After 24 hours of presentations, conference calls and decision-making, former Dallas Stars center Brad Richards has agreed to sign with the New York Rangers and coach John Tortorella on a 9-year, $60m deal.
The deal, heavily front-loaded and boasting a very reasonable $6.67m cap-hit, was confirmed within the past hour by TSN’s Darren Dreger on twitter after initial speculation had Richards choosing the Rangers over the LA Kings, amongst others.
Keep in mind that a slight adjustment was later made to the originally reported figures.
Though some have been quick to chastise Sather for another long-term contract, it’s hard to find fault given the slim likelihood of Richards playing beyond the sixth year of the contract. We all know what Brad Richards brings: he solves the issue of an elite #1 center and will also come as a huge boost to the Blueshirts stagnant powerplay; though perhaps most importantly, his addition finally gives Marian Gaborik an elite playmaker with which to work with. Consensus on the Richards deal seems to be that he left money on the table in order to sign with the Rangers. Dreger reports that the he always intended to head back East and wanted to play for Tortorella again;
"DarrenDreger: Beauty of being a highly sought after ufa. Richards wanted to get back to east and play for Torts. Hence, he took less. Regardless, great $$"
A breakdown of the contracts yearly salary and bonuses are not known at this point, though that information will be added once it’s made available as will quotes from Richards and the Rangers.
UPDATE – 4:40PM
TSN’s Gord Miller provides a breakdown of the Richards contract and, as expected, it’s heavily front-loaded and includes a significant signing bonus in both the first and second years of the deal.
"GMillerTSN: Richards yr-by-yr: $12m, $12m, $9m, $8.5m, $8.5m, $7m, $1m, $1m, $1m. $10m SB+$2m the salary first year, $8m SB + $4m salary the second"
Also, some early things to take out of this afternoon’s conference call with Richards, Glen Sather and John Tortorella;
- Sather tasked Mark Messier with scouting Richards at the start of last season
- Sather will not discuss whether Richards has been given a no-move/no-trade clause as part of his contract
- Sather has confirmed that the Rangers will not be pursuing a high-priced LW to play with Richards and Gaborik
- When asked if Richards would possibly wear the “C”, Tortorella says that [captaincy] will not be discussed until September
- Tortorella and Richards are both psyched for reunion
- Sather is not concerned with 9-year deal, feels Richards is a tremendous athlete and in great shape
As for some quotes, here’s Richards discussing why he feels New York is the right fit and on looking forward to the challenges ahead; (per Blueshirts United)
"This is an Original Six team, which is very special as a hockey player to play for, and to see an owner that is committed to doing what it takes to win, and obviously what Glen and Torts are doing—I’ve seen how Torts operates, it’s worked, I know that firsthand, and I can see how he’s bringing this young team along in New York—you factor all that in together, this was just the right fit for me."
"If you want to be a great player then a challenge like this is something you should relish, and what better place to perform than Madison Square Garden, that’s a dream come true really. With these kind of fans behind you and that kind of atmosphere, it’s going to push you. I look forward to the challenge."
"(The Rangers) have that core foundation, so you know they have the right attitude for how to play the game. Now it’s going to be a challenge to take it to another level, but that’s what we have to do now year-in and year-out."