The Great Anthony Sanfilipo suggested the strong possibility of Richards moving to wing. This rather unexpected revelation is really interesting and got completely overlooked by the Gagne trade anger. I would love to see what everything as they try to refute my best attempt at unbiased support of moving Richards to LW. To play alongside Carter and most likely Zherdev. That line is really scary on paper everyone can score hard to key in on one guy and it also gives our 3 most effective players the most ice time.
Playing Devils Advocate (I am a fan of Man) so please refute me.
1) Richie isn't very good at faceoffs, Carter is the best on the team.
2) Richie zone entry isn't one of his strengths he often tries to do too much leading to turnovers and he isn't as good as a skater as Jeff who can gain the blueline with speed.
3) Richie is more physical, better in the corners and on the forecheck as compared to Jeff. Wingers tend to forecheck more as the center stays high. Remember the Olympics Richie's tenacious forecheck lead Toews goal against USA in the gold medal game.
4) Carter is also a pretty darn good two way center. He is not as much as a one trick pony as everyone seems to think he is and there is nothing wrong with having a defensively responsible winger.
5) Richards points tends to get a lot of his points on the PP and SH slightly over 50% for his career. Carter is arguably the best even strength player on the team no need to weaken our best even strength player.
Here is breakdown of ES Point Percentage.
Richards 50.7%, Carter 60.4%
Richards 47.5%, Carter 66.7%
Richards 46.8%, Carter 57.1%
Richie is more versatile than Carter, and does everything well and hard but nothing great. Carter has to play center and needs the puck on his stick to maximize his skills. The better skating and faster Carter is more suited to enter the zone, whereas the hard working and hard hitting Richie is more suited to bang bodies and crash the nets getting rebounds. Richie is also more willing to do those things and has more experience on the wing than Carter referring to the 2010 Olympics where Richie had 5 pts in 7 games a +5 rating.