Brad Richards spent most of the day yesterday fielding phone calls and elaborate video montages of why he should play in each of roughly 50 cities. Today, according to multiple reports, the former Dallas Stars center has finally decided to take his talents to the Big Apple. The contract he signed is a nine year contract worth $58.5 million. The deal takes him until he turns, avoiding the 'Kovalchuk'-rule cap restrictions that come with contracts that take a player past 40 years of age.
UPDATE: Contract details from Gord Miller at TSN:
Richards year by year: $12m, $12m, $9m, $8.5m, $8.5m, $7m, $1m, $1m, $1m. $10m signing bonus+$2m the salary first year, $8m signing bonus + $4m salary the second
Clearly, the Rangers' front office decided that Brad Richards was indeed worth the risk. The immediate benefits to this Rangers team are obvious. Richards has scored at least 20 goals in 9 of his 10 NHL seasons. He has posted at least 25 power play points in 8 of his 10 seasons. He will fit an immediate need both in the #1 center slot, and quarterbacking the power play. He has a Stanley Cup ring and a Conn Smythe trophy to his credit, from his days with current Rangers' coach John Tortorella.
The contract does not come without its share of weight, however. The Rangers, unfair or not, have a reputation for signing big contracts to aging players who do not live up to their contracts. Richards will be [unrealistically] expected to put up 80-90 points every season. He'll be expected to help take the team past the first round of the playoffs every year. Only time will tell if Brad Richards can overcome those obstacles, but clearly by signing here, he must feel he can.
The Rangers (finally) have their #1 center. Exclaim your joy (or frustration) here.