NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Brad Richards is here to stay.
The Rangers announced on Friday that they will not use a compliance buyout on the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and he will be back with the team for the 2013-2014 campaign.
The decision comes as a bit of a surprise, as the team reportedly had internal discussions about whether to let Richards go after the veteran had a subpar 2013 season.
“I have no clue,” Richards told the New York Post when asked about potentially being bought out. “I’m just waiting.”
It all came to a head in the second round of the playoffs, when ex-coach John Tortorella named Richards a healthy scratch for the final two games of the series against the Bruins.
“Brad Richards is a hell of a hockey player,” Tortorella told reporters after he decided to sit the high-profile player. “He has had struggles here. It continues. Me putting him in that role does not help him. So I’d rather have him out and identify how we’re going to run our fourth line.”
With Alain Vigneault now leading New York, there’s a chance for Richards to rebound and start fresh under a new coach.
The 33-year-old, who won a Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Lightning, signed a nine-year, $58.5 million contract with the Blueshirts in 2011. The 12-year veteran still has seven years remaining on that deal, and the contract carries a cap hit of $6.67 million per year.
The center scored just 11 goals and dished out 23 assists (34 points) in 46 games for the Rangers this past season. In 10 playoff games, he scored just once.
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