Hockey Business: Brad Richards’ Buyout and What Will the NYR Do Next

Brad Richards has been bought out by the NYR (NHL.com)

Brad Richards has been bought out by the NYR (NHL.com)

We all knew it was coming, and the Rangers already made the business decision before Alec Martinez ended their season. Still, it was a gut wrenching call that needed to be made. 

Here is Glen Sather’s statement:

“We would like to thank Brad for everything he has done for our team on and off the ice during his time here. This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of how much respect I have for him. Brad’s leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization. We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow. Brad has been a very good player for us and an even better person. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

When the Rangers traded Ryan Callahan, it was Brad Richards who assumed the leadership mantle, all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. However, there was no denying his declining performance since the days he signed. Three straight seasons in which his points per game average declined.

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

Today, Brad Richards also released a statement:

“Tough last few days … I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at MSG in front of great fans. I’ve met many new friends, excellent teammates and staff and I have memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. Glen Sather, the management and owner, Mr. Dolan, are all class acts. I want to thank them for letting me be a part of New York life and the Rangers family. With this decision finalized, I can now look forward to starting the next chapter in my career.”

The sincerity in his statement can’t be denied. He was a proud player who loved being a Ranger. If not for the new CBA, and the serious recapture penalties if Richards was forced or chose to retire early, he might still be a Blueshirt.

Now it’s time for the Rangers to take the 23 million in cap space they have and make some very serious decisions. They include:

  • Keeping RFA’s Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider
  • See if they can re-sign Brian Boyle and/or Dominic Moore
  • Determine if Anton Stralman can be budgeted in
  • Obtain a #1 center

That is a lot of to do in one offseason and unfortunately, highly unlikely to complete in full.

The Rangers MUST re-sign Zucc, Brass and CK20. Whatever the cost, those three must be done. Brian Boyle is my preference but it is more likely they will be able to keep D. Moore.

When it comes to the blue line, Sather needs to think ahead and decide if he wants to keep Marc Staal. My belief is yes, and that means some cap space needs to be there for his extension and raise, which will be upwards of 5 million.

Which doesn’t leave much room for Stralman or possibly a number one center, unless acquired via trade. NY will look to Conor Allen as a likely replacement for Stralman on the third defensive pairing, with Kevin Klein moving up the depth chart.

As for a number 1 center, it’s possible Derek Stepan will remain in the top spot and either JT Miller or Oscar Lindbergh may get a look on the 3rd or 4th lines.

Brad Richards buyout was obvious, what the Rangers do next is far from it.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore