Nashville, Tenn. (October 23, 2020) - Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced Friday that the team has hired Todd Richards as an assistant coach. Richards rounds out Head Coach John Hynes's coaching staff and joins fellow assistant coaches Dan Lambert and Dan Hinote on the team's bench.
"We are extremely pleased to be able to bring in Todd and his expansive coaching background to our staff," Poile said. "He not only has an experienced resume, but a winning one as well, and further added to it this past season by winning the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay. He began his rise through the professional ranks in our organization with the Milwaukee Admirals, and we are happy to have him back with us to complete John Hynes's coaching staff."
"We are incredibly excited to add Todd to our coaching staff," Hynes said. "He brings a wealth of experience and leadership to our staff and players. His work ethic, teaching ability and communication skills - as well as his experience in winning the Stanley Cup - will be a tremendous benefit to our team moving forward."
Richards, 54 (10/20/66), won the 2020 Stanley Cup as an assistant coach for the Lightning and brings 12 seasons of NHL coaching experience to the Predators organization. During his four-season tenure with the Lightning, he helped lead Tampa Bay to a league-best 201 victories in that span, the 2018-19 Presidents' Trophy and two Atlantic Division titles in addition to the Cup. Prior to joining the Lightning, Richards spent five seasons as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets and went 127-112-21 for a .529 point percentage, the second-highest in team history among those with at least one full season behind the bench. Richards led the Blue Jackets to back-to-back 40-win seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and became the first head coach in Columbus history to record three consecutive winning campaigns.
His NHL head coaching career began with the Minnesota Wild, where he went 77-71-16 and led the club to two straight winning seasons from 2009-11. Richards earned his first opportunity to coach in the NHL in 2008-09 as an assistant for San Jose and helped the Sharks win the Presidents' Trophy with a 53-18-11 record.
Richards has previous ties to the Predators organization. He received his professional coaching start with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals - Nashville's primary affiliate - as an assistant from 2002-06, winning the 2004 Calder Cup and helping guide Milwaukee to a winning record in all four seasons, including two Western Conference titles. He aided in the development of current Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne and many other longtime stalwarts of Nashville's NHL roster, such as Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Jordin Tootoo, Martin Erat and Scottie Upshall. Following the 2005-06 season, Richards moved on to become the head coach of the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, where he posted a 98-49-5-8 record and took his team to the 2008 Calder Cup Final.
The Robbinsdale, Minn., native has represented the United States as a coach on the international level four times, most recently as an assistant coach for the Americans' 2016 World Championship entry. He also earned a bronze medal as head coach of the U.S. in the 2015 World Championship, served as an assistant coach at the 2014 Winter Olympics and again as an assistant at the Worlds in 2010.
As a player, the right-shot defenseman enjoyed a 13-season professional career that featured in eight NHL appearances with the Hartford Whalers in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns. Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round (33rd overall) of the 1985 NHL Draft, Richards suited up for more than 850 professional games, the bulk of which came in the International Hockey League with Las Vegas and Orlando. He began his pro career in 1989-90 with Montreal's AHL affiliate in Sherbrooke and closed it out during the 2001-02 season with Geneva of the Swiss league. Before turning pro, Richards played four seasons at the University of Minnesota, captaining the Golden Gophers as a senior in 1988-89 and leaving as the school's all-time leader in points by a blueliner with 158 (30g-128a).