Brad Richards admitted to Larry Brooks at the New York Post that he has not yet been informed of the Rangers decision to buy him out or not…
“I would love to be back but I haven’t been told anything. That’s the truth.”
Apparently, Richards was responding to a Twitter rumor that stated he told his caddie during a Sunday round of golf with Mark Messier that he knew he would be back in New York next season.
With the Stanley Cup Finals ending last night, the time frame in which the Rangers can officially buy Richards out begins in less than 48 hours and concludes on July 4th.
…you know journalism as we once knew it is dead when a Rangers beat writer has to question a player based on a Twitter rumor. There were even main stream sports media outlets reporting Richards wasn't going to be bought out based on a tweet from a guy who says he knows the caddie. Way to investigate.
…and I believe Richards. I'm not 100% convinced the Rangers have come to a consensus on what to do with their alternate captain yet. Especially with a new coach just being announced. While AV won't have a huge say in the decision, I'm sure Sather is having discussions with the new head coach about what kind of role Richards could have this season.
…another huge factor in the decision will be who they're going to replace him with. I've seen a couple of you guys throwing around the names of young guys like Lindberg, but penciling in a young European player with exactly zero games played in North America isn't always the smartest decision. And I'm not convinced JT Miller can be counted on for 82 games. I assume both will be called up at some point next season, but I'm not sure they're ready for full time duty.
…possible replacements could be Florida UFA Stephen Weiss, who is coming off a tough year on the scoreboard (1g, 3a, -13 in 17 games) and in the medical room (season ending wrist injury) or Danny Briere who will be bought out by the Flyers. The Rangers should be able to sign either of these guys relatively cheap ($3M per) and short term.
Steve Zipay at Newsday mentions the Rangers could look at other teams' buyout candidates to fill the void left by Richards including Vinny Lecavalier and Shawn Horcoff.
Zipay adds that Calgary could be a landing spot for Richards if he's amnestied because of his ties to GM Jay Feaster who held the same position with the Lightning.