Brad Richards Signs With Rangers; Red Wings Won't Overpay For Other Free Agents

Cream of the free agent crop Brad Richards has signed a multi-year deal with the New York Rangers.

TSN.ca reports the deal is worth $60 million over nine years, which comes out to about $6.6 million a season. Richards will provide the Rangers with a potent 1-2 punch along with Marion Gaborik.

It was thought the Red Wings would have an outside chance at landing Richards with their extended amount of cap room and reputation for winning. In the end, $6.5 million a year actually doesn’t seem too far out of their price range and would have gave them plenty of room to sign a back-up goalie.

The Red Wings will be left with an extremely thin talent pool, possibly leaving them with room to spare under the salary cap when the season starts. They’d still like another defenseman to go along with a backup goalie despite having signed Mike Commodore yesterday. Veteran goalie Chris Osgood also remains an option and would be cheap, but it appears Detroit is using him as a last resort. The Red Wings, however, aren’t going to overpay players they deem unworthy of the money:

“We would like to have made a bigger move, but there wasn’t a lot of opportunity,’’ general manager Ken Holland said. “We explored, but in a lot of cases the money or the term went way beyond where we were willing to go. In a lot of cases, we couldn’t provide the opportunity for them to have a bigger role when they looked at our roster.

“(Forwards) look at our lineup and don’t want to come here if they can’t be a top-six forward, and we don’t want to pay them (top-six money) if they’re bottom six.’’

James Wisniewski, one of the Red Wings potential free agent targets, exemplified this more than ever. After signing a six-year deal with Columbus for $5 million a season, he told reporters that Detroit doesn’t pay market value for its players. Hearing this makes me kinda happy Detroit didn’t pursue him, especially with the shoddy market this year.

The Red Wings aren’t done with free agency yet, but they don’t have a whole lot of needs to fill either. Here’s the potential remaining targets left (with last salary in parentheses):

FORWARD
Simon Gagne, TB ($5.25M)
Jason Arnott, WAS ($4.5M)
Alexander Frolov, NYR ($3M)

DEFENSEMEN
Tomas Kaberle, BOS ($4.25M)
Ian White, SJ ($2.99M)
Bryan McCabe, NYR ($5.75M)

GOALIES
Pascal Leclaire, OTT ($3.8M)
Ty Conklin, STL ($1.3M)
Marty Turco, CHI ($1.3M)
Chris Osgood, DET ($1.41M)

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