There needs to be a phrase coined for this, because it happens every season. Brad Richardson starts out on a lower line, then makes a rapid ascent. This year, he has done it even before the start of the season. Richardson started training camp as the fourth-line left winger. He moved up to third-line right winger after some ineffective play by Scott Parse. Now he’s up to the second-line left-wing spot, replacing Simon Gagne, who moves up to the first line to replace the injured Dustin Penner. The Richardson Rise, in Terry Murray’s eyes, is a product of Richardson’s strong training camp and preseason, and Richardson is scheduled to play Friday on a line with center Mike Richards and right winger Dustin Brown.
MURRAY: “His camp has been real good, right from the first day. He’s just coming off the playoffs from last year, when I thought he really started to show some signs of breaking through. He’s got great speed and the line was very effective against San Jose. I think there’s a lot of follow-up, confidence starting to show. He’s a player who put a lot of numbers up in juniors. Sometimes with players, it takes a little bit of time. He’s starting to feel it. It’s starting to come. He has more of a shot mentality. He’s more comfortable in tight situations with the puck on his stick. He’s always been a player who can create separation with his speed. I just hope that he continues to go forward from here. It’s a great opportunity for him, to move into a second-line situation right now, and that’s what it’s all about when you have some depth and balance. Good teams have that depth, to be able to move players to different positions, and this is one of those situations.’’