TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning today announced that the team’s 2024 Hall of Fame Class will feature 2004 Stanley Cup Champions Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards. They will be inducted as part of Lightning Alumni Weekend, which will be held on March 8-9. A full schedule with event details will be available at a later date.
Andreychuk joined the Lightning as a free agent on July 13, 2001 after spending the previous season with the Buffalo Sabres. Already with 1,361 NHL games under his belt, Andreychuk brought almost immediate legitimacy to a burgeoning Bolts roster that included young upstarts like Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Richards. Andreychuk played in 278 regular season games with Tampa Bay, registering 68 goals and 129 points. He recorded three 20-goal seasons during his Lightning tenure.
The Hamilton, Ontario native’s biggest contributions to the Lightning franchise arguably came during the postseason. For an organization that had only played in six playoff games in its short history to that point, Andreychuk brought with him the leadership and experience of having chased the Stanley Cup for 128 games before coming to the Bay Area, amassing 39 goals and 77 points. Despite all the opportunities and playoff runs, he never raised the Stanley Cup to that point in his career, but all that would change.
As the seventh captain of the Lightning, Andreychuk first helped guide the team to its first playoff series win against the Washington Capitals in 2003. He scored three goals and notched six points in that postseason, and while the Bolts fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion, the New Jersey Devils, in following round, the foundation was laid for the following season. In 2003-04, the Lightning went on to finish first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season with 106 points before defeating the New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs, setting up a Stanley Cup Final match up with the Calgary Flames. Following a grueling seven-game series, on June 7, 2004, the upstart Lightning, captained by the veteran Andreychuk, captured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in front of the home crowd at AMALIE Arena.
Andreychuk went on to retire the following season and join the Lightning’s front office, where he currently serves as vice president of corporate and community affairs. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for his career accomplishments in 2017. During his NHL career he was named an all star in 1990 and 1994, and still ranks second all-time for power-play goals with 274, trailing only Alexander Ovechkin.
Selected in the third round of the 1998 NHL Draft, Richards was not a well-known commodity when general manager Phil Esposito called his name with the 64th overall selection. It was hard to foresee at the time, but that kid from the small town of Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island would go on to become one of the Lightning organization’s first home-grown superstars.
Following a junior career with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Richards made his debut for the Bolts in the 2000-01 season and had an immediate impact. As a rookie, he led the Lightning for assists with 41 and points with 62, while ranking third for goals behind Vincent Lecavalier and Fredrik Modin.
Richards went on to skate in 552 regular season games in the Bolt, recording 150 goals, 339 assists and 489 points. He ranks in the Top 10 in Lightning history in most statistical categories, including sixth for points and assists, seventh for average points per game (0.89), eighth for goals and 10th for games played.
During his tenure in Tampa Bay, Richards appeared in 45 Stanley Cup Playoff games and made a significant contribution in that sample size, evidenced by his 1.04 points per game, which ranks the fourth highest in franchise history today, behind only John Cullen, Nikita Kucherov and Martin St. Louis. He scored 18 goals and recorded 47 points during that time, including seven game-winning goals, which ranks sixth all-time on the Bolts.
Richards’ star never shined brighter than it did during the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he scored seven game-winning goals to help lead Tampa Bay to the organization’s first Cup. His seven game-winners during the 2004 postseason still stand as the franchise record today, while his nine points (four goals and five assists) during the Stanley Cup Final versus the Flames are also tops in team history for points in a series.
Following his Stanley Cup performance, Richards became the first player in Lightning history to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. In addition, following the season, he was named the recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, presented each year to the NHL player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. Richards was also the first Lightning player to do so.
Richards was traded from the Lightning to the Dallas Stars, along with goaltender Johan Holmqvist, on February 26, 2008 in exchange for goaltender Mike Smith, center (current assistant coach) Jeff Halpern, left wing Jussi Jokinen and a fourth-round pick in 2009. He won a second Stanley Cup in 2015 while with the Chicago Blackhawks, as they defeated the Lightning in five games. Richards’ career finished with 298 goals and 932 points in 1,126 games played with the Lightning, Stars, Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.
~BE THE THUNDER~
©2023 Cox Media Group