When we think back to where the New York Rangers were last season and where they’re at now in the Stanley Cup Final, Brad Richards’ time in Manhattan sure has changed.
While he’s been instrumental to the Rangers success this season, just last year then head coach John Tortorella made Richards a healthy scratch against the Boston Bruins for Games 4 and 5 of New York’s second round loss to the Boston Bruins.
Now he’s centering the second line between Carl Hagelin and former Tampa Bay Lightning running buddy Martin St. Louis and, as Dan Rosen of NHL.com shared, Richards is happy to be back on track.
“It was the lowest point in my career,” Richards said prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “You never want to be on the outside looking in when your teammates are battling in what I consider the best part of hockey — the playoffs.”
In these playoffs, Richards has five goals and 11 points in the Rangers’ 21 games. He’s far off the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning pace he had in 2004 with the Lightning, but his contributions have been big and coach Alain Vigneault has given him the opportunity to succeed.
Of course, even that success hasn’t killed talk of him possibly being bought out this summer, but that’s the nature of the business. For now, he’s happy to have the Rangers in the Cup Final and to have a shot at winning it all again.