Rangers won't buy out Brad Richards

NEW YORK -- Brad Richards will return to Broadway.

The New York Rangers announced Friday afternoon that they will not be using their one remaining compliance buyout this summer, ending weeks of speculation that Richards might be bought out.

The 33-year-old center struggled this season and was benched for the final two games of the Rangers' second-round series loss to the Bruins during the playoffs.

The decision to keep Richards leaves the Rangers open to significant cap recapture penalties -- upward of $17 million -- should the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner retire before the expiration of his contract in 2019.

Richards signed a nine-year, $60 million deal in July 2011.

The Murray Harbor, Prince Edward Island, native is looking to have a bounce-back season after a lockout-shortened 2013 campaign he characterized as a "mess."

Richards may be one benefactor of the team's coaching change now that Alain Vigneault is behind the bench. Richards failed to thrive under John Tortorella's taxing, defensively structured system in 2013, particularly as a key cog for the team's dreadful power-play unit.

Vigneault is regarded as a much more affable coach, one who finds ways for his offensive talents to flourish.

If Richards follows up with another disappointing season, the Rangers can still exercise their existing compliance buyout on him next summer, provided he does not get hurt. A team cannot buy out an injured player.

The Rangers already used one accelerated compliance buyout on defenseman Wade Redden shortly after the work stoppage ended.