Dreger: Leafs need Richards but Rangers equally smitten

Darren Dreger
6/30/2011 7:34:27 PM
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As much as Brad Richards wants to put a life-changing decision behind him, he's not about to choose his new home hastily and will, at the very least, take much of the day and night digesting and analyzing the multiple offers expected to roll in.

The Toronto Maple Leafs need Richards, a number one centre capable of feeding Phil Kessel the puck and perhaps, turning Kessel into the 50 goal scorer Brian Burke thinks he can be.
The New York Rangers are equally smitten and as long as Toronto or another team doesn't table a mega-deal at $ 8 million or more per season, the Rangers appear to be the primary target.

Richards, like many NHL players, loves New York. He has a strong working relationship with John Tortorella who's direct, no nonsense approach coaxed a Conn Smythe performance out of Richards en route to the 2004 Stanley Cup championship. The possibility of playing for Tortorella again very likely appeals to Richards, as does the development of a team - with strong goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist - could quickly become a contender.

Much of free agent frenzy will be spent dissecting the many possibilities Brad Richards may face.
Meanwhile, here's another name worth considering, Tomas Fleischman.

Fleischman is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and for the most part has flown under the radar because of poor health. However, source say the talented forward, whose season was ended in Colorado with a blood clot, has been given a clean bill of health from doctors.

Fleischman is on medication now that prevents the clotting from happening again and has been assured the problem won't return as long as he remains on the meds.

Fleischman earned $2.6 million last year and could be a solid offensive add for a team willing to invest the time into researching his status in the hours leading up to the opening of the free agent market.

Darren Dreger


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