Brad Richards is a former professional ice hockey player from Canada, best known for his outstanding career with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the National Hockey League (NHL). Richards has twice hoisted the Stanley Cup, initially in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, during which he earned the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the playoffs’ most valuable player. His second triumph came in 2015 as a key member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Brad Richards was born on May 2, 1980, in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, Canada. He grew up with a passion for ice hockey, playing minor hockey in his hometown and quickly showing promise as a future professional player.
Richards has maintained a close friendship with Vincent Lecavalier since they were 14, having met at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. This institution, known for its prominent hockey program, was where they became roommates and quickly bonded as the youngest members of their team. Their paths intertwined further as they played together for the Rimouski Océanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and later, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Interestingly, it was Lecavalier who recommended the Lightning’s management to draft Richards after he himself was drafted.
Brad Richards started his professional career with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL, having been drafted as the 64th overall pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He spent seven seasons with the Lightning, contributing significantly to the team’s success during his tenure. His skill and dedication led him to become one of the league’s top centers. After leaving Tampa Bay, Richards had successful stints with the Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks before retiring in 2016.
In his concluding season with Rimouski, Richards swept almost every prestigious award a Canadian junior player in the QMJHL could dream of: he clinched the Jean Béliveau Trophy for topping the QMJHL with a stellar 186 points and received the Telus Cup, the recognition bestowed upon the league’s best offensive performer. He also achieved both the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League Plus/Minus Awards with an impressive plus-80 rating, securing a place in the First-Team All-Star in both the Quebec league and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
His outstanding performance also led him to be named the CHL Player of the Year and Top Scorer. During the playoffs, Richards’ excellence continued as he won the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the QMJHL playoffs’ Most Valuable Player, followed by the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 Memorial Cup. This led the Océanic to both the QMJHL playoff championship and the prestigious CHL Memorial Cup.
Richards was picked by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft’s third round, 64th overall, following an impressive record of 82 assists and 115 points in his draft year. Notably, his long-time teammate Vincent Lecavalier was also selected by the Lightning as the first overall pick. Richards played a significant role in the Lightning’s first Stanley Cup win during the 2003-04 NHL season, his playoff performance earning him the Conn Smythe Trophy for the postseason’s most valuable player. His record-breaking seven game-winning goals surpassed the previous record held by Joe Sakic and Joe Nieuwendyk.
In 2004, the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL retired Richards’ jersey as a tribute to his contributions to the team. During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Richards played for Ak Bars Kazan in the Russian Superleague alongside other NHL players. He also represented Team Canada at the 2006 Olympics.
Following the Lightning’s exit from the 2006 playoffs, Richards renewed his contract with the team for another five years, signing a deal worth US$39 million.
On February 26, 2008, just hours before the NHL trade deadline, Brad Richards, along with goalie Johan Holmqvist, was traded to the Dallas Stars. This deal saw goalie Mike Smith, centre Jeff Halpern, winger Jussi Jokinen, and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick moving to Tampa Bay. Richards made a record-breaking debut for the Stars, providing five assists, his career-best and a franchise record for the most assists in a player’s inaugural game. In that game, the Stars secured a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, with Richards earning the game’s first star honor.
During the 2008 playoffs, Richards equaled an NHL record by scoring four points in a single period in a game against the San Jose Sharks. However, the 2008-09 season saw him play only 55 games due to a broken right wrist, a result of a check from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voráček. Richards missed 15 games after consulting with a specialist. Upon his return, he broke his other hand, leading to him missing the remainder of the season. The Stars subsequently failed to make the playoffs.
After a change in team management during the 2009-10 off-season, his performance placed him seventh in the NHL points standings that year, just behind former Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis. Despite finishing fourth in the NHL in total assists and second in powerplay points, the Stars missed out on the 2010 playoffs. Nevertheless, Richards’ exceptional season was recognized, and he was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy.
Brad Richards, after becoming an unrestricted free agent, penned a nine-year, $60 million deal with the New York Rangers on July 2, 2011. The move reunited him with John Tortorella, his former head coach from the victorious 2004 Lightning team, and teammate Ruslan Fedotenko. He scored his first goal for the Rangers on October 8, 2011, in a shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Richards made notable contributions in his first season with the Rangers, scoring 25 goals and 41 assists, and added six goals and nine assists in the 2012 playoffs. He scored his first NHL career hat-trick in a game against the Buffalo Sabres in April 2013.
In March 2014, the Rangers brought in Martin St. Louis, another member of the 2004 Lightning team. Both St. Louis and Richards played key roles in the Rangers’ advance to the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, where they fell to the Los Angeles Kings. Later that year, the Rangers bought out the remaining seven years of Richards’ contract to clear salary cap space.
On July 1, 2014, Richards joined the Chicago Blackhawks on a one-year, $2 million contract. Richards played his 1,000th NHL game in November 2014 and contributed 12 goals and 25 assists in 76 regular-season games. The Blackhawks, featuring Richards, later won the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals against the Lightning, giving Richards his second Stanley Cup title.
Richards then moved to the Detroit Red Wings on a one-year, $3 million contract. Despite a narrow entry into the playoffs, the Red Wings were eliminated in the first round. Richards announced his retirement from professional hockey on July 20, 2016, reflecting fondly on his Stanley Cup victories.
As of 2023, Brad Richards’ net worth is estimated to be approximately $58 million. This comes primarily from his earnings during his professional hockey career, as well as endorsements and investments.
Richards has many accolades to his name. Here are some highlights: