Richards will retire from the NHL it was announced Wednesday after a 15-year career that included two Stanley Cup championships.
Richards was selected by Tampa Bay 64th overall in the 1998 NHL Draft after three seasons in the QMJHL where he averaged 144 points per year. The center would remain with the Lightning through the 07-08 season and helping them lift Lord Stanley's Cup in 2004 on his way to winning the Lady Byng and Conn Smythe trophies for sportsmanship and postseason MVP respectively. After several successful season with the Stars and Rangers, the 36-year-old once again ended the year on top as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks 2014-15 championship while tallying 37 points in 76 games. All told, Richards ends his career with 298 goals and 634 helpers during the regular season and adding another 37 markers and 68 assists during the playoffs.
Richards will not be re-signed by the Red Wings before July 1, allowing him to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent this summer, The Detroit News reports.
Richards was rather ineffective with the Red Wings this past season, as he picked up a career-low 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) through 68 regular-season contests. He turned 36 years old earlier this month, so one has to wonder whether Richards will go through the process of seeking out his fourth team in as many years or hang up his skates and call it a career.
Richards, a pending unrestricted free agent, is not likely to return to the Red Wings next season with retirement a possiblity, MLive.com reports.
Richards has 15 years of service time in the NHL, including playing for three teams in the last three years. He has a lot to think about now that his season's over after the Wings got ousted in the first round of the playoffs. "Going to go get away and relax for a bit," Richards said. "Three teams in three years, a lot of hockey, so I think mentally I think I need to just go recharge the batteries." Richards is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, having reached the promised land with the Lightning (2004) and Blackhawks (2015). Unfortunately, his 2015-16 campaign was among the worst of his career, as battled through a back injury and only produced 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 68 games.
Richards netted his eighth goal of the season in a 5-2 loss to Chicago on Wednesday.
Richards has given Detroit about what they expected from the 14-year veteran this season in occasional scoring from the third line. He actually has been more productive on the power play this season, with 10 points compared to seven last season, but his overall production is down. His days as a great fantasy option are over, but Richards' veteran presence adds some intangibles to the Red Wings' lineup.
Richards assisted on a pair of power-play goals in Sunday's win over the Bruins.
Richards bagged the two points Sunday, but he also finished the contest with a minus-2 rating. The 35-year-old's most productive days are clearly behind him, as he sits on just 18 points on the season, but he does provide a steadying presence on a Wings squad in the thick of the playoff race.
Richards tallied a pair of assists in Saturday's 5-1 rout of the Islanders.
Father Time has not been kind to the 11-time 60-plus point center, as these were just his 14th and 15th points in 38 games this season. Still, Richards provides a winning pedigree and a ton of experience to a Red Wings squad ripe with young talent -- something that is sure to come in handy should Detroit muscle their way into the postseason come April.
Richards scored his fifth goal of the season in a 4-2 victory against the Islanders on Monday.
Ricahrds snapped a seven-game scoreless streak with the goal. The center's production has waned over the last couple seasons, and he's on pace for the least points of his career this year. That being said, he's not relied upon as heavily in Detroit, and is there to provide a steady second-line presence rather than light up the scoreboard.
Richards will miss Friday's game in Buffalo following the passing of his grandfather, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
Khan adds that Richards will play Saturday against the Ducks, a home game that precedes three straight games on the road. It's not clear who will take his spot in the lineup Friday, but it appears that a call-up will be made since there are only 11 forwards available and currently no extra defensemen that could temporarily assume a forward role.
Richards assisted on Dylan Larkin's breakaway goal to aid Detroit in a 1-0 victory against New Jersey on Monday.
The pass was a beauty that resulted in the only scoring in the game. Richards got off to a bit of a slow start this season but does have seven points in his last 11 games. He's upped his total to 12 points in 27 contests on the year.
Richards was unable to get on the scoresheet, despite launching six shots on net against the Wild on Monday.
Richards saw his three game point streak come to an end Monday. Peppering opposing goaltenders, the 35-year-old has 29 shots on goal in his last seven outings, recording two goals and three assists in the process. St. Louis will be next to face the center's onslaught of shots on Tuesday.
Richards scored a goal in Sunday's 4-2 victory against Calgary, his third in the last seven games.
Richards has played much better as of late, with four points in his last seven contests. While his days of fantasy stardom may be over, he's still producing at a decent clip, with eight points in 20 games.
Richards scored Detroit's only goal while firing five shots on net in Monday's 2-1 loss to the Sabres.
Age has clearly caught up to the 35-year-old forward, but he has done his best to defy it with two points and 11 shots over his last two games. Even with this minor bump in production, Richards has just two goals and five assists this season despite playing in a top-six role.
Richards scored his first goal of the season in Saturday's overtime win over Nashville.
He has struggled to recover from a back injury and has just five points in 14 games. Richards' star has dimmed over the last few years, in part due to age and in part because of his slow feet. But Richards' drop doesn't feel as dramatic as former teammate, Vinny Lecavalier's. Still, we wouldn't put him on a roster unless it was super deep and he manages to go on a run.
Richards collected two primary assists in Saturday's 4-3 overtime win against the Blues.
Richards skated around the net and connected with Pavel Datsyuk, who posted his first goal of the season. In the overtime frame, he also contributed a game-winning helper to Teemu Pulkkinen with the man advantage. Despite missing 13 games with a back injury, Richards has looked energetic since returning to action Friday. In the past two games, he has combined for seven shots on goal, but the trouble is that nothing has been falling for the 35-year-old center. Richards is past his prime, but he does have 288 goals and 619 assists through 1,066 career contests, so you know that he's capable of big things for the Winged Wheel.
Richards (back) practiced with the second power play unit Thursday and appears ready to return Friday against Los Angeles, Ansar Khan of MLive reports.
Richards finally looks good to go after missing nearly a month with a back ailment. He had two points in six games before his injury, and should slot back in as a bottom-six center.
Richards (back) logged a full practice for the first time since Oct. 21 on Thursday, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
It's a big step in the right direction for Richards in his recovery from a back injury he's been dealing with since Oct. 21. He resumed skating Tuesday, and was able to fully practice Thursday, indicating he is likely on the verge of making a return to game action. Richards will probably need to log a number of full practices to get back into playing shape before returning to the Wings' lineup, but it isn't unreasonable to expect that he will be ready to suit up within the next few weeks.
Richards skated in practice Tuesday morning, but remains out for the near future, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Coach Jeff Blashill said his injury is more than day-to-day, so it may be a week or two before Richards starts practicing fully. It is a good sign, however, that he's skating again.
Richards (back) is still not skating at practice, Ansar Khan of MLive reports.
Richards was thought to only be day-to-day originally, but it's now been a few weeks and he appears no close to returning. Back injuries are tough for veterans to deal with, so Richards is likely at least still a week away from a return.
Richards (back) has been placed on injured reserve, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Initially, Richards' back issue had him listed as day-to-day but apparently he needs more time to recover, hence the team's decision to put him on injured reserve. The veteran journeyman has put up two assists through six games this season, while averaging 14:24 TOI.
Richards is out of Friday's lineup against Calgary,but is considered just day-to-day because of the issue, MLive.com reports.
Richards has already been ruled out Friday after not skating either of the past couple days, but fortunately the injury is relatively minor in nature. His next chance to rejoin the lineup will come Saturday against the Canucks, but whether or not he's present at morning skate should provide a clearer picture on his status for the contest.