I’ve talked about this played before, but this guy has proven that he can play in both a top-six role because he can produce but he can play lower down the lineup too as his big size allows him to bring the physicality when he is not producing. Nick Ritchie is the kind of player the Blueshirts should be trying to go after because of everything he can bring to a lineup that could use a little more physicality and a little more scoring.
At 6’3, 240 lbs, this is a large human being who knows how to lay the body. He fits the modus operandi of the Rangers’ front office over the last few years in terms of the search for some extra toughness. You want someone of that stature when the playoffs roll around and everyone wants to step up and cause chaos. Not to mention, someone who will go to the front of the net and take abuse to score goals.
This isn’t someone who just has a big body either. In 74 games this season split across Calgary and Arizona, Ritchie had 13 goals and 13 helpers for 26 points. What is more important about these totals is the 13 goals. Putting the puck in the net is one of the most difficult things to do in this sport and having someone like Ritchie who can add double-digit goals from the depth roles is a good sign.
If Ritchie was to join a line with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey in the bottom six, that would be a line that could do almost anything. That depth for Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff could be the difference between yet another first-round elimination and perhaps defeating teams like New Jersey and Carolina in the postseason. I’m not saying Ritchie would be the single reason for it, but you never know who the difference-maker will be in the playoffs.