Ouellet and Richards
Michel Ouellet said the two-year, $1.5-million contract he signed was not the most lucrative of the "seven to 10'' he looked over on Sunday, but it was the only one that offered him a chance to play with Brad Richards. The two were junior teammates from 1998-2000 for Rimouski of the Quebec Major league. Ouellet said he has wished ever since for a chance to play with Richards.
"He's so fast,'' Ouellet said. "He sees the ice. Every time you get open, you get a pass.''
The way the Lightning figures it, it now has its second line of Richards, Ouellet and Jan Hlavac.
said GM Jay Feaster: "The way we look at it now, going into camp, we have two guys we have every reason to believe will be effective playing with Brad.''
That is quite a statement considering Richards went though just about everybody on last season's roster without finding a decent linemate. Remember what Eric Perrin said, if he had scored as he should have on Richards' setups, he would have had 30 goals instead of 13.
Anyway, Richards said Feaster called him twice to pick Brad's brain about Ouellet, not so much about his on-ice ability -- "He's a natural goal scorer,'' Richards said -- but how he is off it. Richards said he gave Feaster the thumbs up. As for any lingering chemistry between the two, the Lightning can only hope.
"It was a long time ago,'' said Richards, Ouellet's off-and-on linemate at Rimouski. "Chemistry can come and go and junior is a whole different animal. Hopefully we can get off to a good start.''