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Sather needs to buyout Richards or risk being a mouse forever

June 25, 2013, by
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Glen Sather doesn’t speak to the press much anymore. Other than his recent quasi compliments/critiques of Tortorella, or his professed love for Sean Avery, I can’t really think of anything he has said in recent seasons that was quite remarkable.

Pre-lockout Sather (the original lockout), had a quite different communication plan. Whether it was referring to Malakhov as a “superstar” or predicting Tom Poti would be “one of the top players in this league,” it seemed every acquisition he made back then was generally followed by some sort of over the top statement.

Perhaps my favorite Sather quote of all time was the one he dropped after acquiring Eric Lindros where he said, “if you don’t make this deal, you’re a mouse forever.” If there was ever any sort of insight into his thought process, that line pretty much gave you all you ever needed to know.

Which brings us to today’s exercise…

For too many days now I’ve read on many a Rangers blog that somehow Alain Vigneault is going to wave a magic wand over this roster and make this team a favorite to win the Cup. Every Rangers blogger out there (other than us) describes AV as a coach who will make us more “offensive” with his “offensive systems”. Yet no one has explained in any detail exactly how his systems actually work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m 100% behind AV now. As I said when Torts got fired, I support the crest above all else. However, I’m also realistic. This team needs major upgrades to play AV’s style of puck possession offense. We can’t just expect a new coach to be the common denominator here. We lack an elite puck moving defensemen/powerplay quarterback. We lack right-handed point shots that can get through traffic. We lack depth. We also lack the <2010 version of Brad Richards. Coaching can’t change these things. These are roster issues and Sather needs to address them.

Speaking of Brad Richards, how does Sather not buy him out tomorrow when the first of two compliance windows opens?

I get the Rangers technically don’t need to buy him out for cap space. There’s ample cap space ($13-14m) to sign all of our RFA and keep Brad Richards. However, that just gives us the same team as last year. I don’t want to go into next season with the same exact team and the same exact roster issues we have now faced for several years running. Buying out Richards gives us $6M in flexibility. You know how much depth or front end talent we can add with $6M?

Hell, I’d buyout Richards even if he had a decent year. This is your last get out of jail free card, your last mulligan. Use it. If he gets injured next year we are stuck with his cap hit until 2020. How in the world do we build a team that rivals the Blackhawks with that cap hit on our roster? Even if you trust that he doesn’t get injured, do you still believe we can get $6M worth of offense out of him three years from now? Five years from now?

All of this brings me back to Sather’s comments. Buying out Richie after year 2 certainly is a ballsy move. It isn’t what a nice guy would do and it certainly won’t help win over the hearts and minds of any fans. But hearts are for families, balls are for business and mice don’t live very long. Don’t be a mouse Glen.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Ryan D says:

    Same team as last year would include, Gabby, Rupp, and whoever else I can’t think of. A full season with the new guys Brass, Zucc, Dorsette, Moore gives a chance for chemistry. Young talent won’t play scared and is given a chance to grow. I very much think Richards will bounce back and not only make the Rangers a better team, but make the players around him better this he was supposed to.

  2. paulronty says:

    Can’t agree with you at all. Two things really messed Brad Richards up–not playing while the lockout was on & that vicious hit by Kaleta which I think took a lot out of him. How often do we complain about players not looking good only to find out they have been injured. People were complaining about Cally in the playoffs but he was playing with a bad shoulder. A healthy Richards makes us a better team.

  3. Dave says:

    The problem is there isn’t much out there for $6.6m that can make this team better.

    I have a post coming up about how he’s due for a bounce back year. Solid timing on this one Suit.

    • Walt says:

      I disagree totally. Dave Clarkson for one, can add scoring, grit, and younger than the relic that is Richrads.

      • The Suit says:

        Not all of that $6.6M needs to spent on one player. We can cut that up for depth pieces.

        • Walt says:


          Clarkson can’t command $6.6 mil? If that is the asking price, say CHOW my friend!!

          • The Suit says:

            My point wasnt so much about Clarkson as it was about spending any savings from a Richie buyout on one player. I mean we certainly could do that, but I also think you can add depth pieces with those savings.

            IMO Clarkson can probably get $5M. Not sure how much more people will be willing to go with him.

            • Walt says:

              At $5 mil per year, he can walk. Something below that number, say $4-$4.5, would work, still have enough to get any additional help, and be rid of a major problem, BR!

              On a personal basis BR isn’t a bad person, I kind of like the man, but he is too costly, too slow, and too expensive, as well as too soft. I want a guys who has an all around game, tough to play against, can score, and is younger than BR, Clarkson fits the bill.

              You and I are about 180 degrees apart on this one, but that’s what opinions are for, to express, and hope you don’t sound foolish in the process.

              • The Suit says:

                Brad Richards is good dude and to be honest I feel bad for him for being in this situation, but the crest comes first.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      A Richards buyout has to happen this offseason. Has to. No amount of Richards bounce back (which I believe he will since he cannot be worse than this past season) is worth the risk of injury and being stuck with that cap hit for 7 more years. It’s a risk vs. reward exercise and the risk far outweighs the reward.

      • TxRanger says:

        Can you imagine having his cap hit for seven years?! That would be one of those eras people will talk about in the future as a total disaster. They’d say “The Rangers could’ve won the Cup, but then they had to pay Brad Richards for seven years, totally f-ed them.”

        I mean, to end up worse than the Redden contract is a major, major failure.

  4. joe719 says:

    Like him or hate him, I think there is enough evidence of Glen Sather’s decision-making, on the record, that the idea of calling him a mouse is just not appropriate. Misguided at times, stupid at times, yes; a mouse, no. I agree with Dave; there just isn’t anything out there that could substantially improve this team next year; unless we’re talking about blowing up the whole team. Anyway, didn’t AV mention that he believes this team already has the personnel to have 2 good offensive lines, a defensive line, and a good momentum changing line. If you take Richards out of the mix, who exactly would he be talking about as a center for 1 of those top lines? I think Richards stays this year, see where we are at the end of the Season, and cut him loose next July.

  5. Alex says:

    I like the idea of buying out richards to add some front end talent. But where is that front end talent coming from? Its a very thin free agent market this year.

  6. evan says:

    Buying out Richards is just good business. The penalties from the new CBA are punitive if Richards retires early. Does anyone really believe Richards has 7 years left in him after his slow start to 2011-2012 season and what happened this year? I believe Richards could rebound, but not to a level that is worth a cap hit of this level for 7 more years. Also, what if he gets injured next year?

    And as I stated in my post about the blackhawks before, Chicago will have to buy out Hossa and he had an amazing year. Hossa turns 35 in january and has 8 years left at 5.3 million per left on his deal. There is a zero percent chance he finishes that deal and Chicago will have to buy him out simply to avoid the CBA penalties, even though he was very good this year.

    I would buyout richards and then go after briere or hossa. Hossa will probably command more years and money than briere, but briere could be a great 2 or 3 line center for a 2 year deal and is also adept on the PP.

  7. Sally says:

    This is a young man’s game and we should be finding the 20 yr old somethings and not adding 32+ somethings to the roster.

    • evan says:

      A 2 year deal is low risk and briere has skill. Obviously depends on how much money he asks, but given the fact he is coming off a lucrative buyout, he may be willing to take less for a chance at the cup and to F his old team over for buying him out.

      I think a guy like briere also can alleviate the pressure on our young guys to make the jump and potentially give them another year of experience in the minors. However, if lindberg or miller and these guys show they can make the jump to regular starters, then you obviously do not make this deal. I just think it could be a good short term fit.

      • TxRanger says:

        I like your perspective. I’m not too familiar with what Danny would bring to us, but even if it is just one of those signings that is partly to gain insight on the internal workings of a rival organization, that’s some benefit.

        I mean, did the Eagles really sign Felix Jones because he’s a good player?

  8. SalMerc says:

    Anyway to re-negotiate his contract and not cut him loose? I think he will bounce back without Torts.

    • Chris A says:

      You can’t renegotiate like in the NFL but i am pretty sure you can re-sign Richards as a UFA once he is bought out.

      • Walt says:

        You can re-sign Richards a year later, not this year!

        It’s too risky to keep the guy around. Pay him off, give him a chance to sign with Dallas, he has an interest in Dallas, and let him play there for 2 years, before he starts to use the wheel chair to get around.

  9. Mr. Snrub says:

    “But hearts are for families, balls are for business and mice don’t live very long. Don’t be a mouse Glen.”


  10. Walt says:

    Cut Richards loose, and thank him for his service, and wish him the best.

    We have 2 young, hungry centers in Step, and Brass. We have the SEL’s MVP coming in Lindberg, another center, with Miller, and Boyle. We are deep enough at the position to let Brad go.

    Bring in Clarkson, Hendricks from the Caps, and try to trade for a puck moving d-man, we would be set. These are minor moves, that can be made with the additionl cap space from the buy out. Clean house of Pyatt, Powe, and maybe Asham.

    Don’t re-sign Gilroy, or Hamerlik, and see what the system can do for us. We have McIlrath in the wings, and maybe MDZ can get us some quality in return. This isn’t a drastic senerio, easy fixes, and a very good chance at the cup.

  11. Mikeyyy says:

    I expect the coach to be the common denominator. Otherwise torts would stillbe coach. Lets see what he can do before you try to lower expectations. Cup or bust.

    The team always needs tweaking. But we have all the necessary tools to succeed.

    If av fails or falters he will be gone.

  12. Randy says:

    Buy out Brad, sign Bozak for 3 years/9 mil. That gives us 3 very solid young centers with Lindberg and Miller competing for the spots, and Boyle filling the 4C role.

    I don’t think moving MDZ is a smart move. He has been extremely inconsistent and frustrating, but we have all seen him on his A game, and we have to remember he is only 23 years old! You can’t give up on a kid that young who has so much potential. When he is confident, he can be one of the best passers in the league on the breakout, and if he starts hitting the damn net, he could easily become a consistent 50 pt d-man, and he can become the puck moving PP QB that we need so desperately.

  13. Vic says:

    Why not wait to buy him out in June of 2014 if you’re so inclined?
    Don’t think there is high end talent available via free agency this year.

    One more year gives you a better idea of what you have and what the market looks like.

    • Jackson says:

      If he suffers an injury that extends through next off season, then we wouldn’t be able to buy him out. Thus, we’d be stuck. That’s a risk I personally wouldn’t take.

    • Dave says:

      This is my line of thinking. The risk is there, but teams in their window to win need to take risks.

      • Randy says:

        You take big risks to get big rewards. Richards is a big risk, and he has not done anything to prove that he is the piece that will bring the big reward. From a pure business perspective, keeping him makes no sense, and we will be wasting our money for the inevitable buyout next season after the Rangers fail to bring home the cup once again. And if he gets hurt, then we have dug ourselves in a gigantic hole with no way out.

        Pessimistic outlook right there, but it all changes if BR is bought out and we use the money for some players that will actually have a big impact.

  14. Ray says:

    I agree that Richards has to be the second compliance buyout,but am not convinced of the timing. Yes, there is an injury risk, but one must take risks to win. The question is whether he has more value next year than other resources that could be acquired with the same money. Not convinced either way.

  15. Zen says:

    Amen Suit… Amen!

  16. howiehockey says:

    If he doesn’t buy him out or trade him (if such were possible) he’s not just a mouse, but an anal aperture.

  17. Forever 1994 says:

    First of all the blogger is not quite correct in his assessment of a PP quarterback. Chicago won the cup without one and Boston alleged had (2) in Charra & Seidenberg. We need to get more point shots for our PP d-men. Under Sullivan’s PP we’d pass it around until we get a shot. We stood around to much! If Pittsburgh is willing to trade Letang, Sather should try a (3) way with the Canes sending Staal to the Canes w/Pitt getting the Canes pick from 2012 with us getting Letang. We would upgrade our D and hopefully add McIlrath would be nice.

  18. The Suit says:

    Duncan Keith is not a PP quarterback? Since when? He’s led their defense in pp points for the past 4 seasons.

  19. Erixon20 says:

    The Richards contract is a terrible contract, plain and simple. Does anyone think he can provide $6+mil of offense/skill/etc in even the next 2 years, not to mention the eternity remaining on his deal? He has to be bought out, and some lucky team – that NYR will be competing against for the Cup – will get a still useful player with something to prove for a relative bargain. Another horrible Sather UFA signing.

  20. Frank Cerbone says:

    When Sather announced the Richards signing many fans thought Sather was nuts. The contract was insane. Many fans said Richards was INSTANTLY A CANDIDATE FOR BUYOUT. Sather said no and that the contract was manageable. Just like Sather had said in the past with Samuelson, Redden, & Holik

    Sather hasn’t even a clue about how to manage a budget.

  21. supermaz says:

    Why do people keep saying we need a puck moving d-man? Take the shackles off of Staal and let him loose, immense untapped offense there.
    Also I have seen Mcdonagh carry the puck quite well, and Stralman is no slouch offensively.
    Let these guys get involved in the offense, they are as good as anyone out there.

  22. Bitter Zen says:

    Sather take your Mulligan and buy out Richards. Pick up Brière as X Flyers except for Lindros seem to excel. And what is all this Corsi Puck possesion banter? I read Richards was in Rangers top 3. Every time I saw him with the puck he was in the process of turning it over or icing. Was I watching the same season? It is a shame great guy, but that contract! Glenn what were you thinking?