When the Blackhawks acquired Brad Richards on July 1, it meant they could give Teuvo Teravainen all the time he needed to adapt to the NHL game and to centering at this level.
The acquisition also gave coach Joel Quenneville something: options.
Quenneville addressed several topics following the Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane extension press conference on Wednesday, including Richards, who signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks at free agency’s start. Richards will be one of many players attending this year’s Blackhawks convention, which begins Friday.
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For Quenneville, Richards gives the Blackhawks a potential power-play quarterback. More important, the veteran gives the team depth at center, something the Blackhawks have struggled with for a few seasons. Quenneville is already contemplating possible line combinations.
“We could put Brad with (Brandon) Saad and Kane and see how that goes. That’s an option going forward,” said Quenneville. “You can’t have enough depth up the middle. There are way more options as a coach with him there; he gives us depth in all our lines.”
Kane, who finished the postseason lined up with Saad and Andrew Shaw, sent a “welcome” tweet when Richards signed. On Wednesday, Kane said he’s got plenty of respect for the veteran.
“Obviously he’s an established NHL player, and he’s another guy who’s won a Conn Smythe (in 2004),” said Kane. “I know just from watching him he has that ability to be a big-game player. He’s very skilled where he can do different things, including point on the power play. Any time you can add a skilled player with a great track record like his, it’s great for everyone. If we match up together, I look forward to that, too.”