The NY Post’s Larry Brooks reports that Brad Richards is
seeking a minimum of $7 million a year, far in excess of the Rangers’ likely
top offer of five-years, $32.5 million.
Brooks says that Richards isn’t interested in taking less
money to reunite with John Tortorella and hints that money will be the deciding
factor for Richards come July 1.
If true, GM Glen Sather and company should be commended for
deciding upon a maximum offer and not overtaxing the franchise to acquire an
aging star as the team has done so many times in the past.
However, the team’s affinity for Richards is well known and
if it becomes clear in the coming weeks that New York will have to sweeten its offer to
get Richards, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rangers up the ante.
Brooks speculates that fallback options for Richards include
Jason Spezza, Stephen Weiss and Patrick Sharp. All three would be attractive options, but remember that to get any of
them the Blueshirts would have to part with several top prospects and draft picks.
In the past, Sather has been crucified for overspending on
free agents, but now that might actually be the wisest course of action. The need for a No. 1 center is glaring, but
is it worth saving a few million dollars and giving up the picks and prospects
that have gotten New York
to this point in the first place?
Sather would be wise to check in on those three backup plans
and many others to see what the asking price is. But if Ottawa
or Florida or Chicago wants Michael Del Zotto or Chris
Kreider or a first-round pick plus more for one of those guys, it might make
more sense to offer Richards another $1.5 million a year instead.
- Brooks also reports that Brandon Dubinsky is seeking $4.5
million a year for his next contract. This is disheartening news because Dubinsky’s last contract negotiations
with the Blueshirts were so messy. Dubinsky is a terrific player, but he’s not worth close to that kind of
money. $4 million would be pushing
it. It’ll be a long summer watching this
play out, but in the end expect Dubinsky’s new deal to fall far short of his
asking price if he wants to stay in New
- Jaromir Jagr is reportedly close to reaching a decision on
his future. Recent reports have
indicated that Jagr is close to inking a new deal to stay in the KHL, but Spector's
Hockey says he hasn’t ruled out an NHL return and that Montreal
and New York
are keeping an eye on the situation. You’ll hear different things on Jagr from almost everyone you ask, but
this is certainly an intriguing situation. The smart money is still on Jagr returning to the KHL, but if he
suddenly decides he wants to return to North America
things might get very interesting.
- Click here to read Gordie Clark’s comments on acquiring Tim
is clearly ecstatic about the move.
- The Rangers are also quite pleased with the development of 2010
sixth-round pick Jesper Fasth. He’s not
close to coming to North America just yet, but
the team clearly thinks that he could turn into a steal.
- Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti thinks there’s a decent
chance the Rangers will look to trade down from No. 15 in the first round. The Blueshirts will likely try to pick up a
couple draft picks between now and June 24th, but if they’re unable
to do so satisfactorily, trading down at the draft could be an option. In all likelihood, New York will have its eyes set on a couple
forwards at No. 15 and if it looks like they’ll still be on the board later and
the Blueshirts can pick up an extra second-round pick, they’d be very
interested in doing so. Trading down at
the draft is always a smart option assuming you can still get your man, but
with the Rangers lacking so many picks, they’re a logical candidate to give
strong consideration to moving down this year.