Joel Quenneville confirmed Thursday that he intends to play Brad Richards between Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad to start the season.
Richards of course joins the Blackhawks after being bought out by the New York Rangers on June 20.
The 34-year-old signed a one-year, $2 million dollar deal with Chicago on July 1.
“He’ll be playing with Saader and Kaner. The three of them have all different attributes to make that line successful and I think Brad’s excited about being here as well,” Quenneville said during his press conference.
Richards joins Chicago after scoring 20 goals and 51 points in 82 games last season. He added 12 points in 25 playoff games as the Rangers fell in five games of the Stanley Cup final to the LA Kings.
Quenneville believes the combination of speed skill and size will translate into success on the ice.
“It could be a great fit,” he said. “We’ll find out how it works out early in the preseason and hopefully it’ll start out like that in the regular season. If we don’t change it, we know we have a good line.”
Some may question Quenneville’s decision to pair Saad with skill level of Richards and Kane, but the Blackhawks bench boss believes Saad is an ideal fit.
“We like guys that provide an element of toughness that can play a little bit and there’s certain guys who are a one dimensional tough guy,” he said. “I think Brandon is a guy that can play.”
Ideally Saad’s physical play will create time and space for the skilled duo of Richards and Kane. Only time will tell if what looks good on paper translates on the ice.
Chicago begins their preseason schedule Sept. 23.