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Rangers GM expects Richards to rebound from 2013

Jul 3, 2013, 10:45 PM EDT

bradrichardsgetty Getty Images

Brad Richards had a rough regular season and an outright terrible playoff run. He admitted that he “didn’t feel normal all season,” once it was over.

Considering the fact that he’s 33, some might wonder if he’s merely showing his age. New York Rangers GM Glen Sather opted against buying Richards out this summer, explaining to New York Newsday that he believes that the playmaker can turn things around in 2013-14.

“[Richards is] really good player,” Sather said. “I think he had an off-year, and we think he’ll be much better next year.”

Considering this decision, the Rangers must hope that new head coach Alain Vigneault and a more normal offseason program will do Richards and the rest of the team some good.

That doesn’t mean Richards won’t ever be bought out, however.

His $6.667 million cap hit extends through 2019-20, with 2013-14’s salary being $9 million. Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi are among the prominent Rangers whose contracts expire in the summer of 2014, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rangers use their second (and final) compliance buyout on Richards.

It looks like he’ll get a chance to redeem himself next season, whether he’s auditioning for the Rangers or one of 29 other NHL teams for 2014-15.

  1. stakex - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Not sure how much the Rangers cap situation will be an issue next year. Depends on how big a raise Stepan, Hagelin, and McDonagh get this year if they keep all three since all three were coming off entry level deals.

    Lundqvist, Callahan, and Girardi on the other hand are all making sizable money already. Lundqvist already has a $6.8 million cap hit and that’s not likely to go up much at all. He’ll probably get an eight year $56 million ($7 million cap hit) deal. That seems to be the going rate for super star goalies. Callahan has been steady, but he isn’t going to get much of a raise from his current $4.275 million cap hit… maybe $5 million at most. Girardi is probably the most likely to see a raise, but his lack of offensive production is going to keep him from getting the big bucks. All told, baring some sort of game changer this coming season, I bet these three only end up costing the Rangers $2 million or so more a year with their new deals.

    Actually the current Ranger that might end up costing them the most after this season you didn’t even list, which COULD be Chris Kreider. If he has a breakout year everyone seems to think he’s overdue for… he might see a significant raise over his EL deal. Still though, the Rangers cap situation probably isn’t so dire that Richards will need to be bought out next year. He very well could be bought out if his play fails to improve, but there is probably room to keep him if it does.

  2. cameltoews - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    The only thing I could see that would put the rangers in cap trouble is if another team offers McD a huge offer sheet around 6-7 mill. If the rangers match (which I read they most likely would) that would put a strain on the team and almost force the Richards buyout even if he has a spectacular year

  3. homerx - Jul 4, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    Sather is a fool for not buying him out when he had the chance. Maybe he has a change of heart and wakes up today and does it (I believe today is the final day to buyout). If you think Hank is only going to command $7mm/year you’re kidding yourself when Richards is making $6.6mm. No matter how you look at it they need to get rid of Richards’ contract, forget about the fact that he is not playing well. They have way too much young and consistent talent to sign in the next two years and his contract is going to impact someone they want to keep.

    I have a bad feeling that this team will be significantly different for 2014-2015 if Richards stays and that’s not for the better. Hopefully that last sentence is right and they are letting him ‘audition’ for another team and MAYBE they can dump him on someone else or just decide to buy him out after next season.

    Wait until we are 20 games into the season and Richards has 1 goal and 3 assists and a -6 rating; Ranger fans are going to lynch Sather.

  4. kevbelz - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    This was the right move by Sather. There was no reason to buy out Richards, THIS YEAR. The truth is no one knows just how much of an impact Tortorella’s choice of team play affected everyone. Clearly, Richards did not play like the player anyone hoped he would. Clearly, this team did not achieve what anyone hoped it would. Clearly the powerplay was terrible, and Tortorella seemed more interested in “sticking to the game plan”, benching players during games, slamming players in the press, scratching players, etc.
    Clearly – none of this worked.

    Richards deserves another shot, with a real pre-season preparation, and a desire to redeem himself.
    I expect that we won’t have to buy him out if he underperforms again as he’ll retire.

    Think about – the players got him fired. Look at that pathetic powerplay, especially during the playoffs.
    If that was the powerplay that Torts and Sullivan drew up they deserved to be executed, not fired. If it was NOT the powerplay they drew up they should have been going NUTS during the games. Either way the rational explanation is the coaching was to blame. Now lets do a full 180 with Alain Vigneault, and see if this team responds the way it should. These guys should explode. and finish above in the top half of the division, and have a successful play off next season.

  5. Habib Marwan - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Im sorry but he looked more like 43 then 33 out on the ice last year , the system that he plays in has nothing to do with his slowing down , eroding skills.

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