As the coaching carousel continues to move around and around, rumors have started to fly and one of the people in the middle of it for the Detroit Red Wings is Todd Richards. As first reported by MLive, Richards is expected to be interviewed for the assistant coaching position. Richards is a former head coach of both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. Does he have what it takes to be a part of the Red Wings organization?
Richards hasn’t had the most impressive track record as a head coach in the NHL. He has only made the playoffs once in his entire career as a coach. He comes from a coaching wing that includes people like Mike Yeo and Dan Bylsma from their time in Wilkes Barre/Scranton. He is probably the least successful of the bunch and isn’t regarded as highly as them either. His role on a Detroit team would be as a power play specialist. So his previous faults may not mean much if he can do the job given to him.
In his two full years as a head coach, Richards had two top fifteen power play units. This most recent year without Richards, the Jackets saw their power play drop all the way to 21st place. They also saw their percentages drop by three percentage points after his firing. He has been known to use his defensemen in heavy offensive roles on the power play. He has coached players like James Wisniewski and David Savard, who under his tutelage had large spikes in production on the power play.
While he isn’t the flashy name that people may be looking for, he can hopefully provide a spark for a team needing one. Was Todd Richards the reason that the Blue Jackets had a good power play? Maybe not. They saw a pretty big drop after their assistant Dan Hinote left after 13-14 season but the point still remains that Richards has helmed some impressive groups. Now that the rules have changed, they also won’t have to pay the Blue Jackets a pick either. An overlooked, former head coach could be the perfect mix of experience and acumen to add behind the bench.