Last season, the Rangers were not the team they were expected to be. Lead by perennial all stars in Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist, they slumped to a 26-18-4 record that saw them barley clinch a playoff spot before being knocked out of the playoffs in the second round at the hands of original six rivals, the Boston Bruins, in which former head coach, John Tortorella, chose to bench center, Brad Richards, for the majority of the playoff campaign.
Over the course of last season Brad Richards, 33, racked up 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points while appearing in 46 games due to the lockout shortened season. Rangers faithful were looking to get rid of the slumping center and when Rangers GM, Glen Sather, was given the chance to dump the former MVP and Stanley Cup winner, he instead opted to take the risk and bring Richards back — much to the discontent of the Rangers fans.
That decision has paid off as Richards has seemed reinvigorated since the 2013-2014 campaign has kicked off and has been a driving force on the Rangers first line playing LW alongside center, Derrick Brassard, and RW, Ryan Callahan. Since Richards moved to the wing, he has 7 goals to go along with 12 assists to tally 19 total points in 27 appearances thus far this season.
While Richards won an MVP and the Stanley Cup during his incredible run in Tampa Bay in the early 2000′s, it would be a stretch to say that, at the declining age of 33, he is capable of turning the clock back and leading the Rangers with the form that has eluded him in recent memory; but it would not be a stretch to say that after a abysmal 2012-2013 campaign, the former center turned winger, is back and ready to push the Rangers and could potentially end up being a key cog in the machine that could carry the Rangers into a deep playoff run.