Friday, June 24, 2011

Richards Rumors: Seeking Eight-Year Deal; Rangers Prepared To Go All-In

As the NHL gets closer to free agency beginning there are more and more reports on what Brad Richards apparently wants in his next contract and sometimes conflicting reports on whether the New York Rangers will give it to him.  Today there is a combination of reporting on his demands and a take on just how willing the Rangers are to meet them.  According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Richards is seeking an eight-year contract worth from $50-$55 million.
Multiple sources have told The Post that the 31-year-old, 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy winner is seeking an eight-year contract in the range of $50M to $55M, a number that could escalate in a triangular bidding war between revenue powerhouses in Manhattan, Philadelphia and Toronto.
At those kind of figures the Rangers should run away from the discussions as fast as possible.  More from Brooks…
It's unknown just how far the Rangers, who have a disastrous track record relating to long-term, pricey free-agent signings, will extend themselves to get Richards. It is known, however, that Tortorella is aggressively pushing for the addition of the only potential difference-maker on the open market, one with whom he has a marvelous relationship.
While Brooks is reporting that it is unknown how far the Rangers will go to get Richards, Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Rangers are all in with Richards and have no plan B.
Sources have told the Daily News that the Rangers plan to go all-out to get their man, who had 28 goals and 49 assists for the Dallas Stars in the final season of a five-year, $39 million contract. Nobody seems to know what Plan B is for the Rangers, and one source indicated that the reason is that they are so confident they will land Richards, they don't need a fall-back option.
There is little to no way to read that reporting with taking it as the Rangers are willing to meet his demands and will overpay him.  There has been a lot of talk about how Richards does or does not compare to the signings of Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.  Richards is a superior offensive player to either one of those and should not have the precipitous drop they had because he is a more qualified elite player at this stage.  Where he will compare however is 3-4 years down the line when his play does tail off, even if not as far, and he is still being paid for his elite past for potentially another four seasons.