Richards big question mark on Rangers break-up day

The Rangers will have the offseason to determine whether they want to amnesty Brad Richards. Credit: Getty Images
The Rangers will have the offseason to determine whether they want to amnesty Brad Richards.
Credit: Getty Images

Brad Richards was the primary target for the Rangers in free agency two years ago. The center may be targeted by the organization this summer for an altogether different reason.

“I signed for longer than a year-and-a-half,” Richards said when he met with reporters at the Rangers’ training facility yesterday for the final time in the 2013 season. “But I do understand what’s going on.”

Richards could be a candidate for an amnesty buyout this summer due to his play in the truncated 2013 season, the remaining term on his contract and the new collective bargaining agreement’s salary cap benefit recapture system.

The 33-year-old was a healthy scratch for Games 4 and 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bruins. He finished the playoffs with one goal and a minus-3 rating in 10 playoff games, and had been dropped to a fourth line with Chris Kreider and Arron Asham midway through the Washington series.

“As I said when I took him out of the lineup, I was not coaching the proper way, playing him on the fourth line,” head coach John Tortorella said. “It just doesn’t work. But I also could not put him in front of other people because [at the time] other people were playing better.”

Richards’s lack of offensive production mirrored that of his team in the playoffs. The Rangers scored only 26 goals in 12 playoff games this spring. By comparison, Eastern Conference finalists Pittsburgh and Boston have scored 47 goals and 38 goals, respectively, in the first two rounds.

“[We] didn’t create enough offense [in the playoffs],” captain Ryan Callahan said. “We didn’t do that enough.”

Even with the addition of Rick Nash, the Rangers finished the regular season with 126 goals in 48 games, an average of 2.62 goals per game. In 46 regular season games, Richards totaled 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points, and a plus-8 rating.

“It just wasn’t a good season,” Richards said.

And it may prove costly.

The new CBA has a clause which asserts a team will be on the hook for the remainder of a player’s contract, even if the player retires early. It is a mechanism to counteract the so-called back-diving contracts borne out of the CBA following the 2004-05 lockout. Those contracts paid players the majority of their salaries in the first few years.

Signed to a nine-year, $60 million free agent deal in July 2011, Richards has seven years and $36 million left on his deal, and is a $6.67 million cap hit through the 2019-20 season. He is scheduled to make $9 million next season.

The Rangers have $13.5 million in available cap room right now. By amnestying Richards, the Rangers would have $20.1 million in cap room, which would allow the organization to sign restricted free agents Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello to deals this summer, while freeing up money for unrestricted free agents Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi next year.

“I signed here to be a Ranger for a lot longer than a year-and-a-half,” Richards said. “So I hope to do that.”

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…