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Dave Andreychuk, Brad Richards to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Lightning Hall of Fame

Twenty years after raising the Stanley Cup for the first time, two more members of that iconic team will be inducted into the Tampa Bay Lightning Hall of Fame. Forwards Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards will comprise the 2024 Hall of Fame class, joining last year’s inaugural class of Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, and Phil Esposito. The ceremony will take place over Alumni Weekend on March 8th-9th. It was never a question of if, only of when, these two players would be added to the Hall of Fame, after all one of them already has a statue in front of the arena.

While Andreychuk’s time with the Lightning was relatively short by a lot of standards (4 seasons, 278 games) his arrival in the clubhouse is often credited with putting the Lightning on the pathway to their first Stanley Cup. Despite being at the latter stages of his career (his first season with the Bolts was his age-38 season) he was productive on the ice, recording 20 or more goals in three straight years.

In all he finished with 68 goals and 61 assists with 38 of those goals coming on the power play. When he retired after the 2005-06 season he held the NHL mark for power play goals with 274, a number since eclipsed by only Alex Ovechkin. In his 23-year career, Andreychuk scored 640 goals over 1639 game for six franchises including the Lightning. The Ontario native was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.

Would Brad Richards have been selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1998 NHL Draft if he hadn’t been Lecavalier’s teammate with the Rimouski Oceanic? Probably not, the scouting staff wasn’t exactly the deepest at that point (Esposito once told Sports Illustrated, “We don’t need a pro scout. We have our satellite dishes”).

The good news was that Richards did play with Lecavalier that season and matched the number one overall’s production with 115 points of his own. So, with the 64th pick of the 1998 draft, the Lightning took Richards. Unlike Lecavalier, Richards didn’t make the jump to the NHL right away. Instead he stayed in juniors for two more seasons and thrived. He put up 131 points (39 goals, 92 assists) in 1998-99 and then an absurd 186 points (71 goals, 115 assists) the following year. The 432 points he put up with Rimouski earned him a spot in the QMJHL Hall of Fame.

He made his debut with the Lightning in the 2000-01 season and put up 62 points (21 goals, 41 assists) to finish second in the Calder Trophy voting to Evgeni Nabokov. Richards played for 7 total seasons with the Lightning and amassed 150 goals, and 339 points during the regular season. In 2003-04 he won the Lady Byng Trophy and the Conn Smythe. There was no doubt about his selection as the playoff MVP during the Lightning’s Cup run as recorded 7 game-winning goals among the 12 he scored while also adding 14 assists. His best performance came in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final where he scored twice on the power play in the second period and assisted on Marty St. Louis’ double-overtime winner (Parallax Goal!) in the 3-2 win that kept them alive in the series.

Richards followed up that performance with his best regular season as a member of the Lightning as he put up 91 points (23 goals, 68 assists) in 2005-06 which earned him a $39-million, 5-year contract extension. Known as part of The Big Three with Lecavalier and St. Louis, signing the contract provided hope that the trio would lead the Bolts to more Cups in the future. That hope lasted until February of 2008 when the last place Lightning dealt Richards to the Dallas Stars with Johan Holmqvist for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, and a 4th-round pick.

Richards would go on to play with Dallas, the New York Rangers, the Blackhawks (where he got his second Stanley Cup ring), and the Red Wings, retiring after the 2015-16 season with 932 points (298 goals, 634 assists) in 1126 regular season games. He had another 105 points (37 goals, 68 assists) in 146 playoff games.

Congratulations to Dave and Brad!

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