Jun 17, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Pat Morris, the agent representing Rangers forward Brad Richards, has spoken to Glen Sather in the wake of New York’s Stanley Cup Final loss to L.A.
Based on what he’s heard, Morris has some optimism that Richards will be a Blueshirt next season.
“Gut feeling, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s kept,” Morris told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 on Tuesday. “Glen was pretty positive about Brad’s role this season, especially after [former Rangers captain Ryan] Callahan left.”
Though he admitted potential bias given he was speaking about his client, Morris pointed to a number of reasons why New York would, and should, keep Richards in the fold. He said Richards’ 51 points this year would’ve made him a top-three scorer on “around 20″ NHL teams (I did the math, and that number’s actually 14 teams) and said that, through the first three rounds of the playoffs, Richards was lauded for his leadership and essentially filled the role of New York’s vacant captain position.
But then the Stanley Cup Final happened.
Richards’ numbers in the five games against the Kings were ugly — no goals, one assist, minus-4 rating and a demotion midway through the series. It’s something Morris alluded to in speaking with Sportsnet.
“After Game 2, [Richards] is an automatic buyout and ended up on the fourth line,” he said, referring to how quickly perceptions of his client changed.
The biggest issue, of course, has nothing to do with Richards’ regular season or playoff. It’s all about the money — both his hefty $6.6 million cap hit (combined with the fact the Rangers have 11 players to sign) and the potential cap recapture penalty for his back-diving contract. Richards’ nine-year, $60 million deal pays $57 million in salary in the first six years, and just $1 million over the final three seasons — so, should Richards retire prior to fulfilling the duration of the contract, the Rangers would be hit with gigantic penalties:
1/2 Lots of talk today about #NYRangers Brad Richards. Here’s a look at his annual cap recapture penalties, by retirement year.
— CapGeek (@capgeek) June 4, 2014
2/2 As follows: 2014: $2.167M x 6 2015: $2.966M x 5 2016: $4.166M x 4 2017: $5.666M x 3 2018: $5.666M x 2 2019: $5.666M x 1
— CapGeek (@capgeek) June 4, 2014
It’s something Morris acknowledged, noting the on-ice part of the Richards decision is completely separate from the financial part.
“It’s in the Rangers’ hands,” Morris explained. “[If it’s] a hockey decision I think they keep him, if it’s a business decision they might not. There’s not really any pleasant ways for the Rangers to look at this.”
- Video: Kessel, Booth get into altercation at Leafs practice 15
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 25
- After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’ 30
- Bruins can’t hold Ducks off, suffer sixth loss in a row 27
- Ticket punched: Rangers become first team to clinch 2015 playoff berth 13
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT 51
- Marchand: If Bruins miss playoffs, ‘this is going to be a much different group next year’ 20
- Is Lecavalier offering to retire early to facilitate trade out of Philly? 28
- Hextall insists he’s ‘on the same page’ with Snider 16
- Krejci ‘probable’ to return versus Ducks 11
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (51)