Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is there room for Richardson?

As everyone and their dog seems to be writing about, Luke Richardson wants to play another season in the NHL. And he wants it to be with the Ottawa Senators. But is there room on the Sens roster?

The Sens already have defencemen Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Jason Smith, Brian Lee, and Lawrence Nycholat under contract, plus Christoph Schubert as a natural defenceman who's been playing forward, and Andrej Meszaros as an unsigned restricted free agent. And Matt Carkner and Brendan Bell should be battling for NHL gigs, if their chances aren't great. Even if Richardson was given a contract, he'd probably be a little ways down on the depth chart--just like he was entering last season.

And just like last season, he'd really have to work hard to get a spot in the top-six, or even as a seventh defenceman. His play last season was certainly better than I'd expected, and there were some good times; a couple great fights, and the one goal he scored on his father's birthday, to name a few that stand out. But the season did take its toll on the now 39-year-old, and he was displaced by Lee when the playoffs rolled around. One big question is whether or not he'll be able to last the whole season.

Another big question is whether he's the type of defenceman we need. With Volchenkov, Phillips, Smith, and possibly Schubert or Carkner, we've got our share of stay-at-home, defensive defencemen. Is Richardson the type of player needed to round out the d-corps?

The answers will likely come in training camp. Richardson will show up, and he'll probably turn a few heads and bruise a few bodies. If he proves he can make it into the top-six, then good for him, and too bad for Bell and Nycholat. I wasn't disappointed by his play last season, and I won't be if he's on the team this season, either.
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