BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Richards is the second-highest paid player on the Rangers, with a $12 million salary and a $6.67 million cap hit that runs through the 2019-20 season.
With the Rangers facing elimination Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, Brad Richards will be a spectator. Richards skated with the scratches on Thursday morning and afterwards confirmed that he will not be playing in Game 4.
The former star center had already been relegated to the Rangers’ fourth line, and his minutes steadily dropped in the first three games of this series against the Bruins. It bottomed out Tuesday in Game 3, when Richards skated just 8:10. Considering Tortorella trusted Richards to skate 22:14 and 20:41 in the Rangers’ first two postseason games this year, the drop in ice time was very noticeable.
The Rangers were rumored to be considering buying out Richards’ contract in the upcoming offseason, and his being scratched in an elimination game is likely to further spread that idea.
Richards scored 11 goals with 23 assists during the regular season, ranking fourth and second, respectively, on the Rangers in those categories. In 10 postseason games, he has just one goal and zero assists.
Tortorella and Richards have a long history together, dating back to their time in Tampa Bay. The coach led the team to winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, when Richards led the NHL with 26 postseason points in 23 games. That included two goals and an assist when the Lightning faced elimination in Game 6 on the road.