NHL notes: New York Rangers buy out Brad Richards

Brad Richards was bought out by the New York Rangers on Friday, according to reports. (QMI Agency)

Brad Richards was bought out by the New York Rangers on Friday, according to reports. (QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:57 PM ET

Another big fish will be available to NHL teams when free agency opens July 1.

Brad Richards was bought out by the New York Rangers on Friday, according to multiple reports.

The 34-year-old had six years left on a nine-year, $58.5 million contract signed in 2011. He scored 20 goals and 31 assists this past season while helping New York reach the Stanley Cup final.

Richards will receive about $20 million from the Rangers over the next 12 years.

The cap recapture penalty as outlined in the latest CBA was likely a motivating factor in the buyout. Richards’ base salary was set to drop to $1 million in 2017-18. Had he retired before the beginning of that season, New York would be on the hook for about $6 million in cap space for the next three years.

NEW CANUCKS BOSS?

It appears the Vancouver Canucks have found their new coach.

The team is expected to name Willie Desjardins to the position next week, according to TSN.

It was previously reported both Vancouver and Pittsburgh were in hot pursuit of Desjardins. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, however, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he didn’t get his man.

“The guy I had is going to go in a different direction,” he said.

Canucks president Trevor Linden told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 on Friday he’s looking for a coach “who can recapture our people who were so off last year.”

Desjardins guided the Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championship this season. He has coached the AHL club for two seasons, following a three-year period as an assistant coach in Dallas.

A native of Climax, Sask., Desjardins also won a WHL title in 2004 with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

RICHARDS KEEPS CROWN

Scratch off Mike Richards as a potential buyout candidate.

Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi confirmed to the L.A. Times on Friday the 29-year-old centre will remain a member of the team.

Richards, who is six years into a 12-year, $69-million deal, played parts of last season on the fourth line.

“The biggest thing in the meeting with Michael -- the important thing -- is that he realized he’s going to have to make some adjustments in his off-season training,” Lombardi said.

“He’s 29. In his prime. So it’s not as though the dropoff should be related to age. But players need to realize when you start getting 27, 28 -- you can’t train, can’t prepare like you use to when you were 22 or 23.”

Richards has helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup twice since being traded from the Philadelphia Flyers in June 2011.

NIK-NIK MOVE

The Edmonton Oilers have been granted permission to negotiate a contract with Columbus Blue Jacket Nikita Nikitin, according to TSN.

If the Oilers and Nikitin can come to terms within the agreed-upon window, Edmonton will trade for his rights.

The 28-year-old scored two goals and added 13 assists in 66 games last season.

BRIEFLY

Evgeni Nabokov will reportedly part ways with the New York Islanders. After three years as the team’s No. 1 netminder, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension. Jaroslav Halak now appears to be the undisputed starter after the Isles acquired and signed him in May ... Tomas Tatar no longer faces eviction. According to the Detroit News, a lawsuit that alleged noisy behaviour by the Detroit Red Wings forward -- who lives in a condo owned by teammate Darren Helm -- was dismissed.


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