Could Richards be staying in NY after all?

Now that the Rangers have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, let’s look at what is next.

Before you freak out and say “but this is an Islanders blog,” just relax and let me explain.

Ever since the John Tortoarella bench, the $60-million dollar man, Brad Richards for Game 4, everyone in the hockey world has said that Richards’ time in a Rangers sweater is over.

I think we can all agree that they are right and Richards will be looking for a new team for the 2013/2014 season.

But could that team be the New York Islanders?

ESPN’s John Buccigross tweeted on May 23; the day Richards was a healthy scratch:

Very interesting, no?

Then today after the Rangers were eliminated by the Bruins in Game 5, Buccigross came back to his Richards to Islanders theory: 

Now let that sink in for a second.

Let’s analyze this from Richards’ side; if the Rangers use one of their amnesty clauses on Richards he will get paid two-thirds of the money remaining of their contract.

Because I am all about making things simpler for people, I did the math for everyone.

Richards has six years left on his contract and is owed $33,333,335.

So two-thirds of that is $24 million give or take, over the next 14 years according to Bleacher Report.

Even if Richards signs with a team, the Rangers will still have to pay him.

The passed two seasons Richards played in something that Tortorella called ‘offense’ and his numbers got worse as his tenure went on.

What do you think, was it Tortorella’s system that caused the downfall of Richards or at the age of 33 is Richards done?

I am in the camp of Tortorella’s offense ruining Richards’ game, heck something tells me Tortorella could ruin Sidney Crosby’s game, and I think if he is on any other team he can be the 50-assist guy he was before.

Let’s look from the Islanders side: The Islanders just made huge strides this season, making the playoffs and giving the Penguins a good run in the first round.

They made the playoffs with Frans Nielsen as their second line center and they have a very youthful team, with more talent coming.

Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson have dominated at the levels they played last season and they could be ready for the NHL.

But the Islanders team that made the playoffs didn’t have that much playoff experience. Only Evgeni Nabokov, Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky and Radek Martinek have extensive playoff experience.

John Tavares had no one to go to if he had any questions going into his first playoff series and it showed early in the series.

Sidney Crosby had John LeClair, Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts to learn from when he led the Penguins to the postseason in his second season.

Steven Stamkos, had Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis both who won a Stanley Cup Championship, when he helped the Lighting get to the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago.

With all that said, I think the Islanders should go out and try and get Richards and here is why. (Photo Credit: AP)

- He will come cheap, he is coming off an awful season, followed up with an even worse postseason and he is going to be getting paid by the Rangers anyway. Because of that, he will look for a place that he would be comfortable playing in, instead of looking for the biggest paycheck.

- Garth likes cheap.

- The Islanders made leaps this season and I think having Nelson or Strome as the second-line center is a mistake. If either of them come in and fail, the Islanders will take steps back not forward. If you bring in Richards he can hold the second line center spot for Nelson or Strome for two-three years as they continue to get better. Just like the Flyers did with Claude Giroux with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

- He can help Tavares grow as a player. Say what you want about Brad Richards he has a Conn Smythe Trophy, has won a Stanley Cup and has scored his fair share of points in the NHL.

If the option does arrive, I really hope Snow and Co. go for it. It’s not a big free-agent splash like some fans want, but I think it will be the smart and right move.

It would be a low-risk high-reward move for the Islanders. If he stinks we can bury him on the fourth line for 1-2 million a year. If he’s a good player then it will feel better when we beat the Rangers.

Let me know what you guys think?

-Pete Paguaga

@PetePaguaga on Twitter