2019-20 Predators Player Report Cards: Mathieu Olivier & Anthony Richard
The two forwards combined for just nine games in Nashville.
As is tradition, I am tasked with grading the Milwaukee farmhands who earned just a cup of coffee with the Nashville Predators this season. It’s nearly an impossible task, but it also gives me an opportunity to touch on the years they had in the AHL and long-term expectations, too. For the sake of brevity, I’ve combined some players into single articles. Up first: Mathieu Olivier and Anthony Richard.
Mathieu Olivier: The subject of the most controversial roster move of the season, Olivier was recalled in mid-November as the Kyle Turris vs. Peter Laviolette saga reached its peak. In eight games, Olivier recorded just one assist while averaging under eight minutes of ice time each night. Olivier finished with a team-worst 44.68% Corsi and, most notably, committed three giveaways (and no takeaways) in his brief stint in Nashville.
Overall, as expected, Olivier provided a negative, forgettable impact in Nashville.
Anthony Richard: Richard earned just a single game in Nashville this season, much like he did in 2018-19. In that sole appearance, against Tampa Bay, Richard skated just over four minutes but did record two shots on goal.
Olivier: In his second season in Milwaukee, Olivier mildly impressed, improving from four goals and 12 points to ten goals and 19 points. Of those 19, 13 were primary points scored at even strength. Playing primarily in a fourth-line role with Tanner Jeannot and Josh Wilkins, Olivier finished with a -5.91% goals-for rate relative to his teammates at five-on-five play.
Olivier finished ninth among Milwaukee forwards with a 52.71% Corsi (in seven games tracked), and he was Milwaukee’s worst transition forward, exiting the defensive zone with control 55.00% of the time and entering the offensive zone with control on just 31.58% of attempts.
Richard: Richard had a down season in Milwaukee after coming into the year with high expectations. He regressed to just 14 goals and 23 points as he bounced around the lineup and struggled to find consistent linemates. Only 11 of those points were primary ones at even strength, and Richard recorded just 112 shots on goal—a 41-shot decrease from the prior year.
Richard still recorded 15.25 Corsi attempts per 60 minutes of five-on-five play and a 55.78% Corsi rating.
Olivier: It’s hard to imagine John Hynes will give Olivier the kind of leash that Peter Laviolette did. It’s clear the organization likes him and thinks he’s a valuable player in Milwaukee alongside Tanner Jeannot, but I don’t think Olivier has any NHL future.
Richard: Richard will be itching for a bounce-back season in Milwaukee this year. He has the talent to hit 50-60 points in the AHL and still has the ceiling of a depth forward at the NHL level—although time is working against him, as he’ll turn 24 this December.
Olivier was fine, all things considered, in the NHL and met expectations in the AHL.
What grade would you give for Olivier’s season?
Richard had essentially nothing to grade at the NHL level, and a disappointing outing in the AHL contributes a to a D grade.
What grade would you give for Richard’s season?
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, naturalstattrick.com, evolving-hockey.com, or tracked by myself.