The New York Rangers have bought out the final six years of Brad Richards’ contract, according to a report from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. The team also confirmed the reports not long afterwards.
Richards was a valuable piece in the Rangers’ Stanley Cup run this season, helping the team with five goals and 12 points in 25 playoff games, but his nine-year, $60 million and its $6.67 million annual cap hit were too much for the Rangers to want to be responsible for. Yeah, Richards is still talented player, but not that talented in the Rangers’ eyes.
Richards will now become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any of the other 29 NHL teams starting on July 1, but is not allowed to re-sign with the Rangers.
As LeBrun noted in his report, this is the last summer for NHL teams to take advantage of the compliance buyouts, which don’t count against the salary cap, so for the Rangers, this is also a move that will free up cap space moving forward as they will try to stay Stanley Cup contenders for years to come.
The Rangers will have a lot more work to do this summer in retooling for another playoff run, with a number of number of restricted free-agents left to sign. Luckily, though, they were able to get the big-money deals for Henrik Lundqvist and Dan Girardi out of the way.
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