The Chicago Blackhawks have signed free-agent centre Brad Richards to a one-year deal worth a reported $2 million US.
The forward was bought out by the New York Rangers less than two weeks ago. He was in the midst of a massive nine-year, $60-million contract that he signed prior to the 2011-12 season.
With the signing, the Blackhawks are $2.2 million over the $69-million salary cap ceiling according to capgeek.com, possibly meaning Chicago is not done making moves.
The Blackhawks have been looking for a second-line centre behind Jonathan Toews for a couple years, and Richards' resume makes him a favourite to fill that role. The move also allows Chicago to bring prospect Teuvo Teravainen along more slowly.
Chicago also announced a one-year deal with centre Peter Regin on Tuesday.
Richards, 34, is a native of Murray Harbour, P.E.I. The six-foot, 196-pound forward won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
Known for his playmaking abilities, he struggled to find his form with the Rangers. He scored 20 goals and 31 assists in 82 games last year, and 34 points in the lockout-shortened campaign before that. He registered 25 goals and 66 points in 82 contests in his first year with the club.
Richards has also spent time with the Lightning and Dallas Stars, and has registered 276 goals and 867 points in 982 career games.
Originally drafted by the Lightning in the third round (64th overall in 1998), Richards has surpassed the 90-point plateau twice in his 14-year career.