Before the 2011-12 season, the New York Rangers locked up center Brad Richards with a nine-year, $60 million contract. But after just three seasons, the Rangers announced Friday that they have bought out the remainder of Richard’s contract.
New York has five restricted and six unrestricted free agents on its roster, so the move isn’t too surprising. Richards will still be paid over the next 12 years, earning $12.67 million and an additional $8 million from signing bonuses.
The buyout is a costly one for the Rangers, but it does help, as none of the payment will count toward the salary cap. It also will free up $6.67 million in cap space.
The Rangers took a risk signing the aging Richards to such a lengthy deal, but initially, the move did pay off. In his first year with the Blueshirts, Richards led the team in goals with 25. After tallying 34 points in last year’s lockout-shortened season, Richards was almost a non-factor in the postseason, angering both fans and then-head coach John Tortorella. During the second round of the playoffs against the Boston Bruins, Tortorella made Richards a healthy scratch for two games.
This season, the forward rebounded from his dreadful postseason performance and scored 20 goals during the regular season. He also added five goals in 25 games during the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Richards is now an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any team beginning July 1.
Photo via Twitter/@LSkarzie