At ESPN.com, Scott Burnside lists Rick Nash and Brad Richards as two players who underachieved during last season and who need to bounce back.
Burnside notes that the Rangers will have one more chance to use a compliance buyout on Richards but that he is expecting “big things” from Richards under Alain Vigneault.”
On Nash, Burnside says that there were nights in the regular season where Rick Nash was the best Ranger but that wasn’t true during the playoffs and the Rangers brought Nash in to perform at a high level during the postseason.
TSN analyst Ray Ferraro said on Leafs Lunch on Friday, “When I watch Brad Richards, he looks like is carrying a bowling ball around. I can’t believe he has gotten that sluggish, skating wise. I can’t believe it. When he has time and gets the puck on the half-wall on the power play or he has a little bit of time, you think that he has some pretty elite stuff.”
Ferraro points out a situation where the Canucks had a two on one shorthanded and David Booth, as he was entering the offensive zone, blew past Richards like “Richards was running up hill.”
He adds “the biggest problem that Richards has is that he can’t create separation from whomever is checking him to just get enough space to make a play. He played with Rick Nash in the first couple of preseason games and apparently it was just mud and mud, nothing was going for them. Nash looked pretty good last night on a different line but I think they will have concerns with Richards this season. I still believe he can contribute on a PP or when he gets space, but at six-point- whatever million, I don’t know if he can create enough for my liking.”
In the Daily News, Richards spoke with Pat Leonard and said that he can’t abandon everything he worked on this summer if he starts to struggle. He says that he knows he put the work in during the offseason to succeed and that he prepared the right away.