On February 26, 2008, the Stars made the Brad Richards trade, a trade that we have been reaping benefits from ever since. Three years ago, tonight, B-Rad scored five assists in his debut, becoming the first player ever to do so.
I’d definitely say that we did pretty well on that trade, wouldn’t you? It’s slightly crazy to know that just three years ago, Brad Richards was worth Jussi Jokinen, Mike Smith, Jeff Halpern, and a fourth round draft pick. The only player out of that trade to still be going strong is ol’ Juicy (good for him. He’s my bb). Smith is actually the only player left on the Lightning, and Jeff Halpern was used to acquire Teddy Purcell.
It’s just so crazy, though, isn’t it? Since that trade, B-Rad has been nothing but a force for the Stars. Let’s just look at some highs and lows, shall we?
February 28, 2008
Obviously, we all know about the magic that went down that night. The Stars had just made a blockbuster trade, and everyone anticipated what B-Rad could do for a team that was well on its way to the playoffs. The darling Nik Hagman scored his first hat trick that night, helped completely by B-Rad’s passing. There are sadly no highlights on YouTube from that glorious night. But we all remember it, so no big deal.
During that magical playoff run, B-Rad proved himself to be the playoff performer he had been with Tampa Bay to the tune of fifteen points through eighteen games. He was third in team scoring, only behind Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro, who were a different story that year. Especially memorable was B-Rad’s performance in Game 2 against San Jose, when he scored four points in one period, tying a record.
Let’s just, you know, forget that season. It’s not that B-Rad was bad. Gosh no. Well…this happened:
And I weeped.
When B-Rad broke his wrist, it pretty much spelled out the end of the Stars’ playoff hopes. They spiralled into a deep pit of misery, but there was always this light at the end of the tunnel that was B-Rad’s upcoming return.
Then, joyously, the return happened. I remember that day perfectly. It was March 21, 2009, and B-Rad was listed as probably for the afternoon game against the Sharks. I had actually gone shopping that morning and didn’t arrive home until the third period, by which time the Stars were down by two goals. I started looking around the ice for B-Rad, but he wasn’t there, so I assumed he wasn’t playing. Then, Ralph said something that made my blood run cold: “Brad Richards hasn’t been on the bench since the start of the period.”
My thought was that he had strained the broken wrist, and I hated myself for wanting him back so soon. Later that night, Heika broke the news that B-Rad had- ridciculously, unfairly, SOMEHOW- broken his left hand. That’s right. After breaking his right wrist, Brad Richards broke his other hand. It was so ridiculous that I laughed and cried simultaneously.
Last season, though, Brad Richards truly proved his worth to us. In a season in which he tied a career best in points, B-Rad was a monster all season. Unfortunately, the Stars didn’t make the playoffs, but B-Rad proved that he is worth every cent of that $7.8 million paycheck.
This season has brought more of the same. The only difference is Brad Richards’ pending UFA-status that has hung over the Stars like a dark cloud all season long. Today’s trade deadline brought drama, but no trade. B-Rad’s lasted this long. Perhaps we really can keep him…