They say the last memory you have of someone is the one that sticks in your mind.
That’s definitely the case with Nick Ritchie. The left wing made some big mistakes in his last outing with the B’s and frankly, didn’t do enough to warrant anything above a dud mark for the handful of regular season games he appeared in.
Ritchie was acquired by the Bruins at the trade deadline from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Danton Heinen. As a Duck, he played in 41 games and registered eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points. In seven games with the Bruins, he produced one goal and picked up one assist, both of which were tallied in a single game against the Dallas Stars on February 27.
In those seven games, he had eight shots on net and sat in the penalty box for 19 minutes.
The 24 year old was packaged as a force in front of the net and a big-bodied, hard-hitting forward that the Bruins’ front office felt was needed.
If the season wasn’t shortened, maybe we would have gotten to see more of the net presence, but going on the regular season alone, he failed to show why, exactly, the Bruins traded for him.
Ritchie came to the Bruins to add more size and physicality to the lineup, but ultimately, that extra edge backfired in the playoffs. Yes, he was always going to end up taking penalties, but boy, did it hurt the team at the worst time.
There were obviously other issues that led to the Bruins’ second-round exit, but penalties killed the team in the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In this year’s playoffs, Ritchie skated in eight games, netted one goal and brought a whole lot of disappointment, specifically Game 4 against the Lightning.
In a crucial game, you can’t take a major penalty by making a dangerous (and silly) hit like the one Ritchie laid on Yanni Gourde. Stupid.
It’s hard enough to get ahead while you’re killing off a five-minute major, and it’s worse when you end up allowing a goal to fall further behind when scoring is already a problem for the team.
He didn’t bring much in the playoffs, mirroring what he did in his brief regular season stint. Does Ritchie deserve a little more time to get acclimated? Sure. If you make that argument for Ondrej Kase, Ritchie deserves the same leeway.
But from what we saw, he was just too inconsistent, didn’t create opportunities, and lacked discipline.
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