( Photo Credit: RDS.ca )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter / X @BlackAndGold277

Last season, the AHL Providence Bruins had an offensive line led by veteran forward Vinni Lettieri alongside Boston Bruins prospects Fabian Lysell and Georgi Merkulov. Now that the 28-year-old Lettieri is gone from the B’s organization, signing as a free agent with the Minnesota Wild organization this offseason, that offensive leader and play driver will need to be replaced.

During this offseason, the Boston Bruins made several new additions to the NHL organization, and one of the free-agent signings added to the mix of training camp competition was forward Anthony Richard. The Nashville Predators originally drafted the 26-year-old Richard in the fourth round of the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Richard was drafted 100th overall after having a career year in the QMJHL with the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the 2014-15 season, where he posted 43-48-91 numbers in 66 games. Anthony spent most of his three-year, entry-level contract with the Nashville organization, but the Preds traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in February of 2022. Last season, the 5′-11″ 183-pound left-shooting versatile forward spent the year with the Montreal Canadiens organization, appearing in 13 NHL games and contributing 3-5-2 numbers. With the Canadiens top minor-pro affiliate, the Laval Rocket in the AHL, Richard posted 30-37-67 numbers in 60 games.

Richard’s arrival to the Providence Bruins after successfully surviving the waiver process after being cut from the NHL Boston Bruins training camp will certainly add to the AHL Bruins offensive punch this upcoming season. On September 1st, 2023, I wrote an article about my 2023-24 Providence Bruins roster predictions for opening night. I mentioned how Richard could seamlessly fit on a top line along with Bruins higher-end prospects like Lysell and Merkulov.

To me, and not discrediting a veteran player like Lettieri, but if I was making a comparison between keeping Vinni around or taking a chance on Richard, I believe the Bruins organization made the right move. With Richards’ playing ability, it can only bring up younger prospects fortunate enough to be linemates with this minor-pro veteran.

Richard’s “potential” top-line veteran role could be in jeopardy with current Boston Bruins training camp players who’ll need to go through the waiver process before being assigned to AHL Providence. The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa sent out a tweet or X earlier today mentioning forward Oskar Steen, forward Jesper Boqvist, and defenseman Jakub Zboril were not participants at today’s practice.

If Boqvist and Steen actually make it through the waiver process, it will create a mass amount of forwards added to the Providence Bruins lineup, and heavy choices will need to be made. While the Providence Bruins are in the middle of their training camp and the 2023-24 home opener set for Friday the 13th at the Amica, the ECHL Maine Mariners training camp starts soon and could be a place to relieve the hemorrhage of an overloaded Providence roster.

If Boqvist clears, he’s now the better option for that top-line left-wing position, with Merkulov in the middle and Lysell on the right side. Slotting Richard down to the second line left wing spot while newcomer John Farinacci covers the middle and Marc McLaughlin mans the right wing. That’s certainly not a bad top-six AHL lineup that could come at other minor-pro opponents with a heavy dose of offense under the orchestrating of upcoming third-year AHL head coach Ryan Mougenel and staff of Matt Thomas and Trent Whitfield.

Regardless of what line and who Richard plays alongside, he’s excited to be in the state of Rhode Island and looking forward to being a part of the Providence community. These Anthony Richard quotes below are courtesy of the AHL Providence Bruins organization and can be seen HERE from the team’s official website.

“Every year, I get more opportunities, getting a better role every year. I just keep pushing to be the guy on the team and be reliable on the offensive side and defensive side. Every year I get to play with better guys and get put in better situations.”

“It’s just about getting to know all the guys in the room, the new system, and know your city, as well. So, it’s always exciting to come to a new city. I’m excited to be here in Providence. I’ve only heard good things about the city and the team, so I’m really excited about the season.”

“Those two [aspects], when talking about offensive skills and speed which, allowed me to have the year that I had last year. I focused a lot on that this summer. Hopefully, it translates at the beginning of the season.” Richard also stated, “I’m really excited for this year. We have a good team. I feel like I haven’t been in a better place since I turned pro.”

Providence Bruins Ticket Information for All Home Games at the Amica Mutual Pavilion for the Upcoming 2023-24 Regular Season

If you’d like to purchase Providence Bruins tickets for any home game this season, please check out this link HERE for individual seats and scheduled promotional nights that are fun for family and friends. For group tickets or business outings, please click HERE. For the ultimate Providence Bruins home game experience with food and drink options, please click HERE for all private suite rentals.