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Brad Richards: ‘I loved being a Ranger’

Jun 20, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

When it comes to player buyouts, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and forget the human side of the transaction. Brad Richards was cooperative with the New York Rangers as they exercised their compliance buyout on him today, but that doesn’t mean it was easy for him.

“Tough last few days … I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at MSG in front of great fans,” Richards said. “I’ve met many new friends, excellent teammates and staff and I have memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

It’s clear that the 34-year-old forward feels wistful about his involuntary exit from the Big Apple, but it sounds like he at least went out on a high note, as he told the New York Post after a stunning double-overtime loss to end the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s definitely worth it — worth every second of these two months,” Richards said on June 14.

When you look at things from a cold, calculated cap sense, it seemed simple to state that the Rangers needed to part ways with a player whose effectiveness simply hasn’t matched his cap hit in the last season or two. Most glaringly, Richards only managed two assists in his last 10 playoff games with the Rangers. Considering his largely offense-only role and costly contract, it’s a no-brainer on paper.

GM Glen Sather was the one who had to pull the trigger, however, and it didn’t sound like a pleasant decision.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of how much respect I have for him.” Sather said. ” … Brad’s leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization.”

Would the Rangers have been more willing to stomach his $6.667 million cap hit if his contract expired in a season or two instead of after the 2019-20 season? One can only speculate, yet the very long-term, risky deal that lured Richards to New York ended up being the main reason he only lasted through a third of the pact.

For more on the cap implications and specifics of the buyout, click here.

  1. bleedrangerblue - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    We all love being a part of Ranger nation. Good luck Brad.

  2. lowenni - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    Not a Rangers fan but sad to see him go cause clearly he really loved it being there. It isn’t his fault that father time took his toll and that he just isn’t quite the player all expected him to be–we can only see the fault of the signing in retrospect. At least he will look back on being a Ranger with fond memories, and best of luck to him wherever he continues his career.

    • imleftcoast - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      It’s sad when long-term, lucrative contracts are forced on a player. Spent many a night empathizing with Roberto Loungo. Does no one watch out for the high-paid professional athlete?

      • flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        Well they can donate all the money from their contracts to me so this way nobody has to feel bad about them being burdened millionaires :b

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        A classy guy like Richards can still feel bad, despite his money believe it or not, and others can feel the same.

        Basically what you’re saying is you shouldn’t feel empathy for anyone rich.

  3. paulerhythm - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    I don’t get the GMs signing lifetime contracts anyways. To me, long term contracts are 5 to 6 years, tops!

  4. canucks30 - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    He, along with Dan Boyle, should go back to the Lightning.

    With Stamkos, Hedman, Drouin, and a bevy of other young, talented players, Tampa has a bright future.

  5. brklynblueshirt - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Best of luck to a class act.

    In hindsight, it was probably a good decision not to exercise the buyout last year.

    I’m sure he will be a solid contributor to another squad next season.

    • afce22 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      Agree with all of that. Best of luck to Richards and thanks for the memories in NY

  6. stakex - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    I don’t feel bad for the guy. He’s going to get paid $1.05 million a year for the next 12 years for nothing more than essentially getting fired for poor performance.

    He also still has a bring NHL future ahead of him. I have little doubt that a lot of teams are going to line up to try and sign Richards. He’s still a solid 2nd/3rd line center, and brings a lot of leadership ability to the table. For $3 million a year, he could be a valuable asset. There is just no way in hell the Rangers could keep him with that monstrosity of a contract.

  7. muttbolts91 - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    I agree with Canucks30

    • biffnasty - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      I agree with Blomfeld as well

      • canucks30 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:26 AM

        This one goes out to blomfeld and biff nasty:

  8. dlk75150 - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Let me tell you something. He is not a two way center so he sealed his own fate. I can’t tell you how many short handed goals other teams scored on dallas while he was playing the point on the power play! He is past his prime and is no better than 3rd or 4th line center. I am glad he suckered ny and not dallas

    • stakex - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:05 PM

      Being a two way center, and giving up goals while playing the point on the power play have nothing to do with each other. After all, while playing the point he’s not functioning as a center but rather a defensemen. So the fact that teams scored a lot of short handed goals against him while on the point doesn’t mean he’s a bad too way center…. but rather a poor defensemen.

      • flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:39 PM

        Ok but if he gets 30 power play assists by playing the point then it’s not his fault then too right?

  9. flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    Good guy ok player at this point. Could likely play as a 2nd line center on another team. I’ll be curious to see where he ends up

  10. beermeone - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    Buffalo

    • President Charles Logan - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      will stink forever

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