Blog Entry

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Posted on: July 2, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: July 2, 2011 6:50 pm

The biggest free agent is heading to the biggest market.

The front-runners all along, the New York Rangers won the race to sign former Dallas Stars center Brad Richards. Darren Dreger of TSN reports the deal is for nine years and $60 million, an average hit of $6.67 million.

"Very happy to become a New York Ranger today!!!" Richards wrote on his Twitter account. "Playing at MSG will be amazing and looking forward to working with a great young team"

Richards spent the opening day of free agency entertaining team presentations in his agent's office in Mississauga, Ontario. There he hosted the Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs (sans Brian Burke), L.A. Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames. It was expected Richards would make his decision late Friday but instead elected to sleep on it before deciding on the Rangers.

"You can find a player like this as a free agent or find a player like this in the top five [of the draft] and it takes a long time to develop," general manager Glen Sather said. "We needed somebody like this to take us to the next step. I think it's a great opportunity for us. I know he left a lot of money on the table by accepting the offer."

And what about that concussion he suffered near the end of the season? Richards says it's nothing to worry about.

"I have been training for six weeks, way ahead of any other training schedule I have been on because I was healthy after the season," Richards said. "My body felt great, my head felt great, so I got at it pretty quick."

For months it had been assumed the Rangers would be the ultimate winner of the Richards sweepstakes. The Blueshirts needed a top-line center, had the money to spend and Richards had said he wanted to play in a big market where hockey matters. Seems to be a natural fit. But it didn't stay that easy.

The Leafs, Kings and Lightning were not surprise suitors at all. And if any other teams were to be in the mix, it was assumed it would the Sabres in Buffalo and maybe even the Flyers in Philly. Instead, the underdog came in the form of the Flames, who gave Richards a lot to think about.

Dreger reported Saturday morning that the Flames actually offered more money than the Rangers, giving an offer at the same length but for $65 million total. In the end, Richards took less money to head to New York and reunite with his former coach in Tampa, John Tortorella.

The Kings also came to the table with an aggressive offer, trying to give L.A. perhaps the best collection of centers in the NHL with Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar already on the roster. Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Kings, was part of a group that included general manager Dean Lombardi and several others who went to Canada to meet with Richards. Not even video messages from Wayne Gretzky and Kobe Bryant won over Richards.

"We have a lot of respect for Brad and Pat Morris and the way they handled this," Leiweke said. "We understood his desire to play out East and did the best we could to overcome that. We wish him the best. Dean [Lombardi] and his team did a great job. We are focused on other options and are certain this team is going to be very good next year."

His contract isn't as high as I anticipated it might go. Considering some of the contracts that were flying around yesterday in the free-agent frenzy, it was reasonable to assume he would see a number around the $70 million-$75 million range. Instead, the Rangers get him at an average cap hit of $6.67 million -- still a lot, but a reasonable price for a player that had 77 points in 72 games last season. The Rangers could have done worse.

Now, the Rangers still have around $15 million under the salary cap ceiling, according to, which should be enough room to sign restricted free agents Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle.

Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:16 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Well said - the Rangers are young and have what every team needs - high-end talent (Richards, Gaborik), a great goalie (the King) and a excellent group of role players (some of threse guys are more than just role players and will continue to devlop ) in Callahan, Dubinsky, Avery, Prust, Ansimov, etc. Also have a great 4 core D - Sauer. McDonagh, Girardi and Staal.  Look for the Rangers to be contenders this year and for the foreseeable future.

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:44 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Maybe they should have signed a 40 yr old washed up Jagr instead...LOL...

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2011 10:19 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

The Buffalo Sabres came out of this the big winners.   They are going to be a great team.  Miller now has a great blue line in front of him.  Look out!!  We are going to be right there.   The Flyers are going backwards.   Dumb moves.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2011 9:35 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Another solid signing by the Rangers... wow this should help them out. While the Penguins are the class of the division with Philly going younger, Devils and Flyers will be better then the Rangers this year (unless the Devils hire MaClean again...)

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2011 8:10 am

VERY heavy front end loaded contract

Take a REAL close look at the contrct Richards signed.At first glance,it appears as though Richards left a few bucks on the table.First of all,you have to remember.A farm boy from P.E.I Canada is NOT a ghetto thug.He will survive nicely on the sixty million,on top of the millions he`s already made.His pay cheques weren`t all spent before he got them, on drugs,hookers,mansions,hand guns,bling,etc,etc.His down home P.E.I Canadain family roots have looked after that.
 Secondly,most of his money is even lock out guaranteed,front end loaded,and even two years of that contract is PLENTY for someone who isn`t a greedy spoiled thug.He and his immediate family will live quite happily for ever more on two years of that contract.The rest is just bonus.At least to decent people.I forget.Which greedy thug was it that said,when deserting his team for more millions,"i have a family to support" ? I forget,was that Randy Moss,Keyshawn Johnson,or some other cry baby ? You`re dealing with an EXACT opposite human being here. A decent and grateful person.The NFL coaches that must just DREAM about having star players on their team with this young man`s characterThere`s few,but far to few.
As for going to the Toronto Maple Laffs ? Not a chance.WAAAAAAAY to smart to go watch his carreer die a slow,painful,premature death where carreers go to die.Toronto

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2011 4:48 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

This Richards is not that good am so glad he landed in division. Glad the Rangers overpaid for a good O forward and perhaps one of the leagues worst defensive forward if not the worst!!! He sucks on D as a forward is always a minus player is why he wasnt brought back...

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:36 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

I guess he went for the $$ instead of a contender.

Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:10 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

9 year 60 million isnt much. lebron james signed a 5 year 120 million. tom brady signed a 3 year 72 million. cc sabitha 6 year 160 million.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2011 10:17 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Never scored 30 goals in a season, a minus -72 for his career..WTF??   A horrible signing.

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2011 9:34 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

I can only assume this comment was written recently which makes it all the more difficult for me to understand why there are so many mistakes in it. Let me start at the beginning.

10. Tortorella has a winning record as Rangers coach.
9. While certainly a bad pick Jessiman actually did make his NHL debut this year with Florida. Also, Renney has since said he was the biggest proponent of drafting Jessiman.
8. One of "the other minor league prospects," as you put it, was Ryan McDonagh who played a top four role with the Rangers this year and played very well. The Gomez singing was a terrible overpayment but Sather turned it into gold with that trade. You couldn't trade Gomez straight up for McDonagh today even if their salaries were the same. Plus, Higgins was dealt to Calgary in a deal which returned fan-favorite Brandon Prust. 
7. I agree for the most part.
6. The Rozsival signing was regrettable too but wasn't far out of line with what other free agents were getting. And actually, he cleared some of Rozsival's cap hit off the books by dealing him to Phoenix. That minimized the mistake some.
5. Kasparaitis was a mistake as well but that was pre-lockout and really has little bearing on today's team. That's like saying it was a mistake for Washington to trade for Jaromir Jagr. Who cares now?
4. It did suck losing Graves but that team was going nowhere and they tried to deal an asset for future value. It didn't work out but even Wayne Gretzky was traded twice. It happens; it's called hockey.
3. Mistake.
2. If I recall correctly the draft pick used to select defenseman Michael Sauer, who also had a good rookie season, was acquired from Toronto in the Leetch deal.
1. This was a horrible signing.

So out of 10 points, you either omitted important details or forgot them in several of them. Not saying in the least that Slats has been perfect but he's been much better the last three years than he was the first six or seven. I am happy with today's signing and with the direction of our team.  

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