Skip to content

Everyone’s deflecting, but the Brad Richards buyout still looms

Jun 3, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT

Brad Richards Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — At the Rangers’ availability during Stanley Cup media day, Brad Richards‘ contract status was an unavoidable topic.

“I’ve thought about it a lot,” Rangers GM Glen Sather said when asked about Richards’ future in New York. “But it’s not something that we’re thinking about right now. We’re focused on what we’re doing, what the team is doing, how we’re going to play, who we’re playing against.

“Certainly haven’t thought much about it lately. But that decision will come in the summer. It’s like all the decisions, we’ve got lots of free agents to sign. We’re happy with the way it is right now.”

Richards, 34, has enjoyed something of a bounce-back campaign this year, the third of his nine-year, $60 million deal. He racked up 51 points in 82 games — third on the Rangers in scoring — and 11 points through 20 playoff games, averaging close to 17 minutes a night.

It is, as Richards put it, miles ahead of where he was last postseason.

“It was the lowest point of my career,” Richards said, reflecting on being a healthy scratch during last year’s second-round playoff loss to Boston. “You never want to be on the outside looking in when your teammates are battling in what I consider to be the best part of hockey — the playoffs.

“That situation, when you’re in it, it’s awful.”

The Richards buyout talk has been happening since John Tortorella parked him last May. The former Conn Smythe winner said Sather provided a vote of confidence during the offseason — “Glen said he didn’t want to buy me out, and it made [me] feel like they weren’t giving up,” Richards explained — but this summer marks the last window of opportunity New York has to use a compliance buyout on his deal.

Financially speaking, it might be tough to pass on the chance.

Sather has three key RFA negotiations on the horizon: Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, New York’s leading scorer in the regular season. Veteran role players like Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, Benoit Pouliot and Anton Stralman all need new deals as well and while some might be expendable, some have also proven vital to this current Cup run.

Looking further down the road, the financials are even trickier. Next year will see Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin go to restricted free agency, with Martin St. Louis and Marc Staal becoming unrestricted.

Which begs the question: Can New York continue to pay Richards $6.7 million a year until 2020? Or risk the potentially huge cap recapture penalty should he retire prior to fulfilling his deal?

Nobody is answering, and Richards insists this isn’t the time to dwell on it.

“I’ve been too busy,” he explained. It’s not the right time to think about it. It would hurt my game and it would hurt the team if I was worrying about it, so I haven’t really thought about it.”

He might not have, but others certainly are.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Pens edge Sharks, reclaim second in Metropolitan

    Mar 30, 2015, 12:01 AM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Perron and Crosby scored in the shootout for the win.

  2. Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT

    Patrick Sharp #10 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks on in the first period of Game Three of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
(June 3, 2013 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Chicago moves into third in the Central Division.

  3. Video: Brian Engblom takes a puck to the head

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 9.34.27 PM

    He left the broadcast for stitches, but did return.

  4. Isles’ Tavares: ‘We needed two points, especially at home’

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:02 PM EDT

    John Tavares Getty Images

    New York snapped a seven-game home losing streak.

  5. Flames jump back into third in Pacific, beat Preds

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT

    Michael Ferland Michael Ferland

    Michael Ferland’s first NHL goal was the winner.

  6. Ovechkin, Chimera help Caps add to wild card lead

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin AP

    Washington scored four unanswered to beat New York 5-2.

  7. Report: Doan won’t be punished for Letang hit

    Mar 29, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT

    Kris Letang

    The Penguins defenseman suffered a concussion.

  8. Panthers sign Bjugstad’s former roommate, Minnesota Gophers captain Kyle Rau

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    Kyle Rau Getty Images

    Rau recorded at least 40 points in each of his NCAA campaigns.

  9. Letang concussed, Penguins will dress five defensemen

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT

    Kris Letang, Steve Downie, Rob Scuderi AP

    The good news is that he’s out of the hospital.

  10. Patrick Roy remains upbeat about Sabres’ Grigorenko

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

    Gabrioel Landeskog, Ryan O'Reilly, Mikhail Grigorenko AP

    Roy coached the forward in the QMJHL.

Featured video

Hammond leads Ottawa's turnaround
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (2066)
  2. H. Lundqvist (2011)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1884)
  4. D. Dubnyk (1797)
  5. A. Hammond (1674)