Sens bring Luke home

Luke Richardson is making his way back home, signing with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. (Sun...

Luke Richardson is making his way back home, signing with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. (Sun File/Stan Behal)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

Luke Richardson is coming home.

The 20-year NHL veteran, an Ottawa native, will officially sign a one-year, $500,000 deal -- that includes a minor-league clause -- with the Senators today after agreeing to a deal yesterday.

Richardson, 38, who spent last season as a player/assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, met with coach John Paddock a couple of weeks ago and will mainly be used as a seventh defencemen, but he's thrilled to get the chance to play in his home town.

With Wade Redden, Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Joe Corvo, Andrej Meszaros and Christoph Schubert already under contract, Richardson knows he's going to have to earn his playing time and will have a limited role.

"I'm just thrilled," said Richardson yesterday. "This means a lot to me. I've always wanted the chance to play here. I know what my role is going to be and it's not going to be anything fancy.

"I really just wanted the chance to play after last year in Tampa. I've been working hard to get ready for the season. I know what I can bring to the table. I can kill penalties and do the small things to get the job done. I know I can provide leadership as well."

Richardson first met with Senators GM Bryan Murray last month. While Murray was interested, he wasn't going to make the move unless Paddock gave his blessing.

"I know I'm not the player I was when I was 22 years old, but I still feel that I can contribute in situations on the ice. The young guys can always use the help."

Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs seventh overall in 1987, Richardson is a product of the Ottawa West Golden Knights. He's played in Toronto, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Columbus and Tampa during his NHL career, but has always returned to the Ottawa area in the summer.

Last year, his wife Stephanie along with daughters Morgan, 13, and Daron, 11, remained in Ottawa while Richardson played in Tampa. It wasn't the perfect situation and this will allow the children to keep playing competitive girls' hockey.

"I was really hoping this would happen last season and I had spoken with (former GM John Muckler), but it just didn't work out," said Richardson. "This is important for me to be here and to be part of this success. I'm really looking forward to getting this chance here."


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