The center position has become a black hole for the Rangers that is threatening to swallow the team alive.

And no one, no one, has fallen deeper into that abyss than Brad Richards, who hasn’t come close to resembling the player he always has been and must be in order for the Blueshirts to salvage something from this disappointing muddle of a season.

“I don’t even have the word to describe how wearing this has been,” Richards told The Post after the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout defeat to the Capitals last night at the Garden. “Mentally, it’s been pretty tough.

“I’ve been taking a beating.”

That’s a self-inflicted beating to which Richards, who arrived on Broadway a year ago with the portfolio as a leader and a pro’s pro, was referring. The mind is connected to the legs, the legs are connected to the hands, and neither the legs nor the hands have been able to produce at anything resembling a satisfactory rate.

It appears as if Richards is as stuck as his team, which did somehow creep into eighth place with the losers’ point but failed to serve notice that better days are anywhere close to right around the corner.

“I’ve never been through anything like this in my career,” the 12-year-veteran said. “I’m trying to cope with it, I’m trying to learn from it but I’ve never experienced anything like this.

“When you’re an offensive guy, you have to produce.”