The Brad Richards signing has all the elements needed to eventually become one of the worst contracts the New York Rangers have ever agreed to:
Crazy term: check. Nine years in length.
Crazy money: check. $60 million total value.
Crazy risk: check. All this for a player who has never scored 30 goals in one season.
While many teams over the years have agreed to contracts that they later regretted, the New York Rangers lead the pack in the number and scale of their unfortunate deals. While there is a long list to choose from, let’s look at some of the worst ones in recent memory.
#5. Ales Kotalik
Kotalik was a skilled playmaker who had enjoyed several reasonably productive seasons with the Buffalo Sabres before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, not especially impressed during his short audition, were ultimately vindicated in their decision not to re-sign him, as he inked a 3 year, $9 million contract with the Rangers in 2009-2010. Realizing they had been duped, the Rangers packaged Kotalik with Olli Jokinen in a trade to Calgary half way through his first season on Broadway. At 22 points over his shortened stay, he produced at a rate of $68,181 per point.
#4. Scott Gomez
July 1, 2007, Gomez signed a $51.5 million, seven-year contract. Having signed the same day as Chris Drury, the pair were supposed to lead the club to an Eastern Conference title and beyond. Instead, their tales of underproduction mirrored each other’s, as Gomez produced decent numbers, but ones that were well below his career bests. Traded to Montreal after two seasons with the Rangers, Gomez racked up 128 points as a Blueshirt, making his dollars paid / points ratio $114,955 per point.
#3. Bobby Holik
A player known for his defensive tenacity, Holik signed five-year contract with New York worth a ludicrous $45 million in the summer of 2002. Even New York investment bankers thought they were getting underpaid once they learned what Holik was getting. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all to offer a player who had never broken the 30 goal or 70 point plateau in a season this type of money and commitment. After two years in the Big Apple, the Rangers had seen enough of Mr. Holik, shipping him off to the Atlanta Thrashers. His productivity as a Ranger was 91 points or $197,802 per point.
#2. Chris Drury
July 1, 2007, Drury signed a five-year, $35.25 million contract with New York after coming off a strong season where he tallied 37 goals and 69 points for the Buffalo Sabres. Sadly, this was the high-water mark for Drury, and while he had decent campaigns over the following seasons, he never really lived up to the value of his contract. Drury was bought out by the Rangers following the 2010-2011 season with one year left on his deal. Not withstanding the buy-out math, Drury produced 151 points over 4 seasons or $233,444 per point.
#1. Wade Redden
July 1, 2008 he signed a six-year, $39 million contract with the Rangers, much to the chagrin of many in Ottawa. In retrospect, the Senators were lucky to be rid of this ‘offensive’ defensemen, who managed to pot just five goals and a total of 40 points over the next two seasons before being demoted to the American Hockey League. Since Redden is still on the books, we can calculate his productivity over the whole contract at a staggeringly expensive $975,000 per point.
Will the Brad Richards deal fall into this list one day in the future? Or will he somehow escape this trap to be one of few Rangers’ free agent signings to increase his productivity following a big pay day? We’ll find out soon enough…