Chicago Blackhawks add Richards, re-sign Regin

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New Chicago Blackhawks center Brad Richards

The Chicago Blackhawks may have a second-line center. The NHL’s first day of free agency included Chicago’s addition of center Brad Ricahrds, who was bought outby the New York Rangers. His one-year, $2-million deal is exactly what Chicago needed to address a glaring need while keeping their salary cap total close to the $69-million limit.

Richards may not have been the best option, but’s Dan Rosen reported that Richards was a okay with a one year deal for less money. The former Stanley Cup champion with Tampa Bay made $6.7 million last season with the New York Rangers.

The Chicago Blackhawks missed out on centers such as Jussi Jokinen, Mathieu Perreault, Paul Stastny, and Manny Malholtra. Malholtra was the only center of the four who will make less than $3 million per season. Jokinen received a four-year, $16 million deal with Florida, Perrault earned a three-year, $9 million contract with Winnipeg, and Stastny cashed in with the St. Louis Blues, deservedly.

Many fans were hoping for a big splash during free agency, but when you miss a chance to represent the Western Conference in the Cup Final by one goal, changes aren’t necessarily needed. Keeping the majority of that group together is more important than changing it.

That’s where Peter Regin comes in. The former Ottawa Senator and New York Islander was acquired at the trade deadline last season and was a productive addition to the bottom six forwards. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Regin will not make much as he spends another year on the west side. Expect to see Regin play on the fourth line, replacing recently traded forward Brandon Bollig.

Like the moves or not, but Chicago has strapped themselves in as a favorite in the west with the Los Angeles Kings. St. Louis and Dallas also made significant strides over the past few days, but until a team other than L.A. takes down the Chicago Blackhawks, expect them to be at or near the top of the league in 2014-15.

Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.

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