Richardson, 36, has 825 games to his name in the NHL and will join a Flames forward group that is suddenly full of experienced bottom-six options. Trevor Lewis, Tyler Pitlick and Blake Coleman were all brought in this offseason, giving head coach Darryl Sutter several physical, veteran options to fill out the lineup. Richardson represents the latest example of that trend towards hard-nosed, defensively responsible forwards, and adds another center to the mix for Sutter to work with.
In fact, Sutter should know exactly what he can get out of Richardson, since they were together with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, winning the Stanley Cup after the coach took over partway through the year. While he wasn’t even a playoff regular–Richardson played just 13 games that postseason–the veteran forward will understand what he’s getting himself into with the defensive-minded coach.
Richardson could serve as a replacement for Derek Ryan on the penalty kill this season, but shouldn’t see a ton of ice time at even-strength whenever he does get into the lineup. Though he did score 19 goals in the 2018-19 season with Arizona, that was an obvious outlier for a player who has just 107 in his long career. He won’t be asked to score, but Sutter teams have always relied on the bottom six to check more than contribute offensively. Given he took just 18 shots on goal in 17 games last season, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.