The New York Rangers today signed the grand prize amongst UFAs who are available this summer. The Rangers have been the favorite for quite some time but as of yesterday several teams were still in the mix. The deal is for 9 years/$58.5m which is a cap hit of $6.5m per season.
Only time will tell how good a deal this actually is. Contract details have not yet been released but I'd imagine that the contract is front loaded with Richards probably getting close to $9m the first year of the deal and gradually decreasing until the final years. Because Richards is 31 years old, if he were to retire after 6 years, the Rangers would not be on the books for the cap hit the remaining years. It's a very long contract but for a player of Richards caliber the cap hit is fairly reasonable.
Although I am a little cautious based on many UFA signings by the Rangers in the past, I am excited to see what a duo of Richards and Gaborik will do together. It's about time the Rangers got someone else to help put the puck in the net!