It is a matter where Richter will play in the upcoming season, but like Stan Fischler said, free agency is all about money.It is GM Glen Sather’s number one priority to now sign Mike Richter. However, the salary Richter is asking for is way beyond my knowledge and I highly doubt if any one of us actually knows how much he will sign for.
Curtis Joseph signed a big contract. Eddie Belfour signed an unexpected contract. What kind of contract will Mike Richter sign now? And, why didn’t the Leafs sign Richter?Forget about the Flyers $8 million dollar offer for two seasons. Whether that is true or not true, Richter would turn that down. Glen Sather talked to Richter many months ago and Mike Richter did tell Sather that he wanted to see how the free agency market would go. It went that Mike Richter only has one main destination to go to, the New York Rangers.
The Red Wings got their goalie, the Leafs got their goalie, the Bruins got their goalie in Steve Shields, the Flyers want to keep their locker room headache goalie, and who else could be interested in Richter? The St. Louis Blues could make an offer, but they won’t pay Richter much.
How much will Richter want though, and for how long? The media has not discovered anything about Mike Richter’s requests. If Eddie Belfour signed for $6.5 million dollars a season at age 37, then how much does Mike Richter really want? Most of us were sure that Belfour would be signed for about $4.5 a season. The Rangers already spent about $70 million dollars for two players.
This is where Glen Sather has the advantage though. If Mike Richter is seeking a $6 million dollar offer per season (same as his last contract), then Sather can play hardball and force Richter to take a pay cut. No other team will offer Richter $6 million dollars per season. It is Richter who should worry more than Glen Sather. Richter only has one team that can offer him $5 million dollars per season, or $5.5 million per season. And that team are the New York Rangers.
Expect the media to announce Richter’s re-signing with the Rangers, or Richter leaving the Rangers this week. In this case, Richter shouldn’t take any chances remaining unemployed and still looking for someone to pay him $6 million dollars per season. Richter should reason as well. There are no competitors out there for Mike Richter, he should figure that out. The only team that will welcome him the most, cheer for him the most, and retire his jersey are the New York Rangers. There is no reason for Richter to leave. If Richter asks more than what Dafoe is asking for, then Sather will sign Dafoe. Now, you’d also start thinking if there are no competitors to sign Richter, are there any competitors to sign Dafoe? Yes, and this team might actually give a shot at Mike Richter; the Chicago Blackhawks. Mike Richter would consider their offer only if the ‘Hawks sign big name free agents. But, since the ‘Hawks failed to re-sign Amonte, whose agent is the same as Richter’s, then I doubt Richter would actually sign with them. Also, Sather would land a goalie via trade if he has to. Jeff Hackett was mentioned many times before. Though he started this past season extremely well, he is injury prone and not as good as Richter. But, Hackett is said to be a great pro for young goalies to learn from.
I really expect Richter to be back as a Ranger. He has no place else to go. Richter should see that the Rangers made the changes, he should see the acquisition of Kasparaitis as way to help him up front, and he should also see the acquisition of Bobby Holik as a big step to the Rangers success. Mike Richter belongs in the city of New York. He should finish his career as a New York Ranger. If he re-signs, he will improve the Rangers chances of making the playoffs by a lot, he will prove his loyalty to the Rangers, and he will make Glen Sather look like the best General Manager for this off-season.
Richter could be debating the length of his contract. He is a die hard player and he will not feel comfortable hanging up his skates. If Richter sins for two seasons, that would be beautiful. If Richter signs for three, that would also be great, but Richter fans, especially big fans, should hope that Blackburn won’t steal Richter’s starting job on the third year.
I say Richter will sign a two year deal worth $10 million dollars. If he signs for three years, then it will be a $14 million dollar deal.
Thank you and have a great 4th of July for U.S citizens (and God I strongly pray it will be a safe one)