Brad Richardson seeking multi-year deal to remain with Coyotes

Apr 24, 2018, 9:43 AM | Updated: 9:45 am
Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson (15) shields St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko from ...
Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson (15) shields St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko from the puck in the second period during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Brad Richardson needed the first three months of the 2017-18 NHL season just to get comfortable on the ice. It was a common refrain for most of the Coyotes this season, but Richardson was adapting to more than just an inhumane travel schedule, a new coaching staff, lots of new faces and a new style of play.

Richardson was adapting to a rebuilt leg.

“There was still pain, for sure,” he said.

Richardson had surgery in November 2016 to repair a broken right tibia and fibula sustained in a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 17 of 2016. He had a second procedure in March 2017 to remove a screw from the leg, and he had other complications including an inability to get his quads firing once he started training.

“I barely touched the ice until August and having all that time off was tough,” he said, “but when I did get on the ice I didn’t feel good so you’re trying to save your body for a point where you don’t feel like crap all the time.”

Richardson said he reached that point in January, and his turnaround was one of several key reasons the Coyotes went 20-14-7 in 2018. Coach Rick Tocchet used Richardson often in a shutdown role, centering a line against other teams’ top talent.

Remarkably, Richardson was only a minus-seven in that all-important job after Jan. 1, posting an even rating in February and March when the Coyotes had a healthy complement of players.

He also brought a fun-spirited presence to the locker room that made him one of what Tocchet called the “glue guys” on the team.

“He plays hard and he was able to play some tough minutes for us,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka said. “Brad provided a good veteran presence for our group.”

Just what that presence is worth will be sorted out this summer. Richardson can become an unrestricted free agent on July. He is finishing out a three-year, $6.25 million deal. One of his agents at Newport Sports Management, Mark Guy, said Monday that Richardson, 33, would be seeking a multi-year deal.

“We had numerous discussions with him over the last month of the season — and probably three discussions since the season ended,” Guy said. “Brad has made it clear that his preference would be to stay in Arizona if we are able to get something done so that’s what we’re going to try to work toward.

“Helping kind of shape the direction of the young guys and the franchise and having a chance to play against top players are two things he relishes. I know he really enjoyed the group and he has a great relationship with the coaching staff, with Toc. He just feels there is a bright future there.”

Guy said he has engaged in preliminary talks with Chayka, but he added that it would be premature to discuss term, dollars or comparables until those talks progress. Guy expects that to happen just before or during the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo May 29 to June 3.

Given Richardson’s age, a two- or three-year deal might make sense with a similar dollar value to what he has made, but Chayka has other roster concerns to consider as well, including upgrading his forward group.

“My job is to build a team and you’ve got to be disciplined,” Chayka said. “It’s got to make sense and it’s got to fit.”

Richardson has been an unrestricted free agent twice before so he is preaching patience.

“Obviously, I like it here and my preference would be to come back, but the longer it goes, the more options start surfacing and you see what else is out there,” he said. “I know my worth and what I bring to the team. I’m excited to be in that role. Whether it’s here or it’s somewhere else, I’ll keep doing the same things.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

Fans watch as the Arizona Coyotes warm up before the NHL game against the Nashville Predators at Gi...
Character Counts

Arizona Coyotes Foundation’s 2022-23 grant cycle to open July 1

The Arizona Coyotes Foundation announced that the 2022-23 grant cycle will open from July 1 and run through Aug. 1.
5 days ago
National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Arizona Coyotes #3 overall draft...
Arizona Sports

Here’s where the Arizona Coyotes pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft

The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is set to be a big one for the Coyotes, having seven selections in the draft's top 45 picks.
5 days ago
Logan Cooley speaks at the Top Prospects Media Availability at the NHL Scouting Combine at HarborCe...
Sam Graveline

Coyotes nab F Logan Cooley in Bleacher Report’s latest NHL mock draft

Bleacher Report's Lyle Richardson has the Coyotes taking American center Logan Cooley with the No. 3 overall pick in his latest mock draft.
7 days ago
President, CEO & Alternate Governor Xavier A. Gutierrez (Photo by Kelsey Grant/NHLI via Getty I...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes hope to agree with Tempe on arena plan by end of year

Arizona Coyotes CEO and president Xavier Gutierrez said an ideal timeline to get an agreement on a new arena would be by the end of 2022.
11 days ago
(Twitter Photo/@NHL_On_TNT)...
Jake Anderson

Paul Bissonnette gets new haircut after losing bet on Stanley Cup Playoffs

Former Coyotes player and current analyst Paul Bissonnette paid up after losing a Stanley Cup Playoffs bet with an interesting haircut.
18 days ago
Shane Doan walks out onto the ice during a pregame ceremony in his honor and to retire his jersey a...
Arizona Sports

Shane Doan: Work now begins for Coyotes in next phase of arena plans

Arizona Coyotes chief hockey development officer Shane Doan discussed the city council vote going in favor of the Coyotes.
22 days ago
Brad Richardson seeking multi-year deal to remain with Coyotes