Dreger said, "One thing I will tell you is that I know Brad fairly well and I have talked with him a few times during this process and he is motivated beyond belief. He wants to prove to Glen Sather and the Rangers and all those that provided input in making this decision that he will land on his feet and he will find a home that wants him long term and he is going to give everything that hes got and be a better player. Now that motivation has to turn into reality."
Sather, in a statement, said on Friday "We would like to thank Brad for everything he has done for our team on and off the ice during his time here. This was an extremely difficult decision to make because of how much respect I have for him. Brad's leadership and guidance for our young players was invaluable to the organization. We are grateful to have had the professionalism and experience he brought as an example for our team to follow. Brad has been a very good player for us and an even better person. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
On what it's like for the player to be bought out, Dreger said, It's bittersweet to be honest. You can look at the business side of things and see the millions that Brad Richards has earned and the millions that he will be paid out for not playing for the Rangers and go 'jeez, would I like to do that, have someone pay me to not work. But there is a competitive side to these guys that takes a pretty big body blow. The ego is such that it helps fuel these NHL players, particularly the stars and it's the big contracts that teams are forced to buy out. It's a little embarrassing I am sure but from a business standpoint I am sure Richards will get over it and get ready for the next challenge.
Asked if Toronto would be in the mix, Dreger said that when Richards signed with the Rangers the Leafs were in the mix but not as aggressive as other teams like Calgary, "there was a reluctance to overspend at that time and I think that will be the same now. Will Nonis and Shanahan inquire, I am sure they will inquire but the term would have to be very short and the money would have to fit whatever slot the Leafs had. I would be a little surprised if they went after Richards but who is to say that Toronto is the best fit for him too. He will have other options and may make a lifestyle decision and go that route.