As expected, the New York Rangers have decided to use a compliance buyout on forward Brad Richards. As first reported by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and confirmed by Nick Kypreos, Richards is owed 12.6M through the 2025-26 NHL season. The Rangers will also pay Richards $8 million in signing bonuses over the next three seasons, as bonuses cannot be bought out. Overall, Richards will receive $53 million of his original $60 million deal; all for three seasons of play (including one lockout shortened season).
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) June 20, 2014
The Richards contract was too risky for the Rangers to hold on to, due to the cap recapture clause added to the CBA after the most recent NHL lockout. With players like Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, and Martin St. Louis on the roster, the Rangers needed to free up the massive amount of cap space the Richards contract was taking up. Lundqvist, as well as defenseman Dan Girardi were also signed to lucrative extensions within the last year.
If the Rangers hoped to remain competitive and keep their current roster together, the Richards contact had to go.
In his two and a half seasons played with the Rangers, Richards finished with 56 G and 95 A (151 points). Or for those who like to weigh things by a dollar amount, the Rangers will have paid $946,428.57 per goal once Richards’ buyout payments are complete. Nearly $1 million per goal…a fact that even the Rangers would like to forget apparently, as Richards’ 2013-14 stats no longer appear on the team’s official stat page.
The Richards contract was a mistake by the Rangers, and as is often the case with compliance buyouts, New York has decided to tear the band-aid off and admit they are better off without him. While the payout is an exorbitant amount, the Rangers now have freed up the space to continue to be a yearly playoff contender.