Detroit Red Wings: Tatar & Richards Will Be Great Together


With only a few games left in the preseason, the Detroit Red Wings are getting ever closer to their eventual opening day line-ups and line combinations. One of the more interesting lines in the preseason for the Red Wings has been the second line. Featuring last year’s team leading goal scorer Tomas Tatar at left wing and newly acquired Brad Richards at center, the second line has done some damage in the early stages of the preseason.

In their first preseason game together Richards and Tatar exploded for a combined 6 points against the Chicago Blackhawks’ prospect heavy team. Richards assisted on all three of Tatar’s goals. Needless to say that game is the one that inspired this article. I know it is too early to tell and I am not going to say that  Richards and Tatar will definitely be a powerful force during the regular season. But I am  saying that the possibility is very strong.

3 Reasons Richards and Tatar May Be a Good Match

  1. Tatar has not played consistently with a veteran center. He has played with Zetterberg and Datsyuk but in the last few years injuries and Stephen Weiss have not made it possible to have an established second line center. If they can play together consistently look for Richards’ veteran presence help Tatar even more in the playoffs.
  2. Depending who ends up on the right wing, Tatar and Richards’ line could end up being one of the most productive lines in the NHL. The top candidates are Darren Helm and Gustav Nyquist when Datsyuk is healthy. Either can add some speed but Nyquist definitely has more to offer on the offensive side. Tampa Bay illustrated last year how important it is to have a dangerous second line. The Johnson line was a big reason that the Lightning were able to beat the Red Wings last year in the playoffs.
  3. Brad Richards, according to most sources, has come to the Red Wings ready to prove his worth and with a jump in his step. Tatar is expected to score around 60 points this season but expectations were much lower for Richards. Expect to see Richards improve on his previous year totals if he can keep his drive at a high level.

3 Reasons Why the Partnership Might not Work

It is only preseason and the lines are not completely figured out yet. It looks pretty certain that Richards will occupy the second line center position but could be demoted if things do not go well early.

Too many injuries even if they are not to Richards or Nyquist. If too many players get injured it could force Tatar on another line where he is needed more. Also Richards is getting older and more prone to injuries and will have to be in the line up consistently to be productive.

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Dylan Larkin forces his way into the second line center role. This one is a long shot but Larkin has had a strong preseason and has taken one more step closer to his dream of being a key contributor for the Red Wings. Larkin looks great but I still think the Red Wings will choose Richards for the second line center and let Larkin get a little stronger in Grand Rapids.

With two preseason games left, both against Mike Babcock and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Red Wings have yet to lose a game in regulation. (4-0-2) Hopefully Tatar and Richards will have another chance to experiment with their chemistry before the preseason is over. With another solid performance their gained confidence will likely lead to a quick start of the regular season.

Next: Red Wings' Kids teach Penguins' Vets a Lesson!

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