Brett Ritchie recently earned a new contract, setting up what could be a great 2016-17 season with the Dallas Stars.
The 2015-16 Dallas Stars featured tons of young talent. Through call-ups and the development of players on the team’s AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, a few skaters earned permanent spots for the future while some left an impression that was bound to earn them time in the coming years.
Mattias Janmark, Radek Faksa and Stephen Johns are likely fixtures on the roster, however, one player in particular has the body, the potential and the skills to become another impactful individual at the NHL level.
Brett Ritchie recently signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars, further promoting the idea that he will be a full-time NHL player in the near future.
Ritchie has been playing for the Texas Stars since the 2012-13 season. He made his NHL debut on Dec. 31, 2014, scoring his first goal in a 6-0 Stars win. Ritchie played 31 games that season, notching six goals and three assists.
2015-16 saw Ritchie play just eight regular season games and two playoff games, earning only one assist.
When he did play, he made the most of his opportunities. Using his big body and physical play, Ritchie made a living roughing up the other team.
The video below highlights one of his most memorable moments from last season. After obliterating Andy Greene of the New Jersey Devils, Ritchie quickly punched his way through Adam Larsson in a moment of dominance.
With Ritchie likely set to become nightly occurrence in Dallas next season, it’s important to take a look at what he brings to the table.
First of all, he’s one of those big bodies that every team loves to have. At 6’3, the 22-year-old winger is a dream prospect. He provides plenty of physical plays, as he tends to be involved along the boards, and he’ll drop the gloves if he has to. One of the main reasons they brought him into the playoffs against the Blues last season was to try to counter the physical attack St. Louis had been throwing at them.
He is also a great player to throw in front of the net and has a nice shot.
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So why hasn’t he been playing in more games?
The reason why Ritchie was held out of the lineup more last season was because of injury problems, but also because of the depth of the team. The Dallas Stars had four lines packed full of forwards, with some players like Travis Moen being inserted in and out of the lineup. There simply wasn’t room for Ritchie to get much time.
That could change this summer. With forwards like Vernon Fiddler, Patrick Eaves and Colton Sceviour hitting the market as unrestricted free agents, the team could need a replacement, hence the reason why they signed Ritchie on for next season.
With a permanent role looming and the size to make a difference, we could see Brett Ritchie turn out to be another young player with a promising future in Dallas.