Center- shifted to wing this season
six years remaining on a nine year contract
Post Season Stats:
Games Played: 25
TOI: 17:01 per game average
Post Season Assessment:
After a redeeming regular season, Richards steadily declined in his productivity. As a top six forward, Richards struggled to finish in all areas of the ice. His performance deteriorated so far he was demoted, again, to the fourth line during the Final. We also saw “Ritchie” in a very familiar role on the ice; playing the point of the power play. His turnovers were very costly for the Rangers and resulted in multiple goals against.
Regular Season Stats:
Games Played: 82
TOI: 18:41 per game average
Regular Season Assessment:
The regular season started out tough for the team but great for Richards. He needed redemption for last year’s horrendous showing; I hesitate to call it performance. At the beginning of the season, new head coach, Alain Vigneault, decided to shift Richards out to the wing in an effort to find chemistry on the ice. Richards finished the season with 51 points; third in total points and second in goals on the team. He looked much stronger on the ice than the previous year and emerged as a leader alongside Ryan Callahan. After the captain was traded, Richards donned the “A” on his jersey and became the team spokesman. The addition of Richards’ former teammate at the trade deadline seemed to give hope of restoring old chemistry from the Stanley Cup win in Tampa Bay. Richards seemed well on his way to redemption as the season drew to a close.
This season was a swan song for Richards from the beginning. His level of play was streaky, much like former Ranger Marian Gaborik. Richards couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm and stay there, he bounced around. At one point he led the team in points, then he started to falter. He fell to third on the team by the end of the regular season. Richards seemed to show his age as the season progressed, and he didn’t produce enough to earn his 6.7million dollar annual average value paycheck. I think Richards is prime candidate for the Rangers’ final compliance buyout.