It’s time for our annual countdown of the best 25 Nashville Predators players under 25 years old!
This is not only a tradition here at OTF, but is also something that you might see at many other SBNation NHL blogs. The premise is simple: rank the 25 best players who have not yet reached their 25th birthday (as of August 1st, 2018).
At #12, Anthony Richard
Richard has completed two full seasons with the Admirals for a total of 130 regular season games. Richard toughed it out in his first pro season - failing to score until November - dealing with scoring droughts and injuries. Last summer I wrote about how 2017-18 would be a big season for Richard, and he delivered.
By The Numbers
After scoring 4 goals and 16 points in 55 AHL games in 2016-17, Richard exploded for 15 more goals and 20 more points in 2017-18. Last season, Richard was 20th overall among U22 forwards in scoring just behind some legit future NHL players: Daniel Sprong, Dylan Strome, Mathieu Joseph, Warren Foegele, and Anthony Cirelli.
I wrote earlier this summer about Richard who had 1.369 points per sixty minutes last season and who was second on the Admirals in shots with 165. He’s been quickly developing his offensive game the past two seasons and has been a constant, high-volume driver of Milwaukee’s offensive production.
Richard’s goals-for relative percentage shot from -11.21% in 2016-17 to 8.67% in 2017-18. Richard was just barely on the ice for more goals-against last season (49.12% GF%), but had a strong, positive GF% Rel meaning the team was outscored more often than not when Richard was on the bench.
Richard’s cross of the face-off is likely designed as a set play but it’s smart nonetheless. He helps control the shot from the point and retain possession behind the net. Then he finds open ice while Zengerle draws a defender with him setting himself for an in-tight goal.
Above is simply a display of the shot Richard pairs with his dangerous speed through the neutral and offensive zones.
This is a near-flawless play from Richard. He creates a turnover in the defensive zone, makes a quick pivot up the ice, blows past his defender and charges to the net for a beautiful goal.
Much like Carrier, Richard’s entry-level contract slid for two seasons due to a lack of professional games played. He is entering year two of the contract that comes in at a cap hit of $688.3K with a salary in the minors of $65K.
Richard is one of my favorite prospects in the organization and continues to be slept on. He’s a player who is due for a huge season in Milwaukee this year and can be a legitimate middle-6 forward for a long time in the NHL.
Corey Pronman writes:
He has fantastic speed...His skating is his calling card, but he also has a lot of skill and can make tough offensive plays off the rush. Richard is small but works hard and got to the net better than his first pro season.