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:

 

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  • Ray MacPherson

    This is in response to @kennybelvin regarding the buyout of Brad Richards. I have carefully read the three reasons you posted, and your sentiments are exactly those of everyone who is Pro buyout for the Rangers centre.

    I decided to express some thoughts and facts on why I believe the Rangers should keep him. Lets begin with the intangibles. Forget about his horrible on ice performance for a moment. The Rangers wanted a leader for their younger core of players to teach them what it takes to be a winner at the NHL level. In New York he has proven to have the character, leadership and attitude it takes to turn these young players into winners. The first is mentoring. Ask Michael Del Zotto or Carl Hagelin about whether or not Brad Richards has made them better. It will be a resounding yes. He’s THAT guy who brings the young players to his place for pre game meals. He wants them to feel included, he wants them prepared for each game. He shows them the importance of EVERYTHING including something so simple as the proper meal. His leadership on game days started even before they arrived at the arena. Thats going the extra mile.

    Now as a person who has taught professional hockey players, prospects and even young kids, I know how player chemistry and attitude is everything to be successful. His teammates bought into his wisdom. He knows the best way to lead is by example….and I’m sure you are thinking……poor play is a bad example. Not necessarily. Brad is harder on himself than any other person could possibly be, and the other players see that. They know he wants to be the leader, the producer, and because of that, they will take his advice to heart when there is something to be said and make themselves better as a result. The most important factor to winning, is looking at the guys in the room with you and knowing you will do anything for each other to win and will have each others back. When you’ve achieved that type of comradarie, then you have the makings of a champion team. I’ll give you an example of an instance of the respect his team mates have for him. After an horrific personal performance one game this season Richie was sitting in his stall…..head in hands, beside himself about how badly he played. Ryan McDonaugh, a player who has definitely flourished with Brad in the dressing room….came over, and sat beside him, and stayed there not just for a moment, but for a long while, just as a show of support to number 19. You never see that! That tells you about the impact he has had on the young players of the team and that THEY believe his leadership makes them better.

    Now lets talk salary. Yes he has a fat contract. But he had better offers and chose New York anyway because he wanted to play there, not because of the paycheck, and he did not hold the Rangers over a barrel. They offered him the deal, so lets not blame Brad for their salary cap issues. They new a new CBA needed to be negotiated when they signed him and that a lower Cap was a distinct possibility, but signed him anyway and they still have over 12,000,000 in cap space, and if revenues continue to climb, so will the cap, like it did last time. The Rangers can afford the paycheck. Its the cap thats the concern, so whether hes overpaid or not is irrelevant to the argument. The only real concern is injury. If he gets hurt this season they are stuck with his cap hit….that point may be moot if the cap increases next year and leaves them room to sign who they need….and if hes performing badly they can stick him in the pressbox so hes not injured….though he won’t play badly. And remember….glory was never won without taking risks

    Finally, his on ice performance. It was not good for sure in 2013 but being called Mr Clutch one year and falling to a point of benching the next year is not a reflection of his skills. No player ever loses that much skill that quickly. It was a lockout season. He chose not to go to Europe, so his game readiness was in all likelihood nowhere near what it normally would be. I believe, and his history supports this, 2013 will be followed up by a Brad Richards who will perform better in 2014 than he has in years. He’s been embarassed. He’s on a mission to re-prove himself, and every poor performance in his past has been followed by brilliance. Mark my words. Buyout is a mistake!