The Rangers get: The top free agent available. Brad Richards has inked a nine-year deal with the Rangers that will pay him an average of $6.67 million per season.
Fantasy Players Impacted:
How this affects Richards remains to be seen. He had fantastic linemates and saw a lot of ice time in Dallas (Loui Eriksson and James Neal, for the most part). In New York, he likely lines up with Marian Gaborik. Who plays the left side remains to be seen, but the contenders are likely Derek Stepan, Brandon Dubinsky, and Sean Avery, among others. Glen Sather has gone on record stating that he won't pursue a high-priced LW to play with his top two offensive threats.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Whoever lines up with Gaborik and Richards. Wojtek Wolski is a huge wildcard here, but his track record speaks for itself (negatively) at this point.
2. Marian Gaborik, in a big, big, way. Injuries are still an issue, but Gaborik has never had an elite center on his line before.
3. New York's first PP unit. In addition to being a fantastic scoring center, Richards is lethal running the PP through the point.
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Stepan, at least in the short term. He likely slides down on to line two (although I doubt the Rangers would have gone all season with him as the top center).
2. Anisimov - this move allows the big Russian to get comfortable in more of a two-way role on the third line.