| Date of Birth:
May 2, 1980
Place of Birth: Murray Bay, PEI
Weight: 198 lbs
When Brad Richards first met Vincent Lecavalier at a powerhouse Saskatchewan prep school in the mid-1990's, the latter was clearly the one standing in the spotlight. The same would occur when the two were reunited as juniors on a star-studded Rimouski team in the QMJHL in 1997-98. Finally, on draft day in 1998, the established pattern held when Lecavalier went first overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning and, hours later, Richards followed once again after being selected by Tampa in the third round, 64th overall.
However, since then the gap has narrowed. After Lecavalier moved straight to the NHL for the 1998-99 season, Richards stayed behind in Rimouski, honing his game for two more years. In 1999-00, Richards would enjoy one of the all-time great junior seasons, finishing with 71 goals, 115 assists for 186 points and a plus-80 rating as he led his Rimouski club to a Memorial Cup. Among his many awards, Richards would be named CHL Player of the Year and Memorial Cup MVP.
When Richards finally arrived to the NHL in 2000-01, he was much better prepared than his more famous teammate. He would parlay a 62-point (21-42-62) rookie campaign into a spot on the NHL All-Rookie team. And over the next couple of seasons he would show solid improvement before really breaking out in 2003-04, when his solid regular season of 79 points (26-53-79) and just four penalty minutes ultimately earned him the Lady Byng Trophy. However, it was Richards stellar play on the Lightning's Stanley Cup run later that spring that really turned heads. He collected 12 goals, including an NHL-record seven game-winners, and 14 assists as Tampa won their first ever Cup. Richards, whose clutch play was a big reason for the win, was the obvious choice for the Conn Smyth Trophy as the playoffs most valuable player.
Later in 2004, Richards would join Lecavalier and his other Tampa Bay teammate, Martin St. Louis, on Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey where they would enjoy another championship run. In 2006, the Lightning trio will once again attempt to bring home the gold for Canada at the Turin Games.
2006 Hockey Coverage