2020-21 Team: Tri-City Storm
Date of Birth: February 10, 2003
Place of Birth: Quebec, QC, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 172 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: Prospect eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft
- NHL Central Scouting: 32nd (amongst NA skaters)
- Matthew Zator’s Top 100 for April: 87th
- Peter Baracchini’s Top 100 Rankings for March: Not Ranked
- Elite Prospects: Notable Prospect
- TSN: 75th
With every NHL Entry Draft, there are top-tier or franchise-changing prospects. Then there are the middle-of-the-pack players who could fit in the lineup and have very good NHL careers. After that, you have your prospects who are not high on anyone’s list but will make a difference on your team. Enter defenseman Guillaume Richard.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Richard, 6-foot-2 and 172 pounds, has come a long way in the past couple of years. Once known as an offensive defenseman with a booming shot and could quarterback a power play, he has transformed his game into a solid two-way blueliner. He now is a complete, 200-foot defenseman who can control play. He is not currently ranked high due to the fact this is a forward-heavy draft but do not let that fool you. Richard has all of the tools and hockey IQ to be a diamond in the rough and shine in the right opportunity.
With the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, he has shown that, with his stats, he has the potential to be a very good second pairing defenseman. In the 20-21 season, he has recorded 2 goals, 14 assists for 16 points, and a +10 in 46 games played. He also has a bit of sandpaper in his game, accumulating 14 penalty minutes.
Defensively is where he has made the biggest adjustments. Richard has learned how to close the gap of opposing forwards, how to defend man rushes, and play the physical game to make a play. He is not shy about laying the lumber on forwards in front of the net, giving his goaltender a chance to see the puck. He can block shots and take away passing lanes with his 6-foot-2 frame.
Richard may not be picked in the first round, but he has 1st round potential. He can play a defensive role, as well as an offensive role. He can quarterback a power play but can also use his body on the penalty kill. He does not have an elite game, nor will he particularly stand out on a nightly basis. However, he will be that weapon that can be used in any aspect of the game and have a long NHL career. Richard will be your guy if you want someone hardworking, does not take a shift off and is someone you can depend on. One NHL team is going to be lucky to grab him, and the rest of the NHL will be sorry to have passed on him.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Guillaume Richard – NHL Draft Projection
Richard does not appear high on draft boards because this is a forward-heavy draft. He has worked hard and changed his game to be a better overall defenseman. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked in the 3rd or 4th round, while Bob Mckenzie has Richard ranked the highest at 75th. Both of these seem to be fair but do not be surprised if he is taken higher. Richard is one of those defensemen who will do what it takes to win and have to be dragged off the ice. His work ethic is off the charts, and that is slowly getting noticed.
“He blows up the cycle, suffocates his man around the net, and kills plays at the top of the circle.” EPRinkside.com 2021
“Details, rather than tools, drives his puck game, where he takes pucks in motion, looking off his target, and quickly moves the puck.” EPRinkside.com 2021
- High hockey IQ
- Versatile, puck-moving defenseman
- Smooth skater
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Work needed on decision-making
- Defensive awareness
- Needs to fill out
Richard has the potential to be a very good 2nd-pairing blueliner, though on a team like the Tampa Bay Lighting, he would be a 3rd-pairing defenseman. On a team like the Detroit Red Wings, he would be a top-4 defenseman. With his skill set and adjustments made on defense, he should be a player who has a lengthy NHL career. With that said, we will find out on draft night who is the lucky team to draft the services of this young, rising star. They will be getting a gem.
- 2018-19 CWG Champion
- 2018-19 QGC-16 Champion
- 2019-20 BEAST 16U (National) First Team
- 2020-21 U18 WJC Best Plus / Minus (+14)
- 2020-21 U18WJC Gold Medal