Richards Back to Tampa?

Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times feels that if the Rangers buyout Brad Richard this offseason, there is a good chance he could re-unite with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jones adds that three years, $3 million per year might be enough to sign Richards when he becomes a UFA if the Rangers decide to use their final amnesty on him.

Besides Richards' obvious link to the Lightning, Jones feels the former Conn Smyth winner could help a number of ways…

"Richards moving over to wing and lining up next to his old buddy Vinny Lecavalier. Richards quarterbacking a power play that could use a quarterback. Richards offering leadership in the locker room, on the bench and on the ice. Richards making the organization proud in the community."

…Jones obviously hasn't watched much tape of the Rangers because Richards couldn't quarterback the power play out of a paper bag this season.

…having said that, a reunion between the two sides does make sense. Especially at that price. If the Rangers do dump Richards some team is going to get a good player on the cheap. And no, the Rangers are not allowed to re-sign him at a discount price after amnestying him.

As far as the Rangers actually pulling the trigger on a buyout, Larry Brooks at the New York Post offers even more incentive for the Blueshirts to do it by introducing us to the cap-recapture penalty…

"The Blueshirts would be hit with an annual cap penalty of either $5.664 million or $5.666 million per if Richards were to retire with between one and three years remaining on his deal."

Richards will be 38 years old when the cap-recapture penalty kicks in.

…after witnessing the decline in Richards' game this season, you have to be concerned that he'll be looking to hang 'em up around that time in his career, so holding on to him could be even more of a negative than I initially anticipated. Absolutely no reason to give Richards a chance to bounce back next season and risk him becoming exempt from the amnesty buyout if he's injured. Also, even if he does bounce back, do you still want him clogging up the Rangers cap space till 2020 or chance him retiring in the final three years of his contract?

…thank you for your service Brad, we'll always remember your Game 5 goal against the Capitals last season and everything you did in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but it's time for you to go.

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