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.