On July 2nd, 2011 Glen Sather inked Dallas Stars center Brad Richards to an incredible nine year deal for $60 million dollars. The contract was front loaded making him the highest paid player in the NHL in the first year of the deal at $12 million. Matter of fact, the majority of it would be paid within the first six years.
Unfortunately, Richards would be bought out just three seasons later. Everyone saw it coming, and the New York Rangers made the business decision before Alec Martinez ended their season in the 2014 Final. Still, it was a gut wrenching call that needed to be made. Especially, after the high hopes just 10 years ago today.
Brad Richards brief Rangers career
Richards came here to reunite with John Tortorella. “He’s the type of guy that says ‘If you want to come play for me that’s good, if you don’t, don’t bother talking to me,”’ Richards remarked after signing his deal. “We have a good enough relationship that I know what he’s doing there, I know what he expects.”
The two routinely bumped heads, but when Torts was fired after the 2012-13 season it was a bit unexpected. Maybe Richards low point production was a big reason why. The Rangers brought him in for offense that they never really got.
However, he was a leader on the team. When the Rangers traded Ryan Callahan in 2013-14, it was Brad Richards who assumed the mantle as “unofficial captain” all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Still, there was no denying his declining performance since the day he signed. Three straight seasons in which his points per game average dropped.
2011/12: 82 GAMES, 66 POINTS, .80 PTS PER GAME AVG
2013/14: 82 GAMES, 51 POINTS, .62 PTS PER GAME AVG
2012/13: 46 GAMES, 34 POINTS, .74 PTS PER GAME AVG
What was said on Buyout Day
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.”
Brad Richards released his own statement later that day:
“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. As for the buyout, the Blueshirts must still pay him $1,055,556 until the year 2025-26 per CapFriendly. Richards returned to the team as a special advisor in 2017 and continues in that role under Chris Drury.
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