Is Martin St. Louis a Hall of Famer?



Richards/Rangers Union May Be A Foregone Conclusion, But At What Price?
Plus: No Drury buyout today and Tyler Kennedy could be an attractive UFA

Love it or hate it, it’s sounding more and more likely that Brad Richards will become the newest big-ticket talent to join the New York Rangers on Friday when the unrestricted free agency period begins.

In today’s NY Post Larry Brooks writes, “If I heard it once, I heard it a dozen times during this Entry Draft weekend in Minnesota: ‘[Brad] Richards told [X] he wants to come to New York.’” Brooks adds “And this, too: ‘Slats [general manager Glen Sather] is going to blow his brains out to sign Richards.’”

Dave Lozo of is equally confident that the Blueshirts are poised to sign Richards, “With July 1 just days away, it seems there are only three things in life that are guaranteed -- death, taxes and Brad Richards signing a lucrative free-agent contract with the New York Rangers."

It certainly seems like a good bet that the Rangers will ink Richards on Friday, but plenty can change between now and then.  Two months ago it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Richards would end up a Ranger, but in recent weeks rumors swirled that A) the Rangers weren’t willing to pay Richards top dollar B) Richards wasn’t as interested in New York as originally thought C) Richards didn’t want to play in a big media market and D) Richards was highly interested in re-joining Tampa Bay.

But rumors are not reality and Brooks’ comments show that the Rangers are more than willing to spend big money on Richards and that the center remains high on New York.  Making the Richards-Rangers marriage even more likely is that one of Richards’ other likely suitors, the Los Angeles Kings, are no longer in the running for him after trading for Mike Richards.

The remaining competition is believed to be Toronto and maybe Tampa Bay, but the Lightning must first re-sign Steven Stamkos and may not have nearly enough money to entice Richards.  Darkhorses could emerge, but the Rangers’ path to Richards appears clear at the current junction.

The key question, of course, is that if the Rangers are Richards’ primary suitor and logical future home, should they really be willing to offer him the sun, the moon and the stars?

Richards deserves a big multi-year deal to be sure, but he doesn’t have much leverage right now.  He’s unlikely to have much interest in the rebuilding Maple Leafs at this stage of his career and that leaves just one logical interested club that we know of, New York.

That’s not to say that GM Glen Sather will be able to get away with low-balling Richards, but the eight-year, $50+ million deal Richards supposedly wants shouldn’t be in consideration for New York.

The problem is that Sather doesn’t have a strong history of demonstrating restraint at the free agent market and has been known to outbid opponents, even non-existent opponents, for players like Wade Redden by a significant margin.

Given the common assumption that Richards wants the Rangers and the Rangers want Richards, Brooks’ suggestion that the Sather offer Richards a five-year, $32.5 million deal is a sensible starting point.

Richards may pout that the deal is three years and $20 million shy of his dream contract, but with his options limited, he may just bite.

It will be up to Sather to decide whether that offer is negotiable, but if the market for No. 91 is as currently surmised, that should be more than enough to get a deal done.

- Yesterday Brooks reported that captain Chris Drury had changed his mind and was ready to accept a contract buyout from the Blueshirts.  New York didn’t place Drury on unconditional waivers today – the requisite precursor to a buyout – and now has one last chance to do so tomorrow to set the buyout process in motion in time for the close of the buyout period on Thursday.  If Drury is indeed ready to move on, it’s puzzling why New York didn’t act swiftly today.  We’ll know for sure tomorrow whether Drury’s contract will be sliced in half next year, but there’s also a chance this could carry on to the second buyout period later this summer.

- To the surprise of the hockey community, the Pittsburgh Penguins chose not to give 24-year-old left wing Tyler Kennedy a qualifying offer, meaning Kennedy will become an unrestricted free agent come Friday.  Pittsburgh doesn’t have a ton of cap space but could probably have found a way to sign Kennedy, unless the left wing’s contract demands were exorbitant.  Kennedy tallied career highs of 21 goals and 24 assists this year for the injury-riddled Penguins, but his totals may have been inflated thanks to Kennedy’s increased ice-time more so than his actual talent.  Kennedy is probably to cash in now as a first- or second-liner, when in actuality he’s probably a solid fit on the third line of most NHL teams.  If his contract demands are reasonable, the left wing-desperate Rangers will likely be interested.  



Looking Ahead to 2011-2012:

Rangers Land Tim Erixon: What Does It Mean?

More Erixon Trade Fallout >

What The Rangers Can Learn From The Bruins > 

Rangers Will Face Stiff Competition In The East In 2011-2012 >

What If Christian Thomas Makes The Rangers Next Year?


Free Agency:

Plan A: Sign Brad Richards >

Plan B: Trade For A Top Center >

Plan C: Stick With The Status Quo At Center >

Plan D: Add An Offensive Winger >

Plan E: Sign An Impact Veteran UFA Defenseman >


2011 Draft:

Mid-Round Steals + Addition Of Erixon Make 2011 NHL Draft A Win For NY >

J.T. Miller profile >

Steven Fogarty profile >

Michael St. Croix profile >

Shane McColgan profile >

Samuel Noreau profile >

Peter Ceresnak profile >

Reaction to the J.T. Miller pick >

Evgeny Grachev traded >

Full list of BB draft profiles >


2010-2011 Season Review:

Breaking Down The Defense >

Breaking Down The Goalies >

Breaking Down The Offense >

Breaking Down The Prospects >

How Three Free Agent Signings In 2007 Have Shaped The Eastern Conference >

Spotlight On Glen Sather >

Spotlight On John Tortorella >


Player Reviews:

Spotlight On Mats Zuccarello >

Spotlight On Brian Boyle >

Spotlight On Matt Gilroy >

Spotlight On Ruslan Fedotenko >

Spotlight On Brandon Prust >

Spotlight On Bryan McCabe >

Spotlight On Alex Frolov >

Spotlight On Michael Del Zotto >

Spotlight On Martin Biron >

Spotlight On Brandon Dubinsky >

Spotlight On Marc Staal >

Spotlight On Steve Eminger >

Spotlight On Henrik Lundqvist >

Spotlight On Wojtek Wolski >

Spotlight On Sean Avery >

Spotlight On Dan Girardi >

Spotlight On Erik Christensen >

Spotlight On Ryan McDonagh >

Spotlight On Vinny Prospal >

Spotlight On Derek Stepan >

Spotlight On Marian Gaborik >

Spotlight On Chris Drury >

Spotlight On Artem Anisimov >

Spotlight On Mike Sauer >

Spotlight On Ryan Callahan >


Posted by Kevin Baumer | June 27, 2011 at 06:45 pm

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