He was the biggest free agent on the market two summers ago. His veteran leadership was shown by the clutch goals he scored throughout the playoffs for the New York Rangers. Now after faltering this season Brad Richards might be the victim of a buyout by the Rangers.
During his second year on Broadway, Richards just stunk up the joint. He looked like a lost individual out on the ice, and he was a step slow during the entire season. Richards did not play competitively during the lockout this year, and it showed once the season started. His skating looked slow and his decision making was horrible. He would make terrible blind passes through the neutral zone which would lead to odd man rushes for opponents. The biggest low of the season for Richards came when he was a healthy scratch for the team’s last two playoff games. This decision is one that definitely leads to this question: What is Richards’ future with the Rangers?
Richards is most likely going to be bought out by the Rangers. This decision will add to the list of big signings general manager Glen Sather has made that didn’t work out. You can add Richards to a list that includes Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Wade Redden as awful signings by Sather. This will be the most painful to swallow for the Rangers because they can’t even trade him in order to get something in return.
The Rangers have no choice but to buyout Richards as he has become an expendable piece with the franchise. With Derek Stepan elevating his play to become the team’s number one center and Derick Brassard having a great playoff run, it makes the decision to buyout Richards a necessity. They don’t have to live with him on the roster if he is not needed, and they also need cap room to re-sign restricted free agents on their team like Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, and Stepan.
All signs are pointing towards Richards being a buyout victim. Though it will be hard to do, the Rangers must make the tough decision and release the former Conn Smythe winner.