Best of the West #34: Brandon Richardson, Nebraska-Omaha

Brandon Richardson, Forward, 5'11" 196 lbs., Indiana(USHL)

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Role he'll likely play: Richardson is a solidly built offensive-minded player that could be a perfect fit for Dean Blais' style of hockey. UNO returns a couple forwards that scored in the 20-point range, but nobody truly outstanding, and with a brand new coach, competition for prime ice time should be wide open.

Why he is ranked here: Richardson's path to college hockey is strange, but not unfamiliar. After growing up in southern California, Richardson moved to the Pembroke Lumber Kings of the CJAHL, where he was one of the league's top scorers. That's the same story as St. Cloud star forward Ryan Lasch. Where he differs from Lasch is that Richardson then moved to the USHL last season, where he was one of the league's top scorers as well.

Why he'll be great: Richardson has been a non-stop scoring machine the past two years and will be playing what should be a fairly wide open system of hockey.

Why he might not: Richardson was an overage player in the USHL last season, and the year before that, was playing in a fairly weak junior league, so those big point totals could be a matter of circumstances. Richardson is also a bit more of a playmaker than goal-scorer, and UNO doesn't have as many pure goal scorers to surround him with.

Contrived Rivals-style star ranking: 3 stars

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