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Buyout window officially open; Brad Richards watch begins

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As of yesterday at 11pm, the compliance buyout window is officially open. We do know that Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov will be bought out by the Flyers. We know that the Canadiens will be buying out Tomas Kaberle. But right now, that’s all we know. There are rumors that Mike Komisarek will be bought out by Toronto, but that’s just a rumor for now. (Update: Vinny Lecavalier will be bought out by Tampa Bay.)

A few things to keep in mind: We will not be hearing news of Player X being bought out immediately. To be bought out, a player must be placed on waivers, clear waivers 24 hours later, and then the paper work must be submitted. If we really want to see who is being bought out, then follow the waiver wire. Briere, Bryzgalov, and Kaberle will be the first players placed on waivers. If one of them actually gets claimed, then there’s no need to worry about a buyout (the other team will just take the contract).

As for the Rangers, all eyes turn to Brad Richards. Suit discussed on Tuesday how Slats needs to buyout Richards, and escape that contract without risk of injury. It is a solid line of thinking, and you can’t really fault the Rangers for following this path. Keeping Richards is a huge risk, and if he gets hurt at the end of next season, then the Rangers can’t use their compliance buyout on him at all.

However, Richards is poised for a bounce back season. He was still solid in maintaining puck possession, and was still on pace for 60 points. For $6.6 million, 60 points is overpayment, but not extreme overpayment. That’s what you get with UFAs though: Overpayment based on past performance. It happens in all of the major sports. The thought process here is that AV will use Richards primarily in the offensive zone, much like he did with the Sedins in Vancouver, and his less aggressive system will cover the fact that Richards appeared to lose a step.

Teams within their window to win take risks. Richards is just another one of those risks in which they need to make a decision. Is it worth it for the Rangers to see what AV can get out of Richards, knowing an injury can really screw them going forward? That’s the $30 million* question.

*-Richards is due $46 million over the next 7 seasons. Two-thirds of that is $30 million.

7 Responses to “Buyout window officially open; Brad Richards watch begins”

  1. Walt says:

    As you wrote Dave, Richards has indeed lost a step, is somewhat small, plays soft, and is a risk that we would live with for the next seven seasons should he get hurt!

    Knowing all that, who in their right mind would chance keeping him on the roster? BR is a decent guy, I wish him all the best in the world, but not wearing Ranger Blue. We can do an awful lot with the cap savings signing our kids, and other areas that need attention.

    By the way, should we keep him, and two, three years from now BR decides to retire, we are stuck with a cap hit for the balance of the contract term. That in and of itself is reason to cut the cord, and say AMF, Adios my friend!

  2. Tom B says:

    What are your thoughts on buying out Richards and trying to sign Lecavalier?

    • Walt says:

      For a reasonable amount, and two years, not a bad idea. Vinny plays a lot harder than BR, and is plenty gifted with soft hands, big body, and when needed, does indeed drop the gloves. Not that you want him to do so, but it’s nice to know that he will defend himself. He also would be a very good role model for the top two centers Step, and Brass. They can continue to develope without all the undue pressure!

      • Spozo says:

        I agree. The big question is what type of money Lecavier will command. Redden and Gomez both got single year contracts under $1million after their buyouts but Lecavier is a far better player than either.

        I keep saying that the Rangers won’t win a cup with Step, Brassard, and Boyle as their top 3 centers. Richards, if not bought out is essentially on a 1 year contract for 6+. But there is that injury risk to worry about. You can get Vinny for a lot cheaper but the length of contract will be the issue. How much do you commit to the guy?

        • Rockdog says:

          Good points. I think the major issue is how long — I would go 2 – 3 years but no longer. I guess the question remains how much he would cost.

  3. ranger17 says:

    If BR retires why would we be stuck with the contract he is not on a 35 year old contract

  4. Eric says:

    The Richards situation is very interesting one. This is a guy who didn’t play during the lockout and played in a system that asks him to do things that do not fit his game. I know he was a torts guy but he was older and not the same player as he was in Tampa.

    Will he flourish under AV? My guess he will be a lot better next year. Richards has pride and wants a tone for horrible season. The question isn’t next year but the next 5 plus years. I think for the length of the contract you have to buy him out and with the cap going down. If the cap was the same as this year, this would be a lot less an issue.