Will Brad Richards improve Gaborik's production?
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06-22-2011, 02:19 PM
Heart and Soul
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
I would wager my left hand that he would be playing with Gaborik. It makes absolutely no sense for that not to be the case. Gaborik DESPERATELY needs someone like Richards. Everything about Gaborik will be better with Richards. The likelihood of injuries will go down tenfold, because Gaborik won't be carrying the puck, and thus, opposing players will not have nearly as many opportunities to physically abuse him lest they get sent to the box.
Gaborik will also face a dropoff in coverage from opposing defenses because now they won't be able to converge and centralize their focus in their own zone on him. Taking him out of the play last season was very, very easy. There was no one else to worry about on the ice with him. Now, Richards and Dubinsky will be on the ice with him, and teams won't have the option of ignoring any of them.
Free of the responsibility of being the playmaker (something Gaborik is not and should not be), he can now do what goalscorers do best: disappear and reappear in the nick of time for a perfect pass. Even if he wasn't bogged down with playmaking responsibilities, he wouldn't have been able to do this in the past because the team had no one capable of making those passes through the smallest of passing lanes, sans Del Zotto. There are maybe 5-10 players in the league who do that better than Richards, however. Gaborik will be the beneficiary of a lot of very well-placed assists.
Dubinsky, who makes by far more sense to be the LW than anyone else on the team, will also see a rise in points, especially assists.
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