Let the worrying begin. It's not that I'm superstitious or anything, it's just that, well, let's be honest: the similarities are a little uncanny. Playmaking, 1st-line caliber centers, who are the same age, have both won stanley cups in the early 2000's, both signed front-loaded contracts earning them both more than $10 mil in the first year of their contract with the Rags, and now to top it all off: they've both worn #19 for the Blueshirts?! ... I'm getting a little nervous that the Rangers might be heading down the same path by acquiring Richards, so in order to calm my nerves I've decided to take a look back at some of Sather's other free agent signings from the past decade, that should calm me down...
Bobby Holik (2002)
In 2002, Sather signed Holik to a massive 5 year, $9 mil per year contract. I'm not entirely sure because it's never been officially confirmed, but there are rumors that Sather conspired with Isiah Thomas during this time to make the Big Apple the biggest joke in professional sports. In the process of doing so, they accidently caused a lockout in the NHL, when Gary Bettman tried to bailout the Rags with the league's money after coming to the realization that New York was "too big to fail". In turn, the NHL lockout caused mass confusion across Manhattan as New Yorkers began questioning: "Wait, is hockey that sport that's played on ice?". Anyways, back to Holik. He spent 2 years with the Rangers, before being bought out by the Rangers following the lockout. During his tenure with the Rangers, he led them to 0 playoff appearances. He did however, score 41 goals over the course of those 2 years. That's nice... until you consider who else in the league currently makes $9 mil a year, some random scrubs named Malkin and Crosby. Never heard of 'em.
Chris Drury (2007)
Nobody's ever mentioned this before, but he's won the Little League World Series. He also owns a delicious pizza place in my home town, which unfortunately has no correlation to how good of a hockey player you are. Can't hate on the guy too much because I grew up playing on his hometown rink, attended his hockey camps that he ran with his brothers, and he even brought the stanley cup home. Even if it was for the wrong team. All hometown bias aside, signing a 5 year $35.5 mil contract and averaging just a little over 15 goals over 4 years, makes Drury one of the highest paid underachievers in the NHL. Capgeek.com rated him the highest paid underachiever in the NHL a few weeks ago, based on some algorithmic formula that is way over my head, but that list didn't take into account guys who are paid $6.5 mil to play in the AHL, ehem. This past season we learned that the reason for his declining production was due to the fact that his fingers are in fact, made of glass.
Scott Gomez (2007)
2007 was a good year for Rangers free agency signings. We got good 'ole #19 who signed a hefty 7 year, $51.5 mil front-loaded contract and managed to amass an impressive decent ... he scored 32 goals over 2 years. Then Sather miraculously traded him to MTL, A trade that brought the 12th overall draft pick from 2007 over to the Rangers, and proved to be the first intelligent decision Sather has made in his life since telling Edmonton to go after that scrawny little kid from Brantford, Ontario.
Wade Redden (2008)
Eh, not even going to try.
Christopher Higgins & Ales Kotalik (2009)
Combined cost of $5.25 mil. Combined for 14 goals before both being shipped off to Calgary midseason.
Donald Brashear (2009)
This one probably made me the most frustrated. Just months after Brashear took out Blair Betts from the playoffs with a cheap shot, Sather decides to sign Brashear to a 2 year $2.8 mil deal over the course of which he played in 36 NHL games, registering 1 assist and a -9 rating. The assist came when Brashear was sent to the Wolfpack so that a hockey player could take his spot. He currently plays in the Ligue Nord Americaine de Hockey, which apparently is French for Professional Boxing Association. Always knew he was in the wrong sport. What a piece of Brashear.
Well, my mind's made up. Based on Sather's free agent signings from the recent years, that cup is basically ours... in 2020 when Richards becomes an unrestricted free agent.