In 2009-10, Brad Richardson came into his own with the Los Angeles Kings as the defensive forward played in 81 games while chipping in with 27 points along the way. This past season, despite showing some flashes of brilliance, was somewhat of a disappointing season for the 26-year-old if you were comparing to the season before as Richardson collected 19 points in 68 games.
If you were look at the big picture, though, Brad Richardson's 2010-11 season was to be expected. Although his plus/minus rating dropped 14 points from the season before, he did register 84 hits, 103 shots on goal and had ten more takeaways than giveaways.
If there's any reason to be discouraged about Richardson's play this past season, it's that his average ice time decreased from 12:50 per game in 2009-10 to 11:25 in 2010-11. Then again, a drop so miniscule may not mean much at all. In fact, it doesn't as far as I'm concerned.
The native of Belleville, Ontario, has been a third or fourth line guy for the Kings and his team values his presence as much as they would of someone like Kopitar or Brown. At 5'11, 189 pounds, Brad Richardson is certainly not the biggest player but when Dean Lombardi acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche nearly three years ago, he saw something special.
He may not be the poster boy for his time like the aforementioned Kopitar and Brown are but he is the prototypical blue-collar player whose contributions make him the most unsung of heroes when it counts. Although he hasn't been the most consistent King this season, he stepped up his game when Kopitar and Justin Williams went down with their respective injuries.
In 2011-12, Brad Richardson will be entering his fourth season with the Los Angeles Kings (assuming the Kings can re-sign him as he will be a restricted free agent this summer) and his energy and versatility should help his team out again. Let's just hope he can chip in on a more frequent basis.