The Lightning selected centerman Tanner Richard in the third round, 71st overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Markham, Ontario, native currently plays for the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
This season Richard has three goals and six points through the Crunch’s first 12 games. Since the beginning of November, the young pivot has caught fire, recording two goals and five points in only four games. He has posted back-to-back multi-point games, with a two assist night on November 8 in a 5-4 Syracuse win over Norfolk and potted two goals in an overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins the following night. Richard seems to have found his stride, so keep an eye on him during the team’s upcoming games.
Richard has one of the more interesting upbringings of any Lightning prospect. He was born in Markham, a suburb of Toronto, but later moved to Jona, Switzerland, where his dad (Mike Richard) was playing for Rapperswil-Jona in the Swiss National League.
He grew up in Switzerland and played for the Rapperswil-Jona junior team, where he scored 11 goals and 43 points in 28 games before making a four-game appearance on the senior team in 2010-11.
Richard then came back to North America to play major junior for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. In 95 games with the Storm, Richard notched 24 goals and 110 points. Following the conclusion of the Storm’s 2012-13 season he made his professional debut with the Crunch, marking three points in eight games.
Having grown up in Switzerland, he was given the opportunity to represent the country internationally and did so on two occasions: the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Championships. In 12 games with the Swiss national junior team Richard scored two goals and eight points.
The young center has shown a creative side in the offensive zone. As he continues to mature and gain confidence, you can expect his point totals, especially assists, to be on the rise. Equally as important, it would appear as though he has also made strides away from the puck as he currently sits at a plus-4 in plus/minus as opposed to the minus-9 he finished with last year.