Free agency in the NHL begins at noon Friday and the Rangers tend to view the day like Black Friday: they're the first in line with a handful of cash, ready to give it away as quickly as possible.
This year is sure to be no different, as the Rangers are reported to be heavily interested in Brad Richards, the 30-year-old Stars center that is widely considered to be the top free agent on the market.
With free agency ticking closer and closer, Rangers coach John Tortorella met with the media at the Rangers prospect developmental camp at the MSG Trainer Center in Greensboro, N.Y., discussing adding free agents to the team's core and the buyout of former captain Chris Drury in a video posted on Blueshirtsunited.com.
"It's an important day for us because I think it's a day where you have an opportunity to improve your team. I think we're at a situation with our club right now where I think the past couple of years we've kept our assets, and developed our assets, and stay with it here. Then there's a point in time where you have to say they're growing, we have a good solid foundation, now you start looking at some other areas where you add from maybe outside the organization, free agency, trade, whatever it may be," Tortorella said in a video on Blueshirtsunited.com. "Then I think we're there. I really like the way (GM) Glen (Sather) has stayed with it as far as allowing us with our kids to grow and I think we have a really strong foundation. I think we're at a different stage in the process and July 1 certainly comes into play."
Tortorella also spent plenty of time discussing the buyout of Drury, who had one year remaining on his contract after playing the previous four seasons with the Rangers. In his time with the Rangers, which spanned 264 games, Drury scored 62 goals and added 89 assists. He played just 24 games this season, scoring one goal and tallying four assists.
By buying out Drury, the Rangers helped themselves in the cap, giving them extra money that could be used to try to lure Richards to New York.
"We love the guy, but you still have to make decisions for what you feel is best for your hockey club. Obviously when you get into a situation where there is a buyout, we're trying to keep ourselves flexible and our cap and to look at other things along the way," Tortorella said in the video on Blueshirtsunited.com. "I'll speak for myself, I wish nothing but the best for him and I'll just leave it at that right now. That's just the way this works here as far as when you are looking to go in a direction, we're trying to stay with the plan here and as Dru has gone along the way here, we felt this is a decision we needed to make for our club."