Luke Richardson wasn’t the fancy pair of dress shoes you’d wear for a night on the town. He was your work boots. He wasn’t the curvy sports car you’d cruise Jasper Avenue in. He was the reliable mini-van. Richardson was an honest player who went about his business quietly and without fanfare. No sizzle, all substance. He was the kind of defenseman every NHL team needs.
The Edmonton Oilers had Richardson for 436 games of an NHL career that spanned 1,417 games, and while it’s fair to note that the big blueliner from Ottawa never put up the kind of attention-grabbing offensive numbers to justify being drafted seventh overall by Toronto in 1987, only two players from his draft year played more games – Brendan Shanahan (1,524) and Glen Wesley (1,457). Richardson got the job done.
Luke Richardson #2
|NUMBER:||2||BIRTHDATE:||March 26, 1969|
|HEIGHT:||6′ 3″||BIRTHPLACE:||Ottawa, ON, Canada|
|WEIGHT:||214||DRAFTED:||TOR / 1987 NHL Entry Draft|
|SHOOTS:||Left||ROUND:||1st (7th overall)|
BY THE NUMBERS
CAREER REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS
CAREER PLAYOFF STATISTICS
By the time Richardson arrived in Edmonton via trade from Toronto for the 1991-92 season — with Vincent Damphousse, Scott Thornton, Peter Ing, future considerations and cash in exchange for Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and Craig Berube – the Oilers were a shadow of the team that won the fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1990.
Less than a shadow, actually. The big names who’d hoisted all those Cups were gone, traded and sold off by owner Peter Pocklington. The Oiler teams Richardson toiled for never won more than 36 games in a season and missed the playoffs altogether in four of his six seasons in Edmonton, the low point being a 60-point campaign in 1992-93.
While Richardson didn’t have the appetite for destruction and mayhem other Oiler blueliners like Dave Manson, Bryan Marchment, Igor Ulanov or Craig Muni did, he was a stay-at-home type who’d bang, block shots and do the dirty work in front of the net. Richardson never needed a written invitation to back-up his teammates. Despite logging tough minutes, Richardson played 82 games in three of his six seasons here and missed just 22 games overall.
Back in the days when reporters could stop by the Oiler dressing room to sit, have a coffee and chat with players one-on-one rather than be herded into scrums, it became obvious to me that Richardson was a real student of the game, one of those meat-and-potatoes guys who could have a career in coaching down the road if he wanted it.
That, when Richardson retired during the 2008-09 season after playing just two games with the Ottawa Senators, is how it played out. After three seasons as an assistant coach with the Senators, Richardson was named head coach of AHL affiliate Binghamton, where he remains today.
On a tragic personal note, Richardson’s daughter, Daron, committed suicide at the age of 14 at the family home in Ottawa in November 2010. In the years since then, Luke and wife Stephanie have spearheaded a program — Do It for Daron — that encourages teens, care-givers, coaches and teachers to discuss mental illness. You can read about that here.
This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up.
- 89. Willy Lindstrom
- 90. Bryan Marchment
- 91. Miroslav Satan
- 92. David Perron
- 93. Igor Ulanov
- 94. Justin Schultz
- 95. Scott Mellanby
- 96. Norm McIver
- 97. Mark Lamb
- 98. Pat Price
- 99. Dean McAmmond
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.