by Patrick Hoffman on 07/23/10 at 07:46 PM ET
Last season, it was obvious that the New York Rangers lacked a true No. 1 center and in the end, it hurt them.
The team had Brandon Dubinsky, Erik Christensen and others try to play with Marian Gaborik and while there was some chemistry here and there, there wasn’t enough to scare teams or produce points consistently. In fact, you can say that the team’s best No.1 center in the last five seasons was former Blueshirt Michael Nylander.
One number one center that has been floating around Rangerland is Brad Richards. Richards is a proven point producer who last season, scored 91 points (24 goals and 67 assists) in 80 games with the Dallas Stars. The season before that, he had 48 points in 56 games so as you can tell, Richards is good for about a point a game.
If the Blueshirts found a way to get him, he’d be a lock to play with Marian Gaborik. Gaborik would have himself a pure No. 1 center and someone that can feed him the puck or he can feed the puck to. They would certainly become a dangerous combinatio n and right now, the Rangers need all the offense they can get.
Another good thing about Richards is he is only 30 so it could be an acquisition that could last a few seasons. He’s also played under head coach John Tortorella with the Tampa Bay Lightning so he could easily get comfortable quick on Broadway.
The question is - how does the team acquire Richards? Who would the Stars be willing to take off the Rangers’ hands? How can the Rangers clear cap space?
For another take on the possibility of the Rangers getting Richards, please check out Nicholas Montemagno’s piece on Blueshirt Banter.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.