(Photo: Anthony J. Causi/NY Post)
“Tough last few days,” Richards said. “I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at Madison Square Garden in front of great fans. I’ve met many new friends, excellent teammates and staff, and I have memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.”
Richards had 20 goals and 31 assists in 82 games in the regular season, and he was third on the team in points with 51. But he struggled in the playoffs, putting up 5 goals and 7 assists in a 12-point effort over 25 games, and he dropped to the fourth line in games 4 and 5 against the LA Kings. He has played three seasons with the Rangers, coming over from the Dallas Stars in 2011.
“We would like to thank Brad for everything he has done for our team on and off the ice during his time here,” said Rangers President and GM Glen Sather. “This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of how much respect I have for him. Brad’s leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization. We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow. Brad has been a very good player for us and an even better person. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, each NHL team is allowed two compliance buyouts before the start of the 2014-15 season. The first window for compliance buyouts was from June 26-July 4, 2013, and this second window began on June 16, 2014, and will end in two weeks on June 30 at 5pm ET. If a player receives a compliance buyout, he is granted unrestricted free agency and receives two-thirds of his remaining contract over a period of time that is twice the remaining term of the deal. The salary-cap charge to his team, however, is erased.
Richards had six years left on a nine-year, $60 million contract, and his contract held a $6.67 million NHL salary-cap charge for the Rangers. He will receive two-thirds of the remaining money over the next 12 years, approximately $12.6 million. This is the second and final compliance buyout for the Rangers, who used their first buyout on defenseman Wade Redden last January.
“Glen Sather, the management and owner, Mr. [James] Dolan, are all class acts,” said Richards. “I want to thank them for letting me be a part of New York life and the Rangers family. With this decision finalized, I can now look forward to starting the next chapter of my career.”