The recent line pairings in the practices for the New York Rangers have shocked some people. Veteran center Brad Richards has been spotted playing the wing and could start the season there.
Richards went through his worst season in the NHL last year. He is clearly searching for any way to get back to his productive ways. Derek Stepan and Rick Nash appear to be his linemates to start the season. Putting Richards on the wing could help his goal scoring as Stepan is a gifted playmaker, but his assists could plummet even more than they did last year.
It is clear Alain Vigneault realizes that Richards is essential to his team’s success. Vigneault is searching for any way possible to spark Richards. The biggest key for Richards is starting off strong. If he struggles through the first 10 games or so, he could lose all possible confidence.
This is a very real possibility as he has to learn a whole new system at a position he hasn’t played in a really long time. This move could have great results, but the risk is very high for the team. Richards has to be a productive top-six forward if the Rangers want to even sniff the Stanley Cup this season.
The Rangers open up their season in three days. All indications are pointing towards Richards starting the season on the wing. For the sake of the team, Vigneault, and Richards they best hope that this move ends up working and starts working fast.