Why Keeping Brad Richards Is A Mistake

May 4, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle (83) and New York Rangers center Brad Richards (19) prepare to face off in the first period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

 

I will never understand this Organization or Glen Sather. The New York Rangers have decided to not use their final compliance buyout on Brad Richards. I am not going to be irrational in this article simply because it would be very unfair to Brad Richards. You also never know what can happen and maybe he can win his second Conn Smythe next season. (Imagine?) But based on stats and the salary cap I believe it was a mistake to keep Richards a Blueshirt next season. Here are my reasons why:

1) Not Worth The Contract- Let’s say Richards is good under AV and he has a bounce back season. Richards will only tally 60-70 points based on his prior seasons of play. His productivity has gone down ever since he went to Dallas. Now he is 33 years of age and the lockout killed his game last season. He may bounce back but that is what he would be on pace for if he has a good season. For 6.6 million dollars I do not think that is worth it. It is very unlikely Richards will surpass that point total. He  also will probably be a 3rd line center next season considering how good Brassard and Stepan were last season for the Rangers.

2) Cap Hit- Richards has a cap hit of 6.6 million dollars this season. That gives the Rangers 13 million dollars to re-sign McDonagh, Stepan, Hagelin, Zuccarello, and Clowe. Odds are Clowe and Zuccs will be gone due to Richards contract. It will also be difficult in the future, specifically next year when the Rangers have to re-sign Del Zotto, Girardi, Callahan, Moore, and Lundqvist. I also now believe a defenseman will be traded due to keeping Richards. With Richard’s contract as well the Rangers are up against the cap and will not be able to make any big moves at the trade deadline next season because of their financial situation.

3) Performance- The Rangers fully believe they are a better team with Richards in the line-up. But are they? Richards regressed so much last season. Is it possible that he can make this team better? Can he bounce back? Only time will tell but I thought the Rangers would have been better off with Stepan, Brassard, Boyle, and either Miller or Lindberg making the team as the fourth line center. Both of those players are more than capable of making this Ranger team. But the Rangers want Richards and still see something in him. Another reason that leaves me to believe he will not be effective is that Tortorella gave him a lot of opportunity to succeed. Torts gave him the biggest leash out of all his players. He played with Nash, had top PP minutes and was not able to really be the elite player he once was. I don’t know what AV will do differently that Tortorella did with Richards. Richards had all the leeway and was not able to make a lot happen.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Richards has heart and is a proud professional. He WILL bounce back next season but based on his career right now his bounce back season will only see him registering 60-70 points. I still say that it is not worth 6.5 million dollars particularly when you are deep at the center position and when you have to re-sign all of the players the Rangers have to sign in the next few seasons. I think this a full mistake on Sather’s hands but time will tell if this was a smart move or not.

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  • Pivot

    I don’t understand why you people keep saying Moore is a free agent. He’s signed through next season. It doesn’t change a Whole Lot but the Rangers have 14.1 mil in Cap Space Avaliable against the Upper Limit of the Salary Cap. That difference of 1.1 might get Zuc or Clowe signed. I know right away upon reading that you said to yourself “Clowe isn’t signing for that”. I’m not so sure about that.
    First he waived his rediculous demands of an 8 year contract to come here. I think he did that to have some pull as to where he was delt by San Jose. He also stated on Breakup Day that he wanted to stay here and would be willing to play for less than the 3.625 cap hit (4mil in actual salary) he played for this year. He was injured twice as a Ranger and 3 times overall last year and that will be a bargaining chip for Sather. If he wants a pay day, he’s in the wrong place but I think he wants a Cup more than money right now. I think he will sign a 1 year deal worth 1.3-2.0 mil to show he’s in good enough health to garner a contract from a team serious about him if its not the Rangers. He said it too, there’s everything here and they’re built for the playoffs. I think he’s the big guy the Rangers need in the other teams crease to overpower the oppositions defense. The Lockout really hurt a lot of 30 something’s in the NHL last year and he’s no different. In the last 5 seasons he has played in at least 70 games and has not had a history of injuries throughout his 8 year career. Last is that the NHL now calls a bump in the head and a headache after a concussion. I’ve had 3 in my life and I wasn’t skating off the ice. Not on my own and not with help. I had no idea where I was or what happened to cause this. My point is that the league has tightened up on Concussion tests and protocol. He had some sensitivity to light and/or a headache. After a real concussion, your career is likely over. After 3 in one season, file for SSD or SSI because you’re retired! Again, my point is that those were just hits to the head that the NHL wants to be careful with. They let guys hit each other in the head with their fists and that’s ok, no tests after those? Go figure!

    This next season will have a set Salary Cap. After that the cap isn’t set in stone. It is calculated by using a formula that starts with the 50/50 split the owners of the league locked out the NHL players to get. Some teams have lost a lot of money and they want to make some back by operating at this extremely low Cap. The NHL has made in this short season more than it did with a full 82 games last year so there’s growth. Then Adolf Bettman wants to water down the Winter Classic by adding 20 more outdoor games. It will generate much more interest and with that comes revenue. Which makes up the cap. More money means a higher Salary Cap. In 14/15 the Cap will be higher than this years 70.2 mil the league operated under so there may be a good amount of money to spend next summer by all teams. Including the Rangers. They may use the Buyout then but they will have plenty of money to resign whoever they want. They might let Girardi walk depending on demands. There won’t be any problem with money after this year. Most teams will use both of their buyouts now because of the set cap and there may be a diamond in the rough come to free agency after a Compliance Buyout. That and Glen Sather will be aggressive in persuing trades. The Rangers have an extra defenseman and a bevvy of defensive forwards that someone like Edmonton may need.

  • Daniel Mathisen

    Why the hell would you want to put either JT or Lindbergh on the fourth line and basically bury young talent with grinders? The single most important reason Richards is staying is due to lack of depth at center. Step as first, Richards as second and Brass as third is a great way to school the young centers and provide leadership throughout the lineup. Let Boyle grind it out with Dorsett/Asham/Powe/Powe

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