Player evaluation: Richardson
This season: 59 games, 5 goals, 3 assists, minus-6 rating.
The good: Richardson is a reliable, versatile forward who can play all three positions, who is an aggressive energy player and who, in the event of injury, can step into a bigger role and be effective at times. Richardson seems to have accepted his lot with the Kings with a positive attitude. Whether he’s the first-line left-winger or the fourth-line center, he brings a good attitude. After he recovered from a late-season appendectomy, and after Kyle Clifford went out with a concussion in Game 1 against Vancouver, Richardson quickly and capably stepped into the lineup and contributed to the Kings’ strong fourth line.
The bad: Richardson is 27 years old, and it this point is seems fairly clear that his offensive game isn’t going to get significantly better. Richardson scored 14 goals with Colorado in 2006-07, but in parts of four seasons with the Kings, he has scored a total of 23 goals. That doesn’t prohibit Richardson from being a part of the lineup, but it does limit his role. Richardson is a responsible player who skates well, but he doesn’t create much offense for himself and doesn’t finish his chances at a high enough rate to be effective.
Going forward: As noted throughout these evaluations, it figures to be a nail-biting training camp for those Kings players who fill third- and fourth-line roles. Richardson found himself out of the lineup in the Stanley Cup Finals when Simon Gagne returned and took his spot. Richardson is also going to have to compete for a spot against players such as Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan and Kevin Westgarth, not to mention any young players who might make a surprise showing in camp. Richardson has experience though, which Darryl Sutter values, and Sutter likes his hard-working nature.