As training camp draws near, a number of Coyotes players have begun to assemble for informal skates at Gila River Arena, many taking the ice together for the first time since April. With the offseason coming to a close, we touch base with a few names to catch up on the preceding months and the season ahead.
They're Back: Summer Q&A Series
Brad Richardson is entering his fifth season with Arizona. The veteran forward appeared in 66 games during the 2018-19 campaign, registering 27 points, tying the second-highest total of his NHL career. His 19 goals scored far exceeded his previous career-high of 14, which he set in 2006-07 with the Colorado Avalanche.
You're back in Arizona for the upcoming season, how was your summer?
I was here and in LA, those two were pretty much the spots, and I went back to Canada for a week, it was a good summer. You always want to play longer, we were close last year, but you also want to enjoy the time off to be with your family, so it's kind of bittersweet. When it gets to this time, you want to get back to playing again; you're happy to get your body rested, but you miss hockey, so you want to get started again here in August.
What was the highlight of your time spent away from the rink?
I had a really nice trip to Italy, which was awesome, and then hanging out with my daughter and spending more time with her, that was a huge highlight for me.
Did you keep in touch or train with any of your teammates during the offseason?
There's a good group of guys that train here in the Valley; I'm here quite a bit, [Grabner] is here a lot, guys would come in and out a lot throughout the summer like [Fischer, Keller] working out, so there was a good group here.
As far as the upcoming season, what excites you the most?
Our team. I think we made some good moves and hopefully we'll continue to grow from the strides we took last year, I'm looking forward to seeing how we do.
Fighting for a playoff spot up until the second-to-last game in 2018-19, what did you learn from that experience, how is the team looking to build on that?
You learn how hard it is to make the playoffs, first off. We didn't get there. Every game is so important, you can't take any games off. It's a very tight league; a goal here and there or a game here and there can make a big difference.
How do you feel the roster has been improved and rejuvenated with the acquisitions of forwards Phil Kessel and Carl Soderberg?
Two really good players that are going to help our team; an elite scorer in [Kessel], and those are hard to find, and then a guy in [Soderberg] that's been in the league for a while, a good all-around player, so I'm looking forward to both of them getting here and getting started with them.
What is driving your motivation for the coming season?
I think we're all motivated by how we finished last year. We know we can be a really good playoff team, so I think that's driving our motivation.
Your goals for the 2019-20 campaign, personal and for the team, what are they?
Playoffs. We haven't been to the playoffs in a long time, so I think that's the number one goal.