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Lightning Prospect Spotlight: Tanner Richard

by Doug Spencer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Having a relative that played in the National Hockey League never hurts a young prospect’s development. It helps even more when it is their father. Mike Richard skated in seven NHL games with the Washington Capitals. Mike spent the majority of his career in the American Hockey League, where he totaled 291 points in 214 games and finished his career in Switzerland. That vast wealth of knowledge has no doubt been passed down to 21-year-old Tanner, who is in his third and most productive season in the AHL.

The Jona, Switzerland, native has more than quadrupled his goal total from last year and will most likely break the double-digit mark. In 56 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season, he has amassed nine goals and 30 points to go along with 113 PIM. His plus/minus has taken a major step forward this year, as he currently sits at a plus-16. As young players, especially centermen, continue to develop, they tend to improve their defensive acumen, something Richard has demonstrated with his strong two-way play this season.

The Lightning selected the 6-foot, 189-pound forward in the third round, 71st overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The pivot has good hockey IQ and is not afraid to go to the dirty areas on the ice to get the job done. He has a decent skill set but is more of a blue-collar player. Richard has no problem sticking up for teammates and answering the bell when called upon.

In his first full season with the Crunch, Richard posted modest point totals: two goals and 17 points. Making the jump to the AHL is never easy for a 20 year old, especially one that has only played two years in North America beforehand.

Richard spent two years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Guelph Storm, recording better than a point-per-game in both seasons. During his final season in the O, Richard potted 11 goals and 62 points in just 52 games. The year prior he recorded 13 goals and 48 points in 43 games.

Before coming over to North America, Richard played for the Rapperswil U20 team in the Swiss Elite Jr. A league. In 28 games he managed to score 11 goals and 43 points.

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