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12-22-2008, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dig Out Your Soul View Post
In goals and maybe points (which was always expected), yes, but not much of anything else. Richards got up to speed quicker, but I still see a lot of room for improvement in both their games before they hit their prime years. I know what you meant, I just don't think Richards' game is finished growing either.
This is probably going to sound like heresy, but I think Carter is showing the ability (ie certainly NOT there yet) to be a better defensive player then Richards. He is bigger, faster and (this year) stronger on the puck. He has always shown a willingness to fight for the puck, and this year its much more obvious since he's winning alot more. He positional play has improved from "well, he's supposed to be an offensive guy" level to the point that he could probably find work in the NHL if he never scored another goal. He needs work on his draws (as does Richards if he wants to be as good as alot of us think he can be) but if he can improve there and keep playing a physical, puck control style with evolving positional awareness we could have a situation similar to Detroit last year where they had the top 2 Selke candidates.

Richards will likely continue to be our go-to defensive guy since he seems to thrive on the competition and enjoy getting under the opponents skin, but having two different lines that can play excellent defense and score is never a bad thing. Also, although he has significantly curbed it this season, Carter has the tendency to give up the occasional "pond hockey" breakaway after a bad missed shot. He is usually able to minimize the damage by getting back on defense, but its might be some pressure to sacrifice some of his offensive explosiveness if he's out there against the other teams most dangerous scorers.

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