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: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:20 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:06 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Love how a Flyer fan points out how he doesn't want the coveted free agents while his team just went from respectable to GARBAGE.  Try replacing Richards, Leino and Carter LOL.  Flyers aren't making the playoffs this year...but hey, at least they know who their goalie is!!!!!

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:22 am

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Am glad the Flyers didnt sign him in this wild offseason. Rangers paid way too much for a one way forward, should have went for Ville Leino instead because his offense is getting better and both these players stink coming back on D!!!

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2011 10:17 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

I'm happy with the signing but at the same time, as a Ranger fan I know what we're getting here: an injury-prone, big money forward who may or may not pan out. Sound familiar? Gaborik, Fleury, Bure, I can go on and on here. Sather still needs to be fired for all the other stupid moves he's made over the years (sure, let's ink Redden to a ridiculous contract and let Jagr walk away... sounds like a winner to me). Also, neither the Penguins nor the Rangers benefit from the Mike Rupp situation. The Pens lose a guy who fit their system very well (same goes for Talbot signing with Philly) and the Rangers get a guy who is totally redundant with players like Prust, Fedotenko, Avery, and Boyle in the fold. I'm really liking the defense though. If Staal stops taking bad penalties, and the other top three guys keep doing what they're doing, then there is some serious promise heading into next season. Erixon will be something special once he grows into his role with the Blueshirts as well. The one major piece that the Rangers still lack is a power play quarterback. They should try to go get Kaberle while they still can.

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: July 3, 2011 8:23 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Rangers are the Redskins of the NHL.....
That is a really good analogy.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2011 8:14 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Another terrified Devil or Icelander fan whinning.

Yeah I was doing the same after Jagr, Fleury, oh wait nevermind.... I was happy with these signings too for the Rangers.... shame that Lundy won't see any real help they could have spent money elsewhere.... Rangers are the Redskins of the NHL.....

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2011 8:09 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

really???..avery?..will barely play this year..prust..3rd line winger...core 4 d line?..its sauer, mcdonagh, staal and girardi..seriously..bottom 3 defensive corps in are the fan that thinks they are gonna win every sather and hope richarks has a career ending injury quick..horrible signing

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: July 3, 2011 5:54 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

A lot of money and a lot of years for a 30+ year old one-way center who doesn't win face-offs and has never scored more than 30 goals. He might win the Lady Bing, though! Another off-season, another poor big money signing by the Rangers.

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2011 4:40 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

Another terrified Devil or Icelander fan whinning.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:38 pm

Brad Richards settles on signing with Rangers

One wonders if this is turns into a good signing or if he becomes another Chris Drury, Theo Fleury, or Wade Redden who simply came to collect a big paycheck and never worked out for the Rangers.

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