Brad Richards is one of the best pivots in the league. He continues to perform every year on a team in Dallas that has been on an internal salary cap for years now, meaning that they can only spend about 40 million on players. Richards would not only be a great centre to feed the puck to Phil Kessel, who is in a desperate need of a centre, but he can also play the point on the power play, filling the hole that was created with the Kaberle trade. Imagine a Leaf's powerplay that features Kessel, Kulemin, Kadri, Phaneuf, and Richards. Doesn't sound like a bottom 10 powerplay in league anymore does it? Leafs Nation seems to be worried that Richards will cost too much? He will probably be signed in the 7.5 to 9 million dollar a year range for 5 years. Although that may be true we need to examine the other players that could be avaliable to the Maple Leafs via free agency or trade.
Another free agent set to be avaliable this summer is Brooks Laich. He is currently playing for the Washington Capitals, and he would be a much cheaper option. However, he is not the same player that Richards is. He plays more of a power forward game, and although he has been producing decent point totals in Washington, most would agree their team has way more talent to make his performance look better than it is. It could be the exact same situation that happened with Versteeg. He looked great as a depth player in an organization, but put him in the spotlight and he may not shine.
A third player that may be avaliable via trade is Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche. Here is a player that is being payed first line money to play on the second line ever since the arrival of Matt Duchene. This player could shine in a Maple Leafs uniform, but what would it cost to get him out of Colorado? Well to start, it would take a roster player, probably Nik Kulemin or Mikhail Grabovski, along with one or two prospects, including Nazem Kadri, Frattin, Colbourne, or picks from this years draft.
Now I ask you Leafs Nation, would you rather sacrifice salary or trade off our future for a player that is not as proven. It is my opinion that we need Brad Richards! Get it done Burkie!!