(Photo Credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

Ahead of Thursday’s matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights, the Boston Bruins announced that Anthony Richard has been assigned to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. The 27-year-old forward has totaled 1-2-3 in nine games since his call-up earlier this month, as the decision to send him back to the AHL comes just one game after his stint on the first line with Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle.

Richard was slated to be the odd man out on head coach Jim Montgomery’s depth charts, opting to go with Jakub Lauko on the fourth line with Jesper Boqvist and Justin Brazeau, according to line rushes Thursday morning. Instead of missing the game as a healthy scratch, management elected to defer him to the minors. Richard has brought his speed and hockey sense to Boston’s bottom six, providing an offensive lift during the team’s rough four-game road trip out West. He registered 10:25 of ice time in 15 shifts alongside Marchand and Coyle on the first line in Boston’s 4-3 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Monday.

It is important to note that if Richard suited up for his 10th NHL game this season, he’d need to clear waivers if sent down to Providence. With the trade deadline approaching, Boston management likely didn’t want to risk him going through waivers and getting signed by another team. This way, Richard is still an asset the Bruins can shop around to round out any formulating trades.

The Bruins simply might just like Richard and what he’s brought to the team in his short NHL stint, wanting to keep him in their system. Based on his play in his nine games with the Black and Gold, it makes sense. There have been glimpses where he’s showcased his offensive ability, setting up Coyle for a goal against the Calgary Flames and lighting the lamp against the Los Angeles Kings.

While it may be confusing why the Bruins would send down a player like Richard, the decision appears more positive than negative. Management is likely weary of the fact that he might not clear waivers, and they aren’t willing to risk losing out on a player they like. At the same time, Montgomery and the coaching staff don’t see Richard as a part of what the Bruins want to do at this time of year. Both can be true, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Richard up with the big club sometime down the line.