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Curtains on Broadway: Rangers buy out Richards

Jun 20, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT

Brad Richards Getty Images

After much speculation, the rumors have proven true — New York has used a compliance buyout on Brad Richards, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Per CapGeek, Richards — who holds a no-movement clause — opted against being placed on waivers, allowing the Rangers to immediately move forward with the buyout process. Capgeek also reports it’s the fourth-largest buyout in NHL history.

Richards just wrapped the third of a massive nine-year, $60 million deal signed in 2011. This move will free New York from his annual $6.6 million cap hit, but the club will pay Richards $1.05 million annually until 2025-26.

The Rangers will also avoid potential cap recapture penalties for Richards’ back-diving contract. The deal paid $57 million in salary in the first six years, and just $1 million over the final three seasons — so, should Richards have retired prior to fulfilling the duration of the contract, the Rangers would’ve been hit with gigantic penalties:

The decision to use the compliance buyout comes after Richards, 34, enjoyed something of a bounce-back campaign this year. He racked up 51 points in 82 games — third on the Rangers in scoring — and 11 points through his first 20 playoff games, averaging close to 17 minutes a night.

While he struggled in the Stanley Cup Final (no goals, one assist, minus-4 rating and a fourth-line demotion midway through the series), agent Pat Morris recently expressed optimism that Richards would be retained by the Rangers, thanks to conversations he had with GM Glen Sather.

“Gut feeling, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s kept,” Morris told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 last Tuesday. “Glen was pretty positive about Brad’s role this season, especially after [former Rangers captain Ryan] Callahan left.”

Today may be a difficult day for Richards, but he should be comforted by the following two facts:

Update: Per Sportsnet, Richards cannot sign with a new team until July 1.

  1. lowenni - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    It had to be done. I like Richards and it’s tough to see this but the cap hit would just hurt the Rangers too much in the future. He’s still a great locker room guy and can still contribute and will easily find a new job. Best of luck to Brad wherever he ends up b

    • revskip - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:43 AM

      Agreed. Love Richards and will miss him on the team but the team would have taken a bath if he decided to hang it up early and he wasn’t playing at a level commensurate with his cap number.

      Best wishes for him wherever he ends up. Unless it is the Devils or Flyers.

  2. 7mantel - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    This came as no surprise to NYR fans ! He can leave with his head up! Good luck Brad !

    • imleftcoast - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:10 PM

      Three days ago someone posted a story that his agent’s gut said Richards would stay with the Rangers. I hate it when guts blow smoke up some PHT blogger’s butt like that.

  3. 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Good, now the Devils can sign him and he can score on the “King With No Bling” on Sather’s dime!

    • barkar942 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Nah. He’ll want to sign with a real hockey team. Florida comes to mind.

      • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        Or he may want to explore the beautiful pastures of good ol’ beautiful Downtown Brooklyn

      • imleftcoast - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        There’s no Downtown Brooklyn. The Isles will play on Atlantic Ave numbnut.

      • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        Did somebody steal Downtown Brooklyn? Cause it was there this morning. Try looking it up before you yap it up. The Barclays Center is downtown Brooklyn.

      • imleftcoast - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        No one calls it Downtown Brooklyn dipwad.

    • buckhome - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      Just like RYane Clowe did this year, right?

      • barkar942 - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        I hear they are going to rename the Devils next year. They will now be called the New Jersey Ranger Rejects! Jagr, Clowe, Richards, DelZotto and Asham!

    • esracerx46 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Slats isn’t the one writing the checks. Its not his dime

    • biffnasty - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      I am always impressed with your attempts at humor. You are super clever and witty!

      • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Nobody holds a candle to you though. The way you added the “bj’s” part. PURE GENIUS! Seriously, you should think about taking your talents to Hollywood. You’re good! YOU!!

      • biffnasty - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:39 PM


        You see what I did there? I took your name and added “GAVE” and replaced cups with “bj`s”.

  4. nyrnashty - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Awesome, now we can sign some other old head with the money like Dan Boyle haha!

  5. ockingsfan - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    A big THANK YOU to Brad Richards for turning down the Kings offer and signing with the Rangers back in 2011. We’d be a couple pieces of hardware short had that happened…

    • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:32 PM

      Jeez. That says a lot about how time flies, eh? When he signed that deal he was appealling enough to have the Kings bidding down to the wire for him too. Only lost out because the Rangers were willing to dig deeper into their pockets. Fast-forward three years and he clearly wouldn’t have been worth it even with a shorter deal. Benefits of hindsight, I suppose.

    • hrudey - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      And Kovalchuk as well. To think that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades were the consolation trades.

  6. 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    In all honesty. He was more productive than Nash. What are they gonna do with Nash? He’s not really producing for his dollar amount. They have to keep him for a little bit, just cause. But he just doesn’t seem interested anymore. He was under-performing under two coaches.

    Who’s gonna be the fist winner to say “worry about your own team”

    • barkar942 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      Worry about your own team.
      LOL! Just kidding, Cups!
      Now as per Nash, I, as a Rangers fan, personally like many of the things he has been doing on the defensive side of the puck. Offensively, he ,especially in the playoffs, had very little space and time against usually the top D-men from whoever the opposition was. I have also noticed that he loses his edge a lot and falls while trying to maneuver.
      I hope Marty introduces him to his trainer in Connecticut. That would definitely help him.

    • bwayblueshirt - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      No, no he wasn’t. Being productive is more than just points. Richards was turning pucks over left and right, screwing up the entire powerplay, and not forechecking. Nash plkayed hard every shift, generated zone presence as well as shots on goal, and rarely turned the puck over. Richards may have a couple more points, but Nash played better. If only he’d had some of Brads PP time…

      • bwayblueshirt - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        Also, Richards backchecked about as hard as Ovechkin.

      • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        You don’t pay a guy $62,000,000 to do good things “away from the play” (unless your name is Ilya Bryzgalov), you have to produce first and foremost. The other stuff is what separates you from the Alex Semin’s of the league.

      • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        RIchards was a joke at back checking. Doesn’t mean he can’t.

        I remember when Kovalchuk also was worse than Ovechkin on the back check. He left as someone who you could count on on both ends of the ice.

      • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        You don’t pay a guy $6.6m a year to do bad things both away from the play and in it, either. Richards flatlined on the power play, turned the puck over in the offensive zone multiple times per game and couldn’t manage forgiveable defensive play on any line. Nash massively underperformed offensively, but Richards just massively underperformed everywhere. At least Nash has several productive regular seasons left in him.

    • jonnyhammersticks - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      I wondered if Sather would consider buying out Nash instead but it just wouldn’t make sense. One of them had to be bought out and it had to be Richards considering his age, the term, and the potential recapture penalty.

    • moarjam - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      C’mon are you honestly lobbying for Richards to stay over Nash?

      Nash has 2 less years on his contract, is 5 years younger and 100x better than Richards. I like Richards but he was the worst player on the ice in the finals by a wide margin. 6 more years of that would have killed us.

      As for Nash I know that he didn’t score much in the playoffs but neither did Gaborik until this year. Its not like the dude doesn’t care (I hope). Give it another shot. If it doesn’t work, ship him out next offseason. There will be takers.

      • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        Nah. He’s just lobbying for whatever angle lets him criticize the Rangers the most. He was gleefully crucifying Richards alongside everyone else a couple days ago. Now that the buyout’s happening, the best complaint he can conjure is “Oh, they didn’t use it on Nash! Ha ha, stupid Rags!”

        In fairness to 950003, Nash isn’t worth his contract. Never was, never will be. North of $7m for him was always a bad idea. But he’s still less of a contractual embarrassment than Richards was.

  7. tommydugan39 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Leave with his head up. He is the reason the cup is with L.A. Let him go be a cancer on another team, just like a rod. What a joke contracts are in general. Should have a dumb ass clause….

    • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      I would be happy to see him in a Devils uniform. Not likely, but he has a lot of gas left. Just have to know how to use certain players. They’re not all Kovalchuck’s, where you let them run wild in the offensive zone, and teach them how to back check.

      Some players need the right coaching. Some players are just good and overpaid, and some just don’t fit certain systems.

      • buckhome - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        As a Ranger fan, I’d love to see him in a Devils uniform as well.

      • moarjam - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        He’s not a cancer he’s just 35 years old and doesn’t justify his contract. He just doesn’t have it anymore. Good team guy. I wish him well. He will have multiple offers July 1.

      • 950003cups - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        He can’t be THAT bad. Can he?

      • nebbah306 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        I’d love to see Richards in a Devils uniform. His point totals have been going down every year and runs out of gas in the playoffs.

        Please please please sign him. First you took Mr Concussed Ryan Clowe, and I hope you sign Brad

    • dannymac17 - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      No. The reason the Kings have the cup is the Kings. You dolt

  8. J.M. Garlock - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Florida might not be a bad choice. There’s no state income tax, new owner professes desire to spend money. Richards is a marque name who would probably boost attendance a little & he probably knows he’ll never get another run at the Cup again.
    J.M. Garlock
    “The Centurion Chronicles”

  9. crazemastercraze - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    That skank Olivia Mund ruined him

  10. skr213 - Jun 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    He’s going to go from a contract albatross to someone’s cheap find. Some team will be lucky to pick him up for a one-year $4.5M-$5.5M.

    • rsl22 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      I don’t know about the 1 year deal, but he’ll definitely be a good pick up if he gets signed by a team that has a real 1C already on place.

      • skr213 - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        He’s 34. Signing a 34 year old to anything longer than a one or two year deal is just dumb. That’s how you get yourself into a situation that requires a buy-out.

  11. nicknyhc - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    I hope the Rangers use the money to sign Spezza.

    • justinpecora50 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Spezza??? He’ll make $7 million next year. The Rangers dumped Richards to free up some money so they pay Zuccrello, Boyle, Stralman ,Kreider, Brassard and if there’s any left the Moore guys or Pouliot. They have1/3 of their cap space tied up to Hank, Nash and St. Louis, so unless they get rid of one them, they can’t afford him.

      • nicknyhc - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:12 PM

        Its rumored Boyle and Stralman will be somewhere else next year.

        Pouliot can go.

        How much money do Brassard/Zucc/Kreider warrant?

  12. bleedrangerblue - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Spezza. Lol

  13. nyrangerfan4life - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Would anyone laugh at me if I suggested they use some of the Richards savings to bring back Callahan? That is, once they bring back Zucc, Boyle, Stralman (for certain), Kreider, Brassard, both Moores and Pouliot?

    • dswt25 - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      I don’t think there will be any money left to sign Cally after signing all the players you mention. They all want raises, and would get them as Free Agents. And Cally is not worth the money he is asking. I think he turned down $6mil/yr. for 6 years from NYR, and I am glad he did. He may get more from some team, but I think that he isn’t worth it.

      • nyrangerfan4life - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        Yeah, you’re probably right on all fronts. But Callahan’s a special player and unquestionably the best captain they’ve had since The Captain – too bad things worked out the way they did. I’d hate to see him flounder in Buffalo, but I have to believe they’re the odds-on fave to sign him.

    • justinpecora50 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:29 AM

      The Rangers have $24 mil in CAP space and a bunch of unsigned guys, they can’t afford him, even if they wanted him back, which Sather doesn’t. Zucc and Stralman are going to get MONSTER raises. I could see Zucc looking for $4 plus mil a year and Stralman around $3 plus mil. Boyle looking for around the same and Brassard made $3.2 last year, their all going to be looking for raises. Then you still have Kreider and the Moore guys and Pouliot. I’m also assuming they won’t bring Carcillo back, Pouliot had his moments but I could see him gone next year also.

  14. frankiesweep - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    This is why Slats is such a “great” gm… Unlimited funds to blow on bad moves.

    Rags won’t even smell the cup finals next year.

  15. avfanforlife - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Wait – They are paying him millions of dollars now to just go away? Can he now sign with another team and get paid by them to play in addition to the checks from NY, or does the other team that signs him have to pay the rangers owners his “new” salary? Confused.

    • dswt25 - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      He gets what the Rangers owe him, PLUS whatever he signs for with another team. The Rangers pay him the $20 mil or whatever regardless. They just don’t get a cap hit on what they will pay him “not to play” for them.

    • DED - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      Yes, Richards can collect two paychecks now.

    • avfanforlife - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      Thanks for the answers… Ha – So he could play for free – better yet, He could actually PAY another team to let him play for them!

    • skr213 - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Just to clear this up – he will be paid a percentage of his contract salary from the Rangers, not the entire amount.

  16. flutieflakes - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I think the biggest problem lies in these ridiculous contracts they hand out. Of course they weren’t going to keep him nine years; that is a silly contract. They are really 3-4 year deals with front loaded numbers to keep the cap numbers down (hello Mr. Kovalchuk). Seems to me same problem NFL had with rookie contracts getting out of hand. They should do something about this IMO. Teams are forced to put these ridiculous contracts up for offer that they know won’t be carried out.

    • stakex - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      Well I think its fair to say that when he signed this contract, it was assumed he would retire before it was finished….. perhaps two or three years early even. That would have, under the old CBA, removed his cap hit for those years in which he was retired. The new CBA handles that with the cap recapture penalty, making such deals a lot less likely in the future.

  17. flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Why can’t he sign til July 1st? Players that are bought out for compliance purposes can sign right away can’t they?

  18. newyorkislanderfancentral - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    team laughingstock strikes again cue positive propaganda

    Yashin<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Cable boy Richards.

    Cue that picture with Drury, Gomez and Holik.

  19. mss627 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:19 AM

    Richards was a bust. Nash may be as well. What is it about New York that turns great players into mediocre players and good players into bad ones?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1640)
  2. P. Kane (1637)
  3. M. Richards (1383)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1234)
  5. N. Backstrom (1117)