This summer is the Rangers last chance to use their final compliance buyout and the most likely candidate for would be center Brad Richards.
Nick Kypreos said on Hockey Central at Noon, in early November, “That talk is not going away. I can appreciate that he is a better player but he has not put him in a position that that thing was a thing of the past. I think he has done everything he possibly could, don’t think for one second that it isn’t almost a Vinny Lecavalier thing. The contract doesn’t work even with the cap going up. The contract can’t work moving forward.I can’t see it even if it goes up past 70+. I can’t say the Rangers ay they will live with the contract.”
Kypreos said on December 4th, “This is their last chance to go to that compliance buyout. He has been better….what has he got, he has six to go. Where will he be in 3 years. can you still afford a cap hit of $6.5 million?”
In the Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch writes that with the Rangers needing to sign so many players, it’s expected that there will be talk again that the Rangers could buy Richards out.
Richards’ declining PP production makes him a prime candidate for a buyout and that his regular season production is on pace with last season. The buyout, which wouldn’t count against the cap, would cost the Rangers $18 million spread over 12 seasons. (ESPN Insider)
Bob Mckenzie said on 12/23, “gotta buy him out. I think so. Unless he comes back and plays like a legit number one center and you have reason to think he will continue down that road. Flashes of being pretty good won’t be good enough. I think they will have no choice but to use the compliance buyout and free up some cap space.”
Adam Rotter: Richards has been much better this season and seems like he has validated the decision not to buy him out last summer. This summer though the decision will be much tougher. The salary cap is going up, which means that the Rangers can carry Richards and still have room, but with core guys to re-sign and the chance to use that money elsewhere, it’s hard to see them holding on to Richards moving forward. It would be nice if the Rangers could keep rolling over the option to use the compliance buyout, because they really like what he brings on and off the ice, but they need to re-tool a bit and also protect themselves from a potential cap recapture penalty.
Pierre LeBrun writes at ESPN.com that he isn’t surprised by the Rangers decision to hold onto Richards and that he has been working out with Marty St. Louis in Connecticut.
LeBrun, who spoke with Richards earlier in the week, said that Richards sounded like “a man hell bent on proving to people he’s still an elite player.”
LeBrun also notes that when Richards and Alain Vigneault spoke, the conversation lasted for 90 minutes.
Both Steve Zipay, at Newsday, and Carp at Rangers Report, think that the Rangers should have bought Richards out with Zipay wondering how much Richards has left and Carp wonders if the Rangers would send Richards home to preserve his health if he doesn’t bounce back.
THIS SECTION is all about Richards and the potential buyout.
The Rangers have announced that they will not use a compliance buyout on Brad Richards or anyone else this summer.
The Rangers will have the option to buy Richards out next summer if he is healthy.
THIS SECTION is all about Richards and the potential buyout.
Adam Rotter: There is risk involved with this move, but the Rangers are showing confidence that Richards will return to playing at a high level after a down season. It’s a move to try and win now and deal with with the consequences later on. The belief is that Richards will retire with three years left on his contract, when his salary drops to $1 million per season, and leave the Rangers with over $5 million per season in cap penalties due to the cap recapture clause. But that only takes effect if Richards files his paperwork to retire. Presumably he could not report to training camp, report and “fail” his physical, report and get “injured” in training camp with a nagging issue that keeps him out the whole year. It’s all a little far fetched and the NHL certainly wouldn’t be happy about it, but they could be possibilities for him and the team down the line.
2:55PM: Louis Jean, a TV reporter in Montreal, tweets that the Rangers haven’t made a decision on Richards yet because there a differing opinions within the organization.
1:28PM: On TSN, Darren Dreger said that the expectation was for the Rangers to follow in the same path as Tampa Bay did, with Vinny Lecavalier, and buy out Richards but that things have changed a bit and that his sense is that the Rangers are going to announce that they are NOT buying out Richards.
He says that the Rangers seem like they are willing to allow Richards to prove he is as motivated as he says he is to return to being a top player.
4:13PM: Glen Sather told Chris Johnston outside the NHL Board of Governors meeting that a decision on Richards is coming “shortly.”
2:33PM: In the NY Post, Larry Brooks writes that there is a sense that the Rangers would prefer not to use their remaining compliance buyout on Brad Richards right now but want to retain the option in case another team uses their compliance buyout on a player the Ranger want to sign.
If a player becomes a free agent that the Rangers weren’t expecting than they could then use their buyout on Richards to free up the space to sign that player.
The buyout period closes on July 4 at 5PM.
Adam Rotter: If the Rangers are undecided, I think it comes down to Glen Sather and deciding which way he wants to look at the franchise. In the short-term, if Richards can bounce back, like many believe he will, the Rangers will have depth at center, another scorer and all the other intangibles that made Richards attractive in the first place. If Sather views Richards as a crucial piece towards winning the Stanley Cup next season, he may take a risk and keep him without thinking about the long-term impact.
The other view for Sather is that if he keeps Richards and then he gets hurt next year, preventing a buyout, or retires early, it won’t be his problem. By the time the Rangers would be hit with the cap recapture penalties, Sather almost certainly won’t be the GM. Jeff Gorton and/or Jim Schoenfeld, one of which will likely replace Sather, are also involved in these discussions as is James Dolan. It could come down to trying to win now and deal with the consequences later or move away from Richards for the betterment of the long-term goals.
1:54PM: Pierre LeBrun writes at ESPN.com that Brad Richards’ agent has not been told one-way or the other if Richards will be bought out.
1:16PM: At CBC, Elliotte Friedman writes that Brad Richards is the only player on the Rangers that Alain Vigneault has reached out to since being officially announced as head coach.
Vingeault says that he knows Richards a little bit from when he was coaching in PEI, where Richards is from, during the 2004-05 lockout.
Richards would skate with Vigneault’s team and then take some players aside and work with them.
Vigneault said that he wanted to reach out to Richards and see how he was doing after the tough end to the season that he had. Friedman notes that even with Vigneault reaching out, there is still no indication on whether the Rangers will use a compliance buyout on Richards.
Adam Rotter: With the risk of injury, as Minnesota and San Jose have seen with Dany Heatly and Martin Havlat, there is every reason to think that it’s the safer move to cut ties with Richards now and not have to worry about an injury next year or the cap-recapture issues that come into play if he stays with the Rangers and retires early. We could know as early as tomorrow what the Rangers plans are with Richards or it could take a week.
Adam Rotter: It will be tight, if the Rangers keep Richards, but the team doesn’t need to add that much and what they do add will come from trades and not the shallow free agent market. Defensive depth, especially with questions about Marc Staal, needs to be addressed, with Steve Eminger likely returning as the seventh defenseman. Up front, the Rangers will have Mats Zuccarello and Derek Dorsett for a full season and likely Chris Kreider with JT Miller kicking around.
Bob McKenzie said on Insider Trading earlier this week that while no decision has been made, it seems like the Rangers are going to wait a year to potentially buyout Brad Richards.
McKenzie notes that the team wants to see if Alain Vigneault can push the right buttons and have Richards return to form.
In the NY Post, earlier this week, Larry Brooks wrote that Vigneault’s system of defense will likely release Richards from much of the work deep in the defensive zone and allow him more opportunity to get the puck and create in open ice.
Richards has seven more years left on his contract and a cap hit of $6.67 million per season
For more information on the Rangers potentially buying Richards out, CLICK HERE.
The buyout period starts 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends and concludes on July 5.