines.

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

Brad Richards is excited to be a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards probably could have gotten significantly more money elsewhere, but he agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract so that he could fit within Chicago's tight budget. "To get an opportunity to play with these type of wingers, the four in their top six, I don't know where you're finding that type of talent in the league. I feel I can take advantage of that and it's up to me to do that," Richards said. "What they've accomplished, it's not just about points put up; they seem to find a way to win all the time and they're always relevant." He'll play alongside the likes of Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa as Chicago's second-line center.

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Brad Richards to a one-year, $2 million contract.

That's incredibly cheap for Richards, but Chicago was already against the ceiling, so they're still going to have to make a move to accommodate this signing. All the same, this is a great addition for the Blackhawks as Richards firmly addresses their need for a second-line center. With him joining Chicago's offensive core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks are in a great position going into the 2014-15 campaign.

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

Randy Miller of the Newark Star-Ledger does not think that Brad Richards would fit in with the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils need scoring and some leadership and while Richards could provide both, he is not a fit according to Miller because he is already 34, he is not a number one center anymore, he is not a clutch player anymore and he will be too expensive. Richards had 20 goals and 51 points with the Rangers in 2013-14 and added five goals and 12 points in the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

Brad Richards would consider a return to Tampa Bay.

Richards officially hits the market July 1, after having his contract bought out by the Rangers. Pat Morris, his agent, said Richards would "certainly respond positively to interest from Tampa." Of course, this says nothing about whether the Lightning even have interest in him. Richards can still be an asset in the right situation, and his production now won't automatically need to be judged based on the huge contract he was under with the Rangers.

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

Rangers GM Glen Sather said the decision to buy out the remainder of Brad Richards' contract was "extremely difficult."

Sather said he has a great deal of respect for Richards. "Brad's leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization," he said in a statement. "We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow. Brad has been a very good player for us and an even better person. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

Brad Richards enjoyed his three seasons with the New York Rangers.

Richards had the last six years of his contract bought out by the Rangers on Friday and he is now an unrestricted free agent. "Tough last few days," Richards said in a statement. "I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at MSG in front of great fans. Glen Sather, the management, and the owner, Mr. [James] Dolan, are all class acts. I want to thank them for letting me be a part of New York life and the Rangers family. With this decision finalized, I can now look forward to starting the next chapter of my career." The 34-year-old will now look elsewhere and he should have no trouble finding an interested team as he is still a top-six forward.

Brad Richards C CHI 6 Months

New York Rangers GM Glen Sather said the decision to buy out Brad Richards was "extremely difficult" because of the respect Sather has for him.

Sather went on to praise Richards' leadership and guidance. The Rangers aren't buying out Richards' contract because he didn't have value. They're doing it because he's 34 years old and came with a $6,666,667 annual cap hit through 2019-20. They had the option to rid themselves of that cap hit entirely through a compliance buyout, but that option wouldn't have been available to them beyond this summer, so they had to act now.