The Vancouver Canucks dove into the free agency pool aiming to improve their depth at centre and did just that, inking 28 year-old Stanley Cup winning pivot, Brad Richardson.
Richardson is expected to compete for the third line centre position, a spot the Canucks had trouble filling for much of the last season.
“That’s my goal and that’s what we talked about when I met with the team. It will give me a nice challenge and I’m really looking forward to that.”
A player with Richardson’s experience - he has over 400 regular season and playoff games under his belt - had many potential suitors, but said after visiting with Canucks management the decision was easy.
“When I talked to Vancouver I felt most comfortable with them. They made me feel like they really wanted me. You want to be able to contribute and play centre and they were just the most attractive to me.”
Canucks General Manager, Mike Gillis, said he has high hopes for Richardson after the signing was made official.
“He’s a guy we’ve wanted for sometime. We think he can be a versatile player for us and move up and down the lineup.”
They say familiarity breed contempt, and Richardson, who spent the past five seasons as a Los Angeles King, admitted there was no love lost when it came to facing the Canucks.
“They are a really tough team to play against. When we were in LA we really hated to play Vancouver to be honest with you.”
But when the 5’11” two-way centre became an unrestricted free agent, those negative feelings gave way to respect.
“They have great goaltending, great forwards and great defence. They want to win and I want to win again,” said the 2012 Stanley Cup champ.
Following eight years in United States, split between Colorado and Los Angeles, returning home to play in a Canadian market is something the Belleville, Ontario native has dreamt of.
“Every Canadian player wants to play in a Canadian market at some point, so it’s going to be a great challenge.”