A Player Comparison: Richards vs Horcoff

With news that the Dallas Stars would like to shed salary this upcoming season due to financial troubles, one player who comes up frequently is Brad Richards. The Stars have Mike Ribeiro, so it makes sense that they see Richards as expendable and his $7.8 million salary makes him the logical choice.

Richards has been a star player for years. On a team loaded with offensive talent in Tampa he was still able to stand out as a 2nd line centre who should have been a #1. He was moved to Dallas to fill that role, but got hurt; thus we never really got to see what he could do on the 1st line for a full season. That said, in a limited capacity, he was still able to put up 16g and 32a for 48 points in 56 games. He ranked 3rd on the team in Short handed TOI, which is impressive considering he missed 26 games and he ranked 4th in Power Play time in that same short span. This tell us he can be a weapon at both ends of the ice. He takes a ton of faceoffs with a % over 50 and since the lockout been much closer to a point a game player than our number #1 centre.

Shawn Horcoff, who when you look at how often he's used short handed and in the defensive zone brings a lot of the type features Brad Richards does. Popularly known as a first line centre on a team that lacks a true #1, it is argued Horcoff is more a #2 sometimes #3 guy. This is almost a direct opposite from Brad Richards. Sure they are both relied on for more than just offense, but Richards seems to be able to produce the offense where Horcoff can't despite being used in similar roles.

Does that mean, that a Brad Richards for Shawn Horcoff trade would make sense? I might be the only person after looking at Richard's $7.8 million salary that thinks so. Both players are overpaid, that's no secret. But let me suggest that Richard's salary is not as scary as it might sound. Horcoff is being paid $5.5 million for the next six years, while Richards gets $7.8 for the next two. Long term, that's a much bigger issue for the Oilers.

We know this years cap won't be going down, so the Oilers would be ok if they could shed a little more salary than just Horcoff by moving an excess player to a different location. It would only be 2010/2011 that creates a small concern if the cap decreases. After 2011, I'd argue that Richards would see a decrease in salary smaller than Horcoff's $5.5, which might actually benefit Edmonton and make the tight salary cap for the Oilers less of an issue. If they don't keep Richards, they've still moved Horcoff's salary and opened the door to pay Gagner to be your new #1 (by then he better be ready for it), and can fill the number two role in free agency or trade at a much less expensive rate than $5.5 million.

Richards is steady. Much more so than Horcoff. Richards brings you experience at a younger age, a Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe trophy and a much better offensive record which would likely help Hemsky which is always important in Edmonton.

I like Horcoff and I truly believe he is much better offensively than his latest numbers suggest, however; my big concern is that his role will not lessen defensively with the loss of two-way players in Edmonton. As such, the Oilers need a guy that can still put up numbers while playing short handed and taking over 1000 faceoffs a year. Richards has that quality.

I don't know that Richards would waive his no trade to come to Edmonton, but if he would, I'd argue it might be worth a conversation.


Why would Dallas do that trade? Horcoff is getting paid 7 Mill this year.

August 23, 2009 at 4:22 PM comment-delete

Valid point, however Horcoff's $7 this year to $6.5 next year vs Richard's $7.8 and $7.8 is a savings of $2.1 million.

We can't pretend to know what would help Dallas in terms of a financial assist, but we do know that most of what Dallas Stars news revolves around is trying to save money.

We've seen players moved, traded or bought out for a lot less than $2.1 million to save room.

August 23, 2009 at 4:37 PM comment-delete

I don't think Dallas does that deal nor Richards accepts we are stuck in a rut where big namers don't wanna come here. I read in the sun today that Heatley had 2 can teams on his list my guess cal and van so that says alot

August 24, 2009 at 6:13 PM comment-delete

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