NHL Free Agency and Trade Rumors: The Latest on Brad Richards

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NHL Free Agency and Trade Rumors: The Latest on Brad Richards
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The New York Post’s Larry Brooks has reported that sources have indicated that superstar free-agent center Brad Richards is seeking a mega contract of at least $7 million per season and up to 7-8 years.

Many Rangers fans were banking on the relationship between Brad Richards and John Tortorella, which would have allowed the Rangers to negotiate a deal at a reduced rate.The first reaction of many Blueshirt fans is of simple fear and chaos.

Doing the simple math makes this a $49-56 million deal. Brad Richards is 31 years old, and at the end of this deal would be 38 years old and severely on the decline.

Brad Richards has been pitched and proclaimed as the proverbial savior of the New York Rangers and the one chosen to pick up where Jaromir Jagr left off when he ditched the Rangers for the KHL.

This seems like a brutal blow to the Rangers, but it is not. Anyone who thought this was going to be a simple transaction has now been brought up to speed and into reality.

Glen Sather knew the price of Richards when he avoided trading for him on deadline day. He has known the price of him all along.

Sather has been trying to do what he has worked on these past few seasons, and he's going to put his quality RFA's over Richards.

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After having a lengthy conversation with Jess Rubenstein of The Prospect Park, he had this to say on the Brad Richards situation. Below text is abridged from the twitter exchange of with Jess Rubenstein.

"Yes they need a number one center but tossing money at a UFA when you are not even a serious playoff contender is a waste of assets.

If you are going for a Stanley Cup then yes, you add Richards not when when you can barely make the playoffs. By the time the kids (Kreider,Thomas,Dubinsky,Callahan,Stepan,) have matured then Richards is 34-35 and then what?" 

With that said, as much as it is attractive and how much I would love to see Brad Richards in Rangers blue, at a price of $56 million over eight years, I simply would let him pass.

Larry Brooks also went on to say that Glen Sather will look into some plan B's. These include Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers, Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators.

Out of the three players, Stephen Weiss is the best option. With a salary of $3.1 million per year and two years left on his contract, Weiss is about to hit his prime. Even though reports say Weiss would love to stay in Florida, I doubt that Weiss wouldn't leap at the opportunity to play on Broadway.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Weiss has been typically a 50 point man, but that total could increase if paired with a winger like Marian Gaborik. It would take a good offer to acquire Weiss, and Jess Rubenstein thinks that could involve Dan Girardi.

"I think the NYR will move Girardi because of his trade value is high now but the way he plays will be burnt out in 2 to 3 years. I think Girardi is a good piece to dangle as part of a package for a center or scorer"

What makes most of this difficult is Brandon Dubinsky, one of the New York Rangers, top RFA's is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal worth $4.5 million per season. This should be taken with a grain of salt because it is expected that Dubinsky would ask for a raise after the season he had.

His case is hurt because Buffalo re-signed Drew Stafford at a rate of $4 million per season. It should also be noted that Marc Staal sought a similar deal but settled for a tiered deal that increases over time.

Another possibly scenario would be trying to pursue Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche. He is a good option but would cost the Rangers some key players and draft picks. This could include Artem Anisimov, Dan Girardi, Evgeni Grachev, and countless others.

What is clear is this. Glen Sather has a lot of work to do before the start of next season. While adding a Brad Richards would be very nice, if it breaks the bank and corrupts the foundation the Rangers have built, it isn't really worth it.

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