Report: Rangers Reconstruction Begins with Brad Richards Buyout
Even before the Rangers’ hearts were smashed by the L.A. Kings in double overtime, Glen Sather and his staff had already decided the fate of center Brad Richards. It was widely believed that the aging center man with declining skills would have been bought out last year. However, a lack of options to replace him with left the Rangers little choice but to hold on to him for one more year.
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
In hindsight, the move was right. Derek Stepan didn’t sign until the season got underway and Vincent Lecavalier was looking for ridiculous money and got it from Philadelphia. Had Richards not been here, NY surely would have had their challenges. His leadership played a huge role this year and was certainly very valuable to players like Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider to name a few.
But numbers don’t lie and neither do our eyes. In the Stanley Cup Finals he looked completely gassed and overwhelmed. It was so bad that he was reduced to 4th line duties and only broke 10 minutes a game because of power play time. Unfortunately, PP time still did not yield results as NY was abysmal on the man-advantage.
RESHAPING THE RANGERS
The Rangers players will clear out their lockers today and take some time off. After they say goodbye and start their summer vacation, Slats and company will get to work on retooling the roster to win the Cup.
FTR has been told that Richards’ compliance buyout will take place later today or Tuesday. NY actually has until June 30th to make the buyout official. FTR has also learned that if NY can’t land Paul Stastny for a reasonable price come Free Agent Frenzy on July 1st, they are open to trading JT Miller, Danny Kristo and/or Dylan McIlrath in a package for a #1 center.
Sather has already reached out to the Senators about Jason Spezza, but it is believed they have no interest in trading him within conference for now. Another target the Rangers have interest in and the feeling is mutual would be Joe Thornton of the SJ Sharks. That is if they are really serious about moving him. Jumbo Joe has a no move clause and would need to waive it for anything to happen. His relationship with Rick Nash has many thinking he would.
The Rangers gave up two 1st round picks by reaching the Eastern Conference Final in the Marty St. Louis deal, so it does handcuff them a bit. Still, with enough young talent and prospects, it shouldn’t take much to figure something out.
Well Rangers fans, the season is over and the fun is beginning again quickly. Get ready for a wild ride and make sure to bookmark us for all your Ranger news and opinion.
For fun, here is a look at the Rangers roster with Stastny as our number 1 center. You will see raises for Zuccarello, Boyle and D. Moore. Notice no Stralman as a sacrifice for the raises and signing. All said and done, not much Cap Space left.