As surprising as it may have been, the firing of John Tortorella by the New York Rangers isn’t expected to change much in regard to the future of Brad Richards. One of the more disappointing players throughout the entire league, Richards is expected to be a lock as a buyout candidate for the Blueshirts.
If things work out as they could, Richards may not have to look to far for a potential landing spot. In fact, he could even stay in the same state, just make a move over to Long Island. The New York Islanders are in the market for a player like Richards. The two would be a terrific marriage.
Richards was nothing short of awful for the Rangers during the lockout shortened 2013 season. He did finish with 34 points, but had it not been for a torrid final six games of the regular season, he wouldn’t have finished with even 25. His appearance in the postseason was more like the first 40 games of the season that he appeared in.
He wasn’t the only star that was lacking in production, but Richards’ lack of contributions was the most glaring. He was virtually a ghost out there on the ice for the Rangers, finishing the playoffs with just a single goal, a minus-3 rating, and serving as a healthy scratch towards the end of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
But he won’t have a hard time finding a home if he is bought out. Teams won’t be looking to throw big money at him like they did when he was a free agent in the summer of 2011. He’ll have teams lined up to take a shot at him in their top six. One of those teams should be the Islanders.
While Frans Nielsen did fill in admirably, the Isles are likely going to be in the market for a second line center if they can get their hands on one. On a short-term, reasonable contract, Richards could end up being a steal. The Islanders already have several offensive pieces in place. Putting Richards in the middle of that second line assures them of a return to the postseason next year, and perhaps a little more playoff success.
An environment with less pressure would do him well. He wouldn’t be the no. 1 guy in Long Island. He’s still capable of putting up big numbers. Best of all, John Tortorella isn’t behind the bench for the Islanders. If he ends up on the market, expect the Islanders to make at least somewhat of a run at the veteran forward.