This week, we’ll be taking a look at a surging prospect out of the American Hockey League (AHL): Tanner Richard. Richard was selected by the Lightning in the third round, 71st overall, at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Richard currently plays for the Syracuse Crunch and is in his third season with the club.
“He’s consistently one of our better forwards,” Syracuse Crunch head coach Rob Zettler said. “He’s very competitive and can get under the opponent’s skin.”
Zettler also noted that Richard has an NHL-level instinct.
Before his tenure with the Crunch, Richard played for Switzerland’s U18 and U20 teams at the World Junior Championships. Richard had two goals, two assists and a +1 rating as a member of the nation’s U20 squad. In addition to his performance on the world stage, Richard played two seasons with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) where he scored 24 goals and 86 assists to go along with a +22 rating.
Richard began his first full season with the Crunch in 2013-2014 after collecting three assists in eight games the year before. It wasn’t until last season where Richard began to blossom as he scored 13 goals and 38 points. Richard also tallied a goal in the first round of the AHL playoffs against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
“His leadership stems on the ice and he can play in all kinds of situations.” Zettler said about his role with the club.
This season, Richard has yet to find the back of the net, but he has put up six assists and a +5 rating over the course of the first 14 games. Two of the assists came against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday as the Crunch shut them out 4-0. When asked about his performance, Zettler called it the best game he’s played in three years with the Crunch.
It is clear that the 22-year-old has a lot of potential, and it is showing in Syracuse. With that said, Zettler emphasized he needs to continue to get stronger if he wants to play against bigger NHL opponents.