Richardson competes for Canucks' third line 0
Former Los Angeles Kings' centre Brad Richardson (R) will most likely make his pre-season debut with the Canucks on Wednesday Sept. 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)
Brad Richardson will finally get his first crack at showing what he can do in a Vancouver Canucks jersey.
It helps that the centre brings with him an NHL track record — having spent the past eight seasons with Colorado and Los Angeles — as he competes for that vacant third-line role.
"That weighs in a little bit," Richardson said Tuesday. "I've been on some playoff runs and that will help experience-wise. And I'm definitely ready for that role and I just want to prove that and go out and do the best I can.
The 28-year-old Belleville, Ont. native will likely start Wednesday's pre-season home game against the Edmonton Oilers, skating between Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen — if Tuesday's practice was any indication.
"There's a lot of speed there," he said of the trio. "I don't think anything is solidified yet and (coach John Tortorella) is moving guys around. We can create a lot of stuff with that speed so if we play together tomorrow night, then we'll see how that goes."
Last season, Richardson played 16 games, scoring once and adding five assists. He also appeared in 11 playoff games where he put up a helper.
Tortorella said the forward — who signed as a free agent in the summer — had a good training camp and is interested to see where he falls into place in the lineup.
"Utility is a very important position as far as a guy that can bounce around in a lot of different situations," Tortorella said. "He's played on a winner, he knows how that is and some of the things you have to go through.
"We'll try him in a lot of different places as we keep going through the exhibition season."
Centre Jordan Schroeder will also likely be playing Wednesday and the coach has already taken note of his quickness — which the 22-year-old hopes is a good sign.
"I got to use my speed to my advantage," he said. "It's one of the best parts of my game ... and the rest will take care of itself."
One of the bigger stories to come out of the pre-season opener Monday was the whopping 26:26 of ice-time Ryan Kesler played. The centre led all players — defencemen included — in the category in just the first game action of the season.
But it sure didn't feel that way, said Kesler.
"That was a little skewed, I don't think I play that much," he said. "Saying that, if it feels like I didn't play that much, it's probably a good thing.
"It's pre-season and I'm trying to get in shape."
Coach John Tortorella isn't concerned at all about the ice-time numbers moving forward, noting there are other ways to recover. In fact, he isn't a "big believer" in how many minutes a player racks up and having to limit them accordingly.
"If this certain person is one of our best players, I'm going to get him on the ice and we'll go from there," he said. "There will be no team in this league that has more days off than this team. I have gone through that schedule and we are going to take time off."