FullTilt Flashback: Brad Richards Buyout

Brad Richards has played his last game on Broadway (photo: newsday)

Brad Richards has played his last game on Broadway (photo: newsday)

The NY Rangers will exercise their last compliance buyout on Brad Richards this week (expected by Tuesday, the latest). The reasons for the buyout remains almost the same as last year when we wrote to buy him out. Matter of fact, Brad Richards numbers declined steeply:

2011/12: 82 GAMES, 66 POINTS, .80 PTS PER GAME AVG

2012/13: 46 GAMES, 34 POINTS, .74 PTS PER GAME AVG

2013/14: 82 GAMES, 51 POINTS, .62 PTS PER GAME AVG

We will have more on this story later today. For now, here is a flashback to last year.

Original Publish Date: 6/29/2013

Yesterday, the NY Rangers decided to NOT exercise their final compliance buyout on Brad Richards. His contract now hovers like an albatross over the franchise. The main reason for not doing so, appears to be the belief that Brad will flourish under new coach Alain Vigneault. Fair enough, but where is the statistical proof that it will happen?

Since his last great season in Dallas in 2010 at the age of 30, his numbers have been on a steady decline. That year he had a 1.16 points per game average. Subsequently, the center dipped to 1.06 in 2011, .80 in 2012 to .73 this season! Can we really expect at the age of 34, he will return to 2010 numbers? FULL STATS

The logical answer is no. Some experts and fans are blaming John Tortorella and his defensive style. How quickly they forget they were screaming for Richards to be taken off the ice and in some cases scratched! He was an absolute horror show on the powerplay this season, yet Torts get putting him out there. Finally, we all got our wish in the playoffs and it was the coach’s fault??? Yes fans, blame the arrow instead of the archer.

Rick Carpiniello of the Journal News agrees with me on this subject too. In his article called THE RICHARDS SAGA, he writes:

The point is that this is a huge gamble because if Richards is injured at buyout time ’14, he cannot be bought out. That means the remaining six years of his $60 million contract stay on the books, with the hefty cap recapture clause penalties (as much as $5.667 million per year for the final three years, for example)  to count even more than his $6.67M annual hit if he retires before the end of the contract. That contract was designed to encourage him to retire, since it pays only $1M per for each of the last three years.

Well just color me giddy! So this season every New York Rangers fan will have a knot in their stomach when he takes the ice. Our hearts will stop everytime he goes down or winces in pain! I don’t know about you, but let’s get the fun started!

Former NYR GM Neil Smith also chimed in on the topic via the NY Daily News. He said:

“The only hope (for the Rangers) to give themselves any flexibility to change their roster is by buying (Richards) out, so that’s what makes me think that they would,” Smith, now an analyst for NHL Network and Rogers Sportsnet in Canada, said on the phone. “I don’t know whether they should or not. That’s up to them.”

I ask you, what good business man would handcuff themselves and leave no room for improvement? It’s rhetorical because the answer is NO ONE or GLEN SATHER. If you still don’t understand how dire the situation is please check the Rangers page on Cap Geek here. After they sign their own RFA’s, it would leave them with approximately 2 million in cap space.

Sure, Slats could play real hardball with Stepan and McDonagh. That would be another smart move to disenfranchise the future for a small chance of success now. Even so, maybe that would leave us 4 million in space. What would we do with it? Surely you give an extra 2 to Lundqvist to extend. What about Clowe? Say goodbye and while you’re at it, any UFA we could use to fix our depth problem on defense and our inability to win faceoffs.

So, the mastermind that brought you such great hits as Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Wade Redden was handed a GOLD GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card and put it in his pocket. Sather has chosen to go with the same flawed lineup he had last year under a new head coach. Sure, we can hope and pray that he has some sly draft day deal in the works but if he doesn’t? Well, we are spending 6.7 million in cap space on an aging center who has fallen to third on the depth chart behind Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard. Incredibly risky and extremely stupid.