The deciding factor in not using a compliance buyout on Brad Richards, Glen Sather said today, was because he believes the veteran center is “a really good player. I think he had an off-year, and we think he’ll be much better next year.”
Sather, the Rangers president and general manager, said the seven-year term did not have an impact “right now” on the decision to keep his annual cap charge of $6.67 million on the books for another year. The Rangers can use their second and final compliance buyout, which erases cap charges, next summer.
Keeping Richards, 33, who struggled through his worst season and was benched for the final two playoff games against the Bruins by former coach John Tortorella, eliminates a large chunk of space that the Rangers could have used in acquiring free agents starting on Friday.
But Sather said there might be some options on the market, without going into detail, but also noted: “We have lots of good young kids coming,” Sather said. “I don’t want to shut the door on them.”
Sather, speaking during a prospects scrimmage in Westchester, said that despite the hires of Ulf Samuelsson and Scott Arniel as assistants to head coach Alain Vigneault, “there are still some irons in the fire”, and could add to the staff.
He also said that negotiations between Henrik Lundqvist and his agent, Don Meehan, on a contract extension for the goaltender, who was voted to the NHL’s second All-Star team today, were continuing.