EDMONTON OILERS AND MIKE RICHARDS | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours


I wrote a piece yesterday looking at the Edmonton Oilers and some options at center on PTO's. Not surprisingly, but somewhat intriguing based on the timing of things, two of the options I presented were scooped up by other teams mere hours after I posted the article. I'm not suggesting, by any means, that my article had anything to do with the signings, (that would be a laughable assumption), but more that the options I presented show that these players have potential value around the NHL.

Mike Richards could be an option on a PTO for the Oilers. Photo by neat1325

Both Jarret Stoll (Columbus) and Dominic Moore (Boston) were added to NHL rosters on either a PTO, or in Boston's case, signed Moore to a one-year contract. These could be fantastic value contracts for both clubs. One of the players mentioned yesterday in my piece and still out there is experienced center Mike Richards.

The Downside

People are going to make the same argument they made about Stoll in that Richards has a checkered past. At one point, he was considered one of the best two-way centers in the NHL, but has since fallen from grace and shuffled around the NHL.

He's been with Washington, Los Angeles and Philadelphia and at 31 years of age, his game has slowed dramatically. His past six seasons haven't been kind, but that could be due to the connection of health and off-the-ice issues that have plagued him recently. He could still have something left in the tank and definitely has something to prove.

The Upside 

Richards would be a gamble. Extending a PTO offer to him is the only way to go if you're going to consider bringing him in. His point totals last year in the 39 games he played with Washington weren't great, but his career as an NHL'er has some upside.

He's been on winning teams and in winning environments. He's likely learned from his mistakes of the past and if he's got his life back on track, could be a good role model for the young team that is the Oilers. Most importantly, there isn't a risk here as the odds are he's a fill while McDavid, Draisaitl and Nuge are at the World Cup of Hockey. Should he work out, he's a pleasant surprise and nothing more than a no-lose gamble that paid off. We shouldn't forget, at one point he was considered the building block on a very good Flyers team.

On the ice, he's a positive Corsi % player, a decent faceoff guy and a smart hockey player defensively. He's not shown to produce the same level of offense he once did, but his shot totals and his 5v5 points per 60 were better than almost any fourth line player the Oilers currently employ. He'd be used in a limited role and potentially as a penalty killer.

With fewer and fewer options left at center on PTO's, if the Oilers are looking to add someone during the World Cup of Hockey and want a player who can handle some NHL minutes, perhaps Richard's is one of the few viable options. I'd consider it just to take a look at Richard's and what he has left to provide an NHL team.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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  1. I recall the year that the Oilers went to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. The team had a number of these role players, and it made them strong. As I recall, people seem to not give a player Mike Peca (and others like him - Dan Cleary comes to mind) enough credit. I am of the belief that these players are necessary parts of a good team. Thus, I almost always think an "old guy" (31 years old) like Richards is a good risk - especially when their careers are "against the wall" so to speak.

    1. Of the PTO options out there, Richards may have more to prove than any other player. Any PTO candidate is on the verge of being out of the NHL in most cases but with Richards it's that and he needs to show he can get focused back on hockey so he may be extra motivated.