When the Chicago Blackhawks signed Brad Richards this summer, it was seen as a temporary solution to the team’s issues at second-line center. (The issue being they didn’t have a very good one, at least relative to some of the other Stanley Cup contenders in the Western Conference.)
But Richards, even if he does have nine points in 16 games, hasn’t really been the solution. In fact, coach Joel Quenneville has only seen fit to play the 34-year-old for around 12 minutes a night.
Meanwhile, another 2C candidate, Andrew Shaw, has similarly failed to impress the coach, particularly on the defensive side of the ledger.
“We’re still, last year, this year, trying to get that nailed, the part of his game where everyone can play the right way without the puck,” Quenneville said of Shaw, per CSN Chicago. “It’s not an easy job, playing low in your own end. But if you nail that, the other stuff takes care of itself.”
And so the 2C issue remains. Teuvo Teravainen is the future, but he’s being developed in the minors. The only other options at center are Peter Regin and Marcus Kruger. Maybe GM Stan Bowman could explore a trade, but he’d have to free up some cap space to go after, say, Arizona’s Antoine Vermette.
It may be the ‘Hawks just have to go with what they’ve got. They won the Stanley Cup in 2013 with an aging Michal Handzus in the 2C role. It’s certainly not out of the question they could do it with Richards.