Staten Island, N.Y. - Lets rewind time to 2010. Brad Richards was finishing up a strong season with the Dallas Stars, in 72 games played he was able to register 77 points. Richards’ name had been floating around the rumor mill for the majority of the season being it was the last year of his contract. Dallas had the opportunity to to move him at the deadline but figured keep him as they were still in the hunt for the playoffs and the asking price was a little high. Dallas didn’t make the playoffs that year & when July 1st came rolling around it was known that Brad would see what he could get on the free agent market.
Of course, the New York Rangers were atop the charts of most likely team to land the 31 year old superstar. That they did when GM Glen Sather signed him to a 9 year, $58.5 million dollar contract re-uniting him with his old coach John Tortorella. He had a pretty solid 1st season on Broadway notching 25 goals along with 41 assists for 66 points helping the Rangers to a 1st place finish in the Eastern Conference. He also added 6 goals and 9 assists in 20 playoff games where the Rangers were ultimately eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Fast forward to the beginning of the lockout shortened 2013 season and it killed most fans to even see this guy on the ice. His numbers were very deceiving as to what he put forth on the ice. He finished the season with 34 points in 46 games (11g, 23a). There were times when you’d hear his name announced during the game and go “Brad Richards is in this game, where?”. Some say he could have been hurt. Some say the lack of “Tortorella Bootcamp” is the reason he never found his legs. Some say the lockout had an effect. Some say…. Let’s just save the excuses. He simply just got caught like a deer in the headlights on Broadway. I personally think the pressure of playing in New York got to him, as it does many athletes in every sport. This all lead to him being dropped to the 4th line & ultimately benched the final 2 games of the season. Lets let that sink in, the near 7 million dollar man playing on the FOURTH line AND THEN riding the pine for the final 2. Talk about throwing away money.
This being said, there’s only one thing to do with Brad Richards. Amnesty. No seriously, at this point this is the only thing the New York Rangers can do. Here are the reasons why Brad Richards MUST be bought out:
– Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, and Carl Hagelin are all due to be Restricted Free Agents.
– Mats Zuccarello and Ryane Clowe are due to be Unrestricted Free Agents.
With the CAP Limit set to be at $64,300,000 the New York Rangers will have $14,155,833 of spending space according to www.capgeek.com. Now Stepan & McDonagh are due for big checks, I’d say McDonagh gets around what Marc Staal makes ($3,975,000 dollars) and Stepan should come in somewhere around 4 mill. That’s already hovering around 8 million already gone in 2 players (give or take). Carl Hagelin & Mats Zuccarello wont get nearly as much, I’d say each getting somewhere in the 1.0-1.3 million dollar range. Now were up to approx 10.5 mil spent & only 3.6 million left to spend with still Ryane Clowe not under contract. Clowe’s previous contract with San Jose was worth 3,625,000 million dollars so I expect him to stay in that range, so figure he gets a deal for 3.5 mil a year. This leaves the Rangers too close to the limit with no other way to explore with another UFA or even bring up someone like JT Miller because his contract would count against the CAP and put them over.
So they use one of their two amnesty clauses on Brad Richards, and free up some more room to spend on a cheap UFA or use within the system. He will attract attention all over the league so he wouldn’t have to worry about not having a team to play for come October.
Who knows, maybe Glen Sather has some more trickery up his sleeve and can manage to pull off getting all these players under contract AND keeping Richards but I doubt it. So I ask you, would you like to see the Rangers buy out Brad Richards?