The season is over for the Arizona Coyotes and veteran centre Brad Richardson. For the team to not quite reach the playoffs was a disappointment, but Richardson excelled personally. Brad Richardson defines the Arizona Coyotes scratch & claw style of play. It helped his team’s strive towards the playoffs.
Part of that was his offensive explosion, he scored 19 goals this season. It was by far his highest scoring season. You would need to go back to the 2006-07 season when he had 14 goals.
Brad Richardson’s Scratch & Claw Style of Play Defines Him
He may not be a top-six centre but he comes to play every game. His skills range from being a top faceoff man (52.8%) to working the penalty kill unit. This season he was teamed up with short-handed goal expert Michael Grabner and the duo combined for nine short-handed tallies. But, never has Richardson been an offensive threat. He brings his lunch pail to work and grinds out minutes mostly attempting to stop the opponent’s top line.
Yet this season he became a guy who tied Alex Galchenyuk for the most goals scored on the team. Brad Richardson had the highest shooting percentage of any regular player at 14.8%. He took 128 shots, which at that success rate his linemates should have been feeding him the puck more often.
Richardson did become that offensive threat in a game on Feb. 28th when he tallied four goals on home ice against the Vancouver Canucks. He was thrilled to accomplish such a feat.
Leg Injury in 2016
Brad Richardson suffered a serious leg injury in 2016. When this injury struck the veteran, he had been playing very well. He collected five goals and four assists in his first 16 games. He fell awkwardly after a hit by huge Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin, who stands 6’7”, 265lbs. Richardson suffered a fractured tibia and fibula bones and it required surgery sidelining him the rest of the season.
Any other player may not come back at full speed as Richardson did. The next season he only had three goals, 12 assists but participated in 76 games.
Following the 2017-18 season, it was rumoured that the Coyotes may not re-sign the veteran. They had just traded Jordan Martinook to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Marcus Kruger. Kruger was a similar type of player as Richardson playing on the fourth line most of his career. But then, Kruger was sent back to the Chicago Blackhawks in the deal bringing the Coyotes Vinnie Hinostroza and Jordan Oesterle.
All of sudden, Richardson’s services were in demand once again. He then signed a two-year deal worth $1.25 million a year to stay in Arizona. It has been a good decision to retain him and his value for the team is obvious.
At 34-years-old, it’s not clear how many more seasons Richardson has in him. He’s tough as nails and just seems to get better and better each season. At this year’s training camp he was one of the players who stood out, performing and doing what he does best.
Just watch how Richardson lines up for a faceoff and how he frequently gets kicked out of the circle due to his overzealous methods. He’s a winner and a fighter and he certainly fits the Coyotes ‘scratch & claw’ method of play.