Apr 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Rangers beat the Sabres 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Guest Writer: Kenny Belvin on Buying Out Brad Richards

Apr 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Rangers beat the Sabres 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

While Blueline Station already had writer Patrick Serano’s take on what the team should do with Brad Richards, I went on Twitter today, and saw Ranger fan Kenny Belvin (@kennybelvin), confused as to why Richards wasn’t bought out yet. So like the nice guy I am, I contacted him and wondering if he would be interested in writing his thoughts as into why Brad should get bought out.

So I present to you our first guest writer Kenny Belvin:

The Reason the Rangers Need to Act Now and Buyout Brad Richards

When the New York Rangers signed Brad Richards I was very happy, why wouldn’t you be? He was a veteran offensive player, won a Stanley Cup, won the Conn Smythe in 2004. Brad was also a player who had the experience and knowledge of what it took to make it to the Stanley Cup Final and win. With a $6.7 million cap hit, who wouldn’t complain if he was going to produce? I certainly wasn’t going to.

My change of heart came during the course of the lockout shortened season. After abysmal playing during the regular season, it leaked over to the playoffs, and made me wonder: why would you want to keep him? “Well he had a good first season.” Sure, he got paid $12 Million, he should’ve had a good season, and his good season last year doesn’t justify an absolutely horrible season this year. 

I’m going to break down why he should be bought out into a few basic categories:
  • Lack of performance
  • Salary Cap Issues
  • Winning the Stanley Cup

Lack of Performance

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

During the 2011-2012 season with the New York Rangers, Brad Richards had a solid year, he had 66 regular season points, came up big when he was supposed to, and every time Richards was on the ice you just got the feeling that something might possibly happen, he was always in your head, you couldn’t forget about the guy. During the 2013 season? Not so much, sure, he had 34 regular season points, ok. But what were these goals? No 6.6 to go, no Winter Classic game winners, where was the intensity? The fire that we’d seen in the previous season, the fire that helped him lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to their 2004 Stanley cup championship. Gone. Some people blame former head coach John Tortorella, now I’m the first one to jump on the blame Torts bandwagon, but not even I think that’s his fault. Brad Richards obviously had some sort of issue that led to his less than satisfactory performance this season, but that’s on him and him alone. Now as much as I love Brad, he seems like a nice personable guy. We need a cup, I’m not going to wait for Brad to do some soul searching in order for us to get what we want.

Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Salary Cap Issues
Money is always the motive, right? We take a $6.7Million a year cap hit with Brad Richards, and if he was worth it, scoring goals, BIG goals, leading the team, after all he is the assistant captain, and he’s the only one on the team who’s held lord Stanley, he’s supposed to know what it takes and help the team get there, but he hasn’t, no leadership WHATSOEVER. Why waste that money on him? The team already has depth problems, why not take that $6.7Million and spend it on two depth guys?

Mandatory Credit: David Sandford/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Winning The Stanley Cup

The goal of any team at the beginning of each season is to win the Stanley cup of course. 600 players in September before the season starts goes to their team’s training camp with the idea that they’re going to be the champions at the end of that year. Brad Richards is hindering that dream for the rangers. He’s not leading, he’s not a threat, he’s not forechecking, he’s not grinding, what’s the point? He takes up a roster spot and a HUGE chunk of a LIMITED cap space that the rangers are dangerously close to hitting. As the depth problem with this team gets worse and worse the answer is obviously more guys who are depth players, buyout Richards and you can get two, even three depth guys for the same price. If he’s not going to produce here in New York, then he’s going to have to seek his ridiculous amounts of money elsewhere.

Thanks Kenny for taking the time out and writing that piece for us.  Now as many fans that want to see Brad Richards gone, there are a few Ranger fans that would like to see him stay. In the comment section below, please feel free to comment, and give your reasons as to why “Broadway Brad” should live to see another season in New York.

Remember teams have until July 4 to use their compliance buyout for this off season. If the Rangers don’t use it on him this season, they will have to hope he stays healthy, and buy him out during the 2013-2014 off season.

If the Rangers want to get it done, they have to do it now.  Once again be sure to follow Kenny Belvin on Twitter (@kennybelvin). Be sure to give us a follow on there as well (@BlueLineStation) and like us on Facebook!  This situation should be heating up very soon.

And while we’re remeising on the good times, here’s a highlight reel put together from the 2011-2012 season for Brad:

 

Tags: Brad Richards Buyout Glen Sather Guest Writer New York Rangers

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