Brad Richards C CHI 2 Days

Brad Richards doesn't have a strong preference when it comes to who he wants to play alongside in Chicago.

Richards might end up playing alongside Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, but that's not set in stone. "I've only watched [Kane], and he's exciting to watch," Richards said. "All of that is played out when you get on the ice. It's so hard to talk about it now because it might or might not work. . . . There are so many different players you can play with when you play here. It's a great opportunity, no matter who [it is]. If that's the case, I'd be thrilled. If not, there are other options that are very enticing, too." If Richards plays with Kane and Saad, then that would allow Jonathan Toews to play with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. That would make for two pretty intimidating lines.

Brad Richards C CHI 21 Days

Brad Richards is excited to be a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards probably could have gotten significantly more money elsewhere, but he agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract so that he could fit within Chicago's tight budget. "To get an opportunity to play with these type of wingers, the four in their top six, I don't know where you're finding that type of talent in the league. I feel I can take advantage of that and it's up to me to do that," Richards said. "What they've accomplished, it's not just about points put up; they seem to find a way to win all the time and they're always relevant." He'll play alongside the likes of Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa as Chicago's second-line center.

Brad Richards C CHI 22 Days

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Brad Richards to a one-year, $2 million contract.

That's incredibly cheap for Richards, but Chicago was already against the ceiling, so they're still going to have to make a move to accommodate this signing. All the same, this is a great addition for the Blackhawks as Richards firmly addresses their need for a second-line center. With him joining Chicago's offensive core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks are in a great position going into the 2014-15 campaign.

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

Randy Miller of the Newark Star-Ledger does not think that Brad Richards would fit in with the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils need scoring and some leadership and while Richards could provide both, he is not a fit according to Miller because he is already 34, he is not a number one center anymore, he is not a clutch player anymore and he will be too expensive. Richards had 20 goals and 51 points with the Rangers in 2013-14 and added five goals and 12 points in the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

Brad Richards would consider a return to Tampa Bay.

Richards officially hits the market July 1, after having his contract bought out by the Rangers. Pat Morris, his agent, said Richards would "certainly respond positively to interest from Tampa." Of course, this says nothing about whether the Lightning even have interest in him. Richards can still be an asset in the right situation, and his production now won't automatically need to be judged based on the huge contract he was under with the Rangers.

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

Rangers GM Glen Sather said the decision to buy out the remainder of Brad Richards' contract was "extremely difficult."

Sather said he has a great deal of respect for Richards. "Brad's leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization," he said in a statement. "We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow. Brad has been a very good player for us and an even better person. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

Brad Richards enjoyed his three seasons with the New York Rangers.

Richards had the last six years of his contract bought out by the Rangers on Friday and he is now an unrestricted free agent. "Tough last few days," Richards said in a statement. "I loved being a Ranger and living in New York and playing at MSG in front of great fans. Glen Sather, the management, and the owner, Mr. [James] Dolan, are all class acts. I want to thank them for letting me be a part of New York life and the Rangers family. With this decision finalized, I can now look forward to starting the next chapter of my career." The 34-year-old will now look elsewhere and he should have no trouble finding an interested team as he is still a top-six forward.

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

New York Rangers GM Glen Sather said the decision to buy out Brad Richards was "extremely difficult" because of the respect Sather has for him.

Sather went on to praise Richards' leadership and guidance. The Rangers aren't buying out Richards' contract because he didn't have value. They're doing it because he's 34 years old and came with a $6,666,667 annual cap hit through 2019-20. They had the option to rid themselves of that cap hit entirely through a compliance buyout, but that option wouldn't have been available to them beyond this summer, so they had to act now.

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

Brad Richards has been bought out by the New York Rangers, according to multiple sources.

That's not in the least bit surprising. Richards isn't being bought out because he's a bad player, he's being bought out because the Rangers had a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to get out of the negative part of the heavily front-loaded, long-term contract they signed Richards too. By using a compliance buyout on him, which is something they wouldn't have been allowed to do past this summer, they can entirely wipe his $6,666,667 annual cap hit off the books. He would have otherwise cost the Rangers though much through 2019-20, which would have been a significant problem for the team given that Richards is already 34 years old. In effect, the Rangers got the short-term benefits of frontloading his contract without having to suffer for it when that cap hit persisted through his late-30s.

Brad Richards C CHI 1 Month

Agent Pat Morris, who represents Brad Richards, doesn't think his client will be bought out.

"Gut feeling, it wouldn't surprise me if he's kept," Morris said. "Glen was pretty positive about Brad's role this season, especially after [former Rangers captain Ryan] Callahan left." If Richards does get bought out, it will have very little to do with how he played this season. This is the Rangers' last chance to use a compliance buyout on Richards, which will rid them of his cap hit going forward. That's a big deal given that Richards is 34 years old and comes with a $6,666,667 annual cap hit through 2019-20.