— -- Longtime NHL center Brad Richards has retired after 15 seasons in the league, the NHL Players' Association announced Wednesday.
Richards, 36, helped lead the Lightning to their only Stanley Cup title (2004), collecting 26 points in 23 playoff games and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the postseason. He also helped the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup title in 2015.
The Lightning and Blackhawks were among Richards' former teams to congratulate Richards on Twitter. Former teammate and reigning MVP Patrick Kane also paid tribute to him in a tweet.
"I want to thank the fans and the five organizations I have played for: Tampa Bay, Dallas, and the three Original Six teams -- the New York Rangers, Chicago and Detroit," Richards said in a statement put out by the NHLPA. "During my time with those teams I met many great people. I also want to thank the staff and management in those organizations for all the help and support they gave me. I appreciate all the trainers who did tireless work to help me play and keep me healthy.
"I had many amazing teammates and made many great friendships along the way that I truly appreciate, and I will never forget the great times we had together. Thank you to all my coaches for pushing, teaching and giving me the opportunity to play this great game. Winning the Stanley Cups in Tampa Bay and Chicago was the best part of my career and I will never forget those moments. Nothing compares to enjoying that night with your team and knowing what you have accomplished together."
He won the 2004 Lady Byng Memorial trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play. And in 2001, Richards finished second behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the NHL's rookie of the year vote.
Richards was selected by the Lightning in the third round of the 1998 NHL draft. He made his NHL debut two years later, and after helping Rimouski Oceanic win consecutive Canadian Junior Memorial Cup titles.
He spent six-plus seasons in Tampa Bay before being traded to Dallas in 2007-08.
In the summer of 2011, Richards was regarded as the NHL's top free-agent prize and made a splash in signing a nine-year, $60 million contract with the Rangers. He spent only three seasons in New York before the Rangers elected to buy out the remainder of his contract in June 2014, a week after the team lost the Stanley Cup Final in five games to Los Angeles.
Richards scored a career-best 28 goals with Dallas in 2010-11, and he twice totaled 91 points in 2005-06 with Tampa Bay and again four seasons later with Dallas.
He's coming off a season in which scored a career-low 10 goals and 28 points in 68 games with the Red Wings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.