Going into the off-season, most Rangers fans assumed Brad Richards being bought out was a slam dunk, but Larry Brooks at the New York Post says not so fast…
"Given the change in coaches and the absence of cost-effective available talent down the middle on the free agent market, it is beginning to seem more and more likely the Rangers won’t be asking Brad Richards to clean out his locker during the amnesty buyout period that will follow the Stanley Cup Finals."
…while the Rangers would be taking a huge risk here if Richards gets injured during the season and becomes ineligible for the buyout, I'm still not 100% against keeping him around this year as I think he still has some hockey left in him. Plus, the Rangers are in win now mode and a veteran who's "been there" is very valuable come playoff time. I know Richards' performance this past postseason didn't prove that theory, but I'm going to give him a pass due to the lockout. You guys might not agree with that, but there's no denying that he was woefully unprepared for the beginning of the season and it just spiraled out of control on him.
…having said that, I want him bought out no matter what next summer. Even if he has a renaissance 2013-14 season, his contract is such an albatross it makes absolutely no sense to pay him $6.667 million per year until 2020. It also puts the Rangers in a position to be charged a full cap hit if Richards retires in the final three seasons of his deal. No thanks.