The New York Rangers could have reset the team’s finances by buying out Brad Richards, creating $6.67 million in annual cap room for seven years. The team could have also escaped a potential compliance penalty that looms in case of Richards’ early retirement.
But general manager Glen Sather opted to stay the course with Richards, betting that a coaching change will revive him. John Tortorella is off to Vancouver to torment the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, and Alain Vigneault will coach the Rangers.
Richards scored just one goal in 10 playoff games. Tortorella scratched him from the lineup for the last two games of the East Conference semi-finals.
This led to much speculation about Richards’ future. Richards would have stirred considerable interest in the free agent marketplace after scoring 11 goals and adding 23 assists in 46 games last season.
“I didn’t feel normal all season,” Richards told reporters shortly after the playoffs. “There are a thousand things it could have been, but I’m not going to dwell on that now.”
With Richards staying, the Rangers are likely to let power forward Ryane Clowe depart via free agency.