The New York Rangers bought out the remaining six years on the contract of forward Brad Richards, who earlier this month was demoted to the team’s fourth line during the Stanley Cup finals against the Los Angeles Kings.
Richards, 34, spent the past three National Hockey League seasons with the Rangers since signing a nine-year, $60 million contract in 2011. The New York Times said the buyout clears $6.67 million in salary cap space for the Rangers next season.
“Brad’s leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization,” Rangers General Manager Glen Sather said yesterday in a statement released by the team. “We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow.”
Richards, who the Times said will receive $20.67 million in buyout payments over the next 12 years, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Richards had 20 goals and 31 assists in 82 games for the Rangers this past season. He added five goals and seven assists in 25 playoff games as the Rangers reached the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1994 before losing to the Kings in five games.
“I loved being a Ranger and living in New York,” Richards said in a statement released by the team. “With this decision finalized, I can now look forward to starting the next chapter in my career.”