Does Hiring Vigneault Mean a Reprieve for Brad Richards?
Being that Sather went out of his way to say that benching Richards in the playoffs had his blessing I would think not. But people now seem to be talking about Richards in the present tense as opposed to the past tense. Did the Ranger players tell Glen Sather that Torts ruined Richards (as well as others) and they want Richards to stay? Will the Rangers take a chance on him for another year knowing that they can buy him out next year? Or does money and cap space make that too risky?
He was just benched in the playoffs. During the season, he was completely (and almost assuredly permanently) surpassed by Derek Stepan as the #1 center.
Later in the year, Brassard looked like the better option as the #2 center. Since Brassard isn't going anywhere, where does that leave Richards? He can't play a checking role and his defense has declined. He doesn't fit as a third/4th line center.
He's coming off a four year downswing in production and just had the worst year of his career, in terms of PPG average.
And he's 33 years old and not likely to get better.
Now, looking at all these things in a vacuum, you could still say, well, he has a history of being clutch in the playoffs, he could provide veteran leadership in a reduced role if he can re-invent himself, etc.
And if you could get him on a short-term, cheap deal, you could take that risk.
But his contract makes that slim likelihood way too risky to gamble on. He is signed for another 7 years at 6.6 million per year.
6.6 million per year could cover the Hags/McD/Stepan raises. Or it could be spent on another Rick Nash type elite player. Or a myriad of other things.
What it should never be spent on is a 34 year old center who ends up netting 40 points in a reduced role who isn't even a good fit because he can't play D at a high level on a lower line.
Richards can't remain. He has to go. You can't gamble on him getting his act together like you could with an aging vet in say, the NFL, because you get no other chance to part with Richards. You use amnesty on him now before he gets injured and then you get stuck with him for another 7 years.
Richards could have an 80 point season this year, and he would still need to be bought out next summer due to the cap recapture formula.
Lament the ridiculousness of that provision all you want, but that is the hand the NHL has dealt. There's no reason not to just bite the bullet now and move on--especially because nothing Richards showed this past year suggests that he has much left in the tank.
When Vigneault was hired in Vancouver, he made a big deal out of giving playing time and roles to players who had earned it, not just based on name value or contracts or where they were drafted or stuff like that. I'm sure he'll give Richards a fair shot, but if he's not getting it done Vigneault will not be shy about dropping him down the lineup.
I don't think they can keep him. The risk is too high that he gets injured and stays on the books forever. If they could buy him out no matter what at the end of the season, it would be fine to overspend on him and roll the dice. As the rules stand, though, he needs to be bought out and hopefully the Rangers can get a deal on one of the other buyouts around the league. This will give them much of the same (or more) upside w/o the risk.
I can see Richards getting amnestied. Technically we can do it in 2014. There is a possiblity they give him another year to redeem himself and not rush the younger players into roles they're not ready for.
It's not about Richards the player and whether or not he'll rebound next year or even the next three years.
The new rules mean that you cannot keep that contract. He HAS to be amnestied.
On top of that a team who is trying to win in the near future doesn't have the luxury of hoping Richards rebounds while tying up as much cap as he does. Buy him out, let him go back to Dallas or TB if he wants and use that money to add some depth.
Call it a gut feeling if you want but I'd bet money Brad Richards is a Ranger next season.
The main thing is, many people say Torts leaving means Richards leaving but I think this coaching change was in part for him, not against him. His relationship with Torts wasn't the same at the end.
I don't know about that. Torts gave him all the chances in the world to turn things around. The guy had premium ice time throughout the season and only had a handful of decent games. It sure didn't sound to me like it was Torts' decision to make him a scratch in the playoffs, either.
I dunno. Maybe some other things happened behind the scenes. I guess we'll never know unless some of the guys in the room start talking.
I sure wouldn't risk putting Richards on the ice next year. Add in the suspicions that perhaps he came back too early from a concussion in Dallas - if those rumors are true - then you simply can't mortgage the cap future of the team over the next decade for one player.
there are a number of ways around the cap recapture.
B.R. can simply "refuse" to report to camp, and the Rangers suspend him rather than him retire.
or LTIR if hes hurt.
maybe if this wasnt the worst free agent class in my lifetime would i be cool with that.
but it is....
give him 1 more year, unless we have plans for some trades or something and need the space right now.
LTIR won't help us when he retires 3 years before his contract is up.
Some of you guys just don't get it. This decision has nothing to do with the coach. This is 100% on Sather and the rest of the front office.
If not for the change to the amnesty rules, Redden would have spent this season on his couch, because the Rangers weren't going to risk him getting hurt and them not being able to buy him out. Why does anyone believe that it will be any different with Richards?
Richards will get bought out this summer. Period. End o' story.
Vigneault's philosophy regarding defense is similar to Tortorella's. If Richards won't accept a dump and chase style and reform his defensive game, he'll find himself in AV's doghouse quite quickly. He is less aggressive and less antagonistic with the media than Torts was; if he doesn't feel he has the right group of players to succeed offensively, he'll resort to maintaining a passive, defensive system which may infuriate fans at times. With the team's current mix of players, expect a defensive style.
He is also prone to making irrational coaching decisions and playing favorites with various role players. When he was with Vancouver, there was a lot left to be desired from him as a coach. He doesn't use timeouts, juggles lines endlessly when things aren't working for him, and will play his star goaltender as often as he can. He also tends to approach the media about underachieving players before meeting with the players themselves, and has dismissed their injuries publicly in the past, frustrating such players as Ryan Kesler and Cody Hodgson. Hopefully he'll bring the Rangers some success, but I personally feel he held the Canucks back during his time with that organization.
If Richards remains with the Rangers, I don't think he'll find much future success.
Last edited by JetsAlternate: 06-16-2013 at 02:40 AM.
It's not that Richards can't redeem himself as a player--I have my doubts though--it's that his contract can put our team in a hole for a long time. The Rangers shouldn't even be fooling around with this situation. It is the single most important they have left to deal with this summer and at least for me it's ranks equally with the head coaching decisions.