Brad Richards has chased the hockey dream all over North America. The pride of Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, born May 2, 1980, Richards played with the Notre Dame Hounds of the SJHL in 1996-97 and was named rookie of the year. The next season, Richards joined the QMJHL, starring with the Rimouski Oceanic for three seasons.
After his rookie campaign in 1997-98, Richards rode his 115-point season to the draft table of Tampa Bay, being claimed by the Lightning with their second Entry Draft selection. In his second season with the Oceanic, Richards collected 131 points, then exploded in 1999-00 with league-leading totals in goals (71), assists (115) and points (186). A member of Canada's World Junior Team in 2000, took home numerous awards in 1999-00: QMJHL First Team All-Star, Canadian Major Junior First Team All-Star, Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year, Memorial Cup All-Star and Memorial Cup Most Valuable Player. After winning the QMJHL league championship, Richards and the Oceanic went on to capture the 2000 Memorial Cup in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Comming off a stellar junior career, Richards jumped straight to Tampa Bay in 2000-01, setting Lightning team rookie records in goals (21), assists (41) and points (62) and was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team. He went on to play for Team Canada at the 2001 World Championships, collecting 6 points in 7 games. Richards equalled his rookie point total in 2001-02 and increased them to 74 in 2002-03. In 2003-04, Richards continued his strong play at both ends of the ice, finishing the regular season with 79 points (26-53-79) while leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to a seven game series win over the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup final. Named to the 2004 World Cup team for Canada, Richards continued his strong play in the post season, leading all playoff performers in points with 26 (12-14-26), while capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP and capping off his season by winning the Lady Byng Trophy.
Once his NHL season came to an end, Richards was member of Canada's 2004 World Cup winning team.Following a lock out year in 2004-05, Richards returned to the NHL and once again produced offensively as he tallied 91 points (23-68-91). During that season, Richards was selected to compete for Team Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics where despite his best efforts, he would return to Tampa Bay without a medal. Following his club's elimination from the 2006 NHL playoffs, Richards signed a five-year, $39 million dollar contract on May 22, 2006. After nearly matching his career high goal total in his 2006-07 season, Richards found himself on the move at the NHL trading deadline on February 26, 2008. Roughly three hours before the deadline hit, the Lightning's career assist leader waived his no-trade clause to be sent to the Dallas Stars along with goaltender Johan Holmqvist in exchange for Mike Smith, centre Jeff Halpern and winger Jussi Jokinen.
In 2009-10, Richards matched his career best with 91 points and his 67 assists were ranked fourth among all NHL players.
In the summer of 2011, Richards was unquestionably the cream of the free agent crop. Many teams lined up to make an offer for the high-scoring centre and in the end he chose the New York Rangers, inking an enormous nine-year, $60 million contract.